Pyramid Construction Techniques in Ancient Egypt

One of the major problems faced by the early pyramid builders was the need to move huge quantities of stone. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction Egyptian pyramid construction techniques are the controversial subject of many hypotheses. These techniques seem to have developed over time; later pyramids were not constructed in the same way as[…]

From River to Sea: Evidence for Ancient Egyptian Seafaring Ships

Exploring archaeological evidence for Egyptian seafaring vessels before 1450 BCE. By Dr. Cheryl WardAssociate Professor and Marine ArchaeologistDirector, Center for Archaeology and AnthropologyCoastal Carolina University Introduction Questions over when and how the ancient Egyptians went to sea continue to engage scholars in debate. Recent excavations of ship timbers at a pharaonic harbor on the Red[…]

Herbal Medicine in Ancient Egypt

Herbs played a major part in ancient Egyptian medicine. By Dr. N. H. AboelsoudProfessor of Pediatrics and Complementary MedicineAcademy of Scientific Research & Technology (Cairo) Introduction Civilization in Ancient Egypt was not only the pyramids and tombs, but it involved all aspects of human life. Health and well-being was one of the most cared arts[…]

Listen and Learn: Exploring the Secrets of Ancient Egyptian Tombs

Egyptologists unearth the world’s richest seam of ancient archaeology. Presentation by Channel 4 Documentaries The first royal tombs, called mastabas, were built at Abydos during the first and second dynasties. They were marked with a stele inscribed with the kings’ names. The burial chambers were cut into the rock, lined with sun-baked bricks and faced[…]

A Brief Visual Guide to Ancient Egyptian Gods

Even today, the gods of Egypt loom large in the imagination, and are easily recognized by their iconic features. By Arienne King Introduction This image gallery is a visual guide to the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt. It includes depictions of many of Egypt’s more iconic and widely worshipped deities, along with brief descriptions of their[…]

Nebu: Gold in Ancient Egypt

Ancient texts report the vast quantities of statuary of gold, silver, bronze, and other metals. By Deborah SchorschConservatorMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York Egypt is a land rich in gold, and ancient miners employing traditional methods were thorough in their exploitation of economically feasible sources. In addition to the resources of the Eastern Desert, Egypt[…]

A History of the Ancient Nile River

The Nile was held up to the ancient people as the source of all life in Egypt. By Dr. Joshua J. MarkProfessor of PhilosophyMarist College Introduction The world’s longest river, located in Egypt, the Nile flows 4,132 miles (6,650 kilometres) northward to the Mediterranean Sea (a very unusual direction for a river to take). It was considered the source of life by the[…]

A Scientific Population History of Ancient Egypt

Scholars have reviewed the available skulls and skeletal evidence on the ancient Egyptians to draw some conclusions. Introduction Egypt has a long and involved demographic history. This is partly due to the territory’s geographical location at the crossroads of several major cultural areas: North Africa, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, Egypt has experienced several invasions during its[…]

A 3,000-Year-Old ‘Lost Golden City’ Discovered in Egypt

It has been called the most important discovery since tomb of Tutankhamun and a window into the ancient world. Archaeologists hailed the discovery of “the largest” ancient city found in Egypt, buried under sand for millennia, which experts said was one of the most important finds since unearthing Tutankhamun’s tomb. Famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass announced[…]

The Ancient Meroitic Period of the Kingdom of Kush

The sculpture and architecture of the period shows much influence from the Greek and the Greco-Roman world. By The British Museum Ancient Sudan: The Meroitic Period (c.300 B.C.E.–350 C.E.) The Meroitic period, the later phase of rule by the Kushite kings, is named after the royal burial ground at Meroe. In the third century B.C.E. the[…]

An Introduction to Ancient Nubia and the Kingdom of Kush

The Kushites were expelled from Egypt by the Assyrians, but their kingdom flourished in Sudan for another thousand years. By The British Museum Introduction The first settlers in northern Sudan date back 300,000 years. It is home to the oldest sub-Saharan African kingdom, the kingdom of Kush (about 2500–1500 B.C.E.). This culture produced some of[…]

Ancient Egyptian Coptic Textiles

The dry conditions of Egypt helped preserve these delicate fabrics. What Is Coptic? The modern term “Copt” derives from a corruption of the ancient Greek aigyptos via Arabic qibt, meaning “Egyptian.” This is a reference to native Egyptians as opposed to Greek and Roman settlers. The Coptic period (or Byzantine period) began with the division[…]

Ancient Egyptian Metallurgy

The main metals used in ancient Egypt were copper, gold, silver, and iron. Metallurgy is the science of separating metals from their ores, and it developed quite recently, considering the length of human history. Ancient Egyptians were neither the inventors of metallurgy, nor the most innovative in its development.[1] Yet metals, especially gold, had a[…]

Egyptologists’ Notebooks: An Interview with Chris Naunton

How European scholars, archaeologists, and Egyptologists explored an ancient culture. Dr. Chris NauntonHistorian and Egyptologist Introduction “The idea of a kind of intact tomb, at a certain moment where the archaeologist breaks through the door and lifts up a lamp to reveal the glint of gold everywhere. That’s become the defining moment for archaeology.” What[…]

The Ancient Egyptian Afterlife and the ‘Feather of Truth’

After death, one was guided through the Hall of Two Truths where the heart was weighed against a feather. Introduction Is it possible to have a heart that is lighter than a feather? To the ancient Egyptians it was not only possible but highly desirable. The after-life of the ancient Egyptians was known as the[…]

Balance and the Law in Ancient Egypt

What made a judgment legal and binding was how closely a legal decision aligned with ma’at. Introduction Egyptian law was based on the central cultural value of ma’at (harmony and balance) which was the foundation for the entire civilization. Ma’at was established at the beginning of time by the gods when the earth and universe[…]

Baking Bread in Ancient Egypt

A few experimental archaeologists are reclaiming recipes from ancient societies. By Keridwen Cornelius Around 2000 B.C., a baker in the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes captured yeast from the air and kneaded it into a triangle of dough. The baked bread was then buried in a dedication ceremony beneath the temple of Pharaoh Mentuhotep II[…]

The Rise of the State in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian culture began long before there was an Egyptian state. Introduction Ancient Egypt is known for many things that immediately come to mind: pyramids, large temples, and the life-giving Nile River are the three most apparent, and of course, there are hundreds of other features that made the early civilization among the most important[…]

Meet an Ushabti, an Ancient Egyptian Statuette Made for the Afterlife

What we know about this figure discovered in Neferibresaneith’s tomb. What’s an Ushtabi? Ushabtis are figurines that were designed to be placed in someone’s tomb. Ushabtis look like human figures that have been mummified, usually with their arms crossed over their chest. Some, like the Getty’s ushabti, were very carefully made, with detailed features, while[…]

What Is the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead?

These texts developed from spells that were first inscribed on scarabs and coffins at the end of Egypt’s Middle Kingdom period. “Book of the Dead” is a modern term to describe a series of ancient Egyptian funerary spells that helped the deceased find their way to the afterlife in order to become united with the[…]

Cleopatra: ‘Queen of the Nile’

As the last Ptolemaic heir of Alexander the Great, she remained committed to his policy of cultural fusion. Introduction Cleopatra VII Philopator (January, 69 B.C.E. – August 12, 30 B.C.E.) was queen of Ancient Egypt, the last member of the Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty and hence the last Greek ruler of Egypt. Although many other Egyptian[…]

The Sun-Cult in Ancient Egypt

The name of the new god in ordinary everyday parlance was pa Aton, “the Aton.” By Dr. Aylward M. BlackmanLate Special LecturerUniversity of Manchester It has often been maintained that the Aton-cult instituted by Oklmaton (Amenophis IV.) displays non-Egyptian features and is in a large measure the product of foreign influences. I hope, however, clearly[…]

The Code of Hammurabi: Crime and Punishment in Ancient Egypt

Although a social hierarchy placed some in privileged positions, the code proscribed punishments applicable to all classes. Introduction The Code of Hammurabi (also known as the Codex Hammurabi and Hammurabi’s Code), created ca. 1780 B.C.E., is one of the earliest sets of laws found and one of the best preserved examples of this type of[…]

Texts, Tools, and Methods in Ancient Egyptian Medical Practice

Ancient Egyptians valued hygiene and proper medical care. Introduction Medical practice in ancient Egypt was so advanced that many of their observations, policies, and commonplace procedures would not be surpassed in the west for centuries after the fall of Rome and their practices would inform both Greek and Roman medicine. They understood that disease could[…]

Ancient Egyptian Medicine

The Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt around 440 BCE and wrote extensively of his observations of their medicinal practice. Introduction The medicine of the ancient Egyptians is some of the oldest documented. From the beginnings of the civilization in the late fourth millennium BC until the Persian invasion of 525 BC, Egyptian medical practice went[…]