The Periods of Ancient Egyptian History Through Pictures > Old Kingdom Egypt in Pictures | Old Kingdom Profile
Dates of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt
The Old Kingdom ran from about 2686-2160 B.C. It started with the 3rd Dynasty and ended with the 8th (some say the 6th).
- 3rd: 2686-2613 B.C.
- 4th: 2613-2494 B.C.
- 5th 2494-2345 B.C.
- 6th: 2345-2181 B.C.
- 7th and 8th: 2181-2160 B.C.
Before the Old Kingdom was the Early Dynastic Period, which ran from about 3000-2686 B.C.
Before the Early Dynastic Period was the Predynastic which began in the 6th millennium B.C.
Earlier than the Predynastic Period were the Neolithic (c.8800-4700 B.C.) and Paleolithic Periods (c.700,000-7000 B.C.).
Old Kingdom Capital:
After the 8th Dynasty, the pharaohs left Memphis.
For more on the problems of ancient Egyptian chronology and the Turin Canon, see Problems Dating Hatshepsut.
Step Pyramid of Djoser:
Old Kingdom True Pyramids:
Under Pharaoh Sneferu (2613-2589) the pyramid complex emerged, with the axis re-oriented east to west. A temple was built against the eastern side of the pyramid. There was a road running to a temple in the valley that served as entrance to the complex. Sneferu's name is connected with a bent pyramid whose slope changed two-thirds of the way up. He had a second (Red) pyramid in which he was buried. His reign was considered a prosperous, golden age for Egypt, which it needed to be to construct three pyramids (the first collapsed) for the pharaoh.
Sneferu's son Khufu (Cheops), a far less popular ruler, built the Great Pyramid at Giza.
About the Old Kingdom Period:
Over time, the royal authority weakened while the power of viziers and local administrators grew. The office of overseer of Upper Egypt was created and Nubia became important because of contact, immigration, and resources for Egypt to exploit.
The sun god Ra grew more important through the Old Kingdom Period with obelisks built on pedestals as part of their temples. A full written language of hieroglyphs was used on the sacred monuments, while hieratic was used on papyrus documents.