Egypt comes out of prehistory around 3200 BC. An artifact known as the "Narmer Palette", almost perfectly preserved, dates to this time period. Egyptologist Bob Brier suggests that the Narmer Palette is the "first known historical document", depicting King Narmer's unification of southern and northern Egypt, and resulting in what he calls the "first nation in history".

The artifact depicts King Narmer in the process of "smiting" his enemy, along with a rich array of additional depictions, and displaying several classically Egyptian artistic conventions, which would remain remarkably constant for the next three millennia. The Narmer palette is thought to have been a ceremonial object, resembling those functional palettes used for the grinding of cosmetics. One theory is that the Narmer Palette may have been used by Egyptian high priests in applying eye makeup to the statues of the gods which were kept in the sacred "holy of holies" chamber of Egyptian temples.

Source: Brier, Bob. Long Island University. The History of Ancient Egypt. The Great Courses, 1999.

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