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Weights and Measures in Egypt
The gradual change from a nomadic to a settled existence, which began about 8000 BCE, marked humankind's determination to shape the environment to their requirements. Needing units of measure for both building and agriculture, people chose the most readily available and useable references - simple parts of the human body in various positions. The need for uniform measurements was recognized, and as early as 3000 BCE official reference standards of length, volume, and weight were being maintained in temples and royal palaces in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and around the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean.
The standards developed in these ancient cultures moved westward, mostly as a result of trade, to the Greek and Roman empires, thence to Gaul and Britain via the Roman conquest. Egypt, by virtue of its geography a great trading nation and of its climate a preserver of archaeological treasures, has provided an incomparable record of this metrological heritage.