It's hard to imagine graphic design existing in ancient times since we most often associate it with clean crisp typography, icons and professional photography. I think graphic design did exist in the ancient world and has evolved as new tools became available.
Perhaps hieroglyphics included stories, history and advertisements fostering business and productive growth in society. Maybe hieroglyphics, paintings, inscriptions and decorated jars were used for communicating more than just history. After all, that was their typography and form of communicating in a 2D sense, like graphic design today.
In Los Angeles, the crude graffiti is a form of graphic design using readily available tools by amateur artists and gangs to advertise their territory and mission. Of course, this graphic design Los Angeles can be presented in a better way.
If we have an open mind, we can envision how many past societies may have attempted to communicate in a succinct sense using symbols, icons and typography to promote their message and gain fans and promote a way of doing things.
So where do graphic designers draw the line between design, no matter how amateur, and just plain graphics or art? Professional graphic design always has a purpose and goal in promoting a service, product or belief to get some kind of action. That is, indeed, a very broad definition which is worth pondering.
Graphic design will continue to evolve and change and it will be interesting to see how it changes in the virtual reality media.