Being a natural crossing point for migrations out of Africa in the paleolithic, evidence exists of hunter-gatherer and early agricultural people in Egypt since the 10th millennium BC before desertification with the formation of the Sahara forced these people to concentrate into the Nile delta. This concentration may be cause for the earlier developments of civilisation of the Ancient Egyptian culture which was preceded by a few pre-dynastic cultures such as the Badarian of approximately 4500 BC which produced interesting ivory statuettes and pottery. For approximately the next 3000 years the tradition of the Ancient Egyptian culture flourished. Starting in 525 BC Egypt was conquered by the Persian empire, the Persians proclaiming themselves pharaoh before the Persians were themselves conquered by Alexander the Great forming the Hellenistic Ptolemaic kingdom in Egypt. These two periods saw much cultural exchange however the artistic character of Egypt remained fundamentally true to the native style. During the subsequent Roman period however, artistic production transformed into a more Roman orientated style. The late Roman and Byzantine period of Egypt saw the introduction of Christianity including the formation of the Coptic church with its distinctive fabric designs. Later Egypt was conquered by the Islamic Empire around 640 AD becoming an important cultural center for the Islamic world.

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