Life In Ancient Egypt

Daily life throughout the centuries in Ancient Egypt revolved around the Nile and the fertile land along its banks. The annual inundation enriched the soil and brought good harvests and wealth to the land. People generally built their own mudbrick homes, grew their own produce, and traded in the villages for food and goods they could not produce themselves.

Harvesting wheat A scribe

Most Egyptians worked the land as field hands and farmers, or as craftsmen and scribes, with only a minority section of society enjoying the privileged lifestyles of the nobility. Continue reading Life In Ancient Egypt

Wigs and Hair in Acient Egpyt

The Egyptians were famous for their wigs, usually made from human hair and braided and styled in countless different ways, from the simple to sheer elaborate. In much the same way as in 18th century Europe, hair was of great importance, and both male and female, rich and poor alike, treated their hair as a highly pliable form of self expression. Continue reading Wigs and Hair in Acient Egpyt

Dress and Fashion in Ancient Egypt

The hot and sunny climate of Ancient Egypt meant that simple lightweight linen clothes were the preferred choice of most Egyptians. Whilst a number of examples of New Kingdom textiles have survived, studies of Ancient Egyptian dress and textiles are still largely based upon the study of wall paintings, reliefs and sculptures.

The well documented kohl-rimmed eyes of the ancient Egyptians are one of their most distinctive features. Cosmetics were not considered a luxury, and most people, from the simple peasant upwards to pharaoh himself used them. The only real difference between the classes was the quality of the products used. Men and women followed the latest fashions in both hairstyles, make-up and fashion. Continue reading Dress and Fashion in Ancient Egypt

Egyptology

Egypt Old MapEgyptology is the study of Ancient Egypt and Egyptian antiquities and is a regional and thematic branch of the larger disciplines of ancient history and archeology. A practitioner of the discipline is an Egyptologist, though Egyptology is not exclusive to such practitioners.
Development of the field:

Egyptology investigates the range of Ancient Egyptian cultures (language, literature, history, religion, art, economics, and ethics) from the 5th millennium BC up to the end of Pagan religion in the 4th century AD.
Some of the first historical accounts of Egypt was given by Herodotus, Strabo, Diodorus Siculus and the largely lost work of Manetho, an Egyptian priest, during the reign of Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II in the 3rd century BC. Continue reading Egyptology

Amenhotep IV

Amenhotep IV (throne name Nefer-kheperue-re) becomes Akhenaten, the famous “heretic” pharaoh.

Akhenaten (1352-1336 BC) was son of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiy. During his reign both the art and religion in Egypt were marked by rapid change. When he initially succeeded the throne he was known as Amenhotep IV, but changed his name to Akhenaten in his fifth regnal year, and began to build a new capital called Akhetaten (“horizon of the sun”), in Middle Egypt. This phase, encompassing Akhenaten’s and Smenkhkara’s reign and the beginning of Tutankhamun’s, is now referred to as the Armarna Period, and the site of the city of Akhetaten is now known as el-Amarna.

Images of Akhenaten
Late-Amarna style sculpture of Akhenaten, probably from the workshop of Thutmose Akenaten and his family, shown adoring the Aten sun-disc. Bust of Akhenaten, Cairo Museum

Continue reading Amenhotep IV

The Dig On Pyramids

But where are all the people?

An excerpted interview with Mark Lehner

NOVA: Tell us about your current excavation at Giza. Does it stem from a desire to define who built the pyramids and how they were built?
The excavation LEHNER: I started asking new questions. Not who built the Sphinx, and how were the pyramids built, but where are all the people? It seemed to me that 200 years of Egyptology had focused on pyramids, tombs and temples, and hieroglyphic inscriptions, and understandably so. Once you could read those things, my God, they were speaking to you in every tomb and temple wall. But if in fact as Herodotus said, there were 100,000 people—Herodotus the Greek, who wrote about 450 B.C.—if it took 100,000 people to build the great pyramid, I started thinking, having started to do some reading in anthropology, my God, that would be a super city in the third millennium B.C. Where is the city? How were they fed? How were they housed? Now Egyptologists have more sober estimates of some 20,000, 30,000, but even that would be a colossal city. So I started saying, well, we must be missing a whole component of the Giza Plateau, namely the people who built it, the evidence of their infrastructure. But it was the geology or the geomorphology, the shape of the landscape, that gave me the clues. Continue reading The Dig On Pyramids