Kom el-Hisn is located near the western edge of the Nile delta, midway between Cairo and Alexandria, and about 13 km west of the Rosetta branch of the Nile. It is composed of primarily Old Kingdom deposits (Dynasties V and VI, ca. 2500-2290 BC) but the site was also occupied in the Middle and New Kingdom periods. (It has been suggested that some First Intermediate burials are included within the Old Kingdom architecture, and Kom el-Hisn clearly flourished during the height of Old Kingdom power.) After a detailed introduction, the author reviews the development of Egyptian settlement patterns and structures to provide the Old Kingdom context, before continuing to discuss the specific issues relating to the current research and some of the explanations offered by other researchers for the development of Egypt's particular brand of complex society. Chapter four describes the research programme that provided the data on which this study relies, and subsequent headings contain detailed descriptions of the deposits associated with each excavation unit in the analysis. Before the full summary in the ultimate chapter, there are statistical analyses that build the model of functional differentiation found within the excavated areas.