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Sheep were primarily a source of meat; their wool was rarely used. Desert game, principally various species of antelope and ibex, were hunted by the elite; it was a royal privilege to hunt lions and wild cattle.
Pets included dogs, which were also used for hunting, cats, and monkeys.
From the late 2nd millennium onward, numerous attacks were made by land and sea along the eastern Mediterranean coast.
At first, relatively little cultural contact came by way of the Mediterranean Sea, but from an early date Egypt maintained trading relations with the Lebanese port of Byblos (present-day Jbail).
Most people lived in villages and towns in the Nile valley and delta.
Dwellings were normally built of mud brick and have long since disappeared beneath the rising water table or beneath modern town sites, thereby obliterating evidence for settlement patterns.
Basin irrigation was achieved by simple means, and multiple cropping was not feasible until much later times, except perhaps in the lakeside area of Al-Fayyūm.
Between the floodplain and the hills is a variable band of low desert that supported a certain amount of game. The First Cataract at Aswān, where the riverbed is turned into rapids by a belt of granite, was the country’s only well-defined boundary within a populated area.
To the south lay the far less hospitable area of Nubia, in which the river flowed through low sandstone hills that in most regions left only a very narrow strip of cultivable land.
(Much higher levels of population were reached in Greco-Roman times.) Nearly all of the people were engaged in agriculture and were probably tied to the land.
In theory all the land belonged to the king, although in practice those living on it could not easily be removed and some categories of land could be bought and sold.
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As the river deposited alluvial silt, raising the level of the floodplain, and land was reclaimed from marsh, the area available for cultivation in the Nile valley and delta increased, while pastoralism declined slowly.