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In any case, the ruins at a desert crossroads are another wonder of the ancient world.

Darnell said, should “help us reconstruct a more elaborate and detailed picture of Egypt during an intermediate period” after the so-called Middle Kingdom and just before the rise of the New Kingdom. The Hyksos invaders from southwest Asia held the Nile Delta and much of the north, and a wealthy Nubian kingdom at Kerma, on the Upper Nile, encroached from the south.

Elsewhere, they discovered inscriptions considered to be one of the first examples of alphabetic writing.[Source: John Noble Wilford, New York Times, September 6, 2010] The explorations of the Theban Desert Road Survey, a Yale University project co-directed by the Darnells, called attention to the previously underappreciated significance of caravan routes and oasis settlements in Egyptian antiquity.

In August 2010, the Egyptian government announced what may be the survey’s most spectacular find: the extensive remains of a settlement---apparently an administrative, economic and military center---that flourished more than 3,500 years ago in the western desert 110 miles west of Luxor and 300 miles south of Cairo.

Cattle, stone, grain and cedar from Lebanon were brought to Egyptian cities by Nile ships.

Camels were not introduced to Egypt until around 200 B. Until then donkey caravans were used to bring gold, ebony, ivory, rare stones for statues, incense and panther skins.

C., when major technological advances were being made, but before Egypt's political zenith.

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