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Ancient Egypt: c. 3000-1200 BC/BCE


Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, social, and religious structures of the civilizations of Ancient Egypt.



Arabia Egypt Petra
Arabia Egypt Petra

A beautiful chart of Egypt and Arabia petræa. It was made S.l., 18--. Egypt. Published in 1851 by J. & F. Tallis. Scale 1:3,250,000.

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Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt

The Atlas of Ancient and Classical Geography by Samuel Butler, Published in 1907. Samuel Butler (1774-1839)

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Luxor Temple
Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple ruins. Photographed by Marc Ryckaert

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Arabia Egypt Petra
Arabia Egypt Petra

A beautiful chart of Egypt and Arabia petræa. It was made S.l., 18--. Egypt. Published in 1851 by J. & F. Tallis. Scale 1:3,250,000.

press to zoom



  • What is a social hierarchy?

  • What are the positions and roles in Egypt's society and how did the people in these positions live?

  • What were the elements of the culture which developed in ancient Egypt?

  • How did geography influence the development of ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian cultures?

  • What role did the Nile River have in Ancient Egypt?



Below are some of the powerful teachings or proverbs found in the temples of Luxor.

  • The best and shortest road towards knowledge of truth is Nature.

  • For every joy there is a price to be paid.

  • If his heart rules him, his conscience will soon take the place of the rod.

  • What you are doing does not matter so much as what you are learning from doing it?

  • If you search for the laws of harmony, you will find knowledge.

  • If you are searching for a Neter, observe Nature! Exuberance is a good stimulus towards action, but the inner light grows in silence and concentration.

  • Not the greatest Master can go even one step for his disciple; in himself he must experience each stage of developing consciousness. Therefore he will know nothing for which he is not ripe.

  • The body is the house of god. That is why it is said, "Man know yourself."



  • Prior civilizations have contributed the cultural elements of religion, art, music, architecture, science and mathematics, traditions, beliefs, and language to the modern world.  Why do we call Ancient Egypt a cultural heritage for all human beings?

  • A complex culture developed around the Nile River Valley in ancient Egypt.  What are the greatest achievements of the Ancient Egyptian civilization?

6.15 On a historical map locate the Mediterranean and Red Seas, the Nile River and Delta, and the areas of ancient Nubia and Egypt. Identify the locations of ancient Upper and Lower Egypt and explain what the terms mean. On a modern map, identify the modern countries of Egypt and the Sudan.




Ancient Egyptian Class Structure...

6.17 Develop a visual representation of the structure of Egyptian society including the role of the pharaoh as god/king, the concept of dynasties, the importance of at least one Egyptian ruler, the relationship of pharaohs to peasants, and the role of slaves in ancient Egypt.



Ancient Egyptian Religion & Myths

The beings in ancient Egyptian tradition who might be labeled as deities are difficult to count. Egyptian texts list the names of many deities whose nature is unknown and make vague, indirect references to other gods who are not even named. The Egyptologist James P. Allen estimates that more than 1,400 deities are named in Egyptian texts.


Forgotten gods of the ancient Egyptians, showing how the remains of the civilization were inspired by an obsession with death and reincarnation.The ancient Egyptians were obsessed with divinity, death and the afterlife, and reincarnation. In this opening episode, host Christy Kenneally visits Saqqara, south of Cairo, where the Egyptians learned the technique ofmummification and built the first pyramid - an early prototype for the grand monuments of the Giza pyramid complex. He journeys on to explore the ruins at Abydos, Karnak and Luxor, arriving finally at the island of Philae - the site of the last hieroglyphics and a little-known shrine to Egypt's lost gods.

Egyptian mummy CT scan video, Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History



Ancient Egypt

The following are a list of vocabulary words that you will be responsible for learning in order to better understand Ancient Egypt:  amulet, antiquity, Anubis, archaeologist, artifact, cartouche, colossus, deity, dynasty, embalm, excavator, hieroglyphics, immortality, mummification, obelisk, pharaoh, sarcophagus, shawabti, sphinx, talisman 



Ancient Egypt Herodotus, the Greek historian called Egypt, “The gift of the Nile.”


  • The Nile River flooded every year, leaving silt on its banks. Since the Nile flows from the south to north, Northern Egypt is called Lower Egypt, while Upper Egypt is in the south. This is because the Nile River flows from higher elevations to sea level. 

  • Dynasty: a succession (one after another) of rulers from the same family

  • Pharaoh: means “great house” it is the name given to the king of Egypt Unification: the joining together of separate parts Kingdom: a time of unity under the pharaoh


Archaic Period (3100-2649 BC)

Very little history recorded during this time.

  • Menes becomes first pharaoh, rules from Memphis. Hieroglyphics develop.


The Old Kingdom (2649-2150 BC)

  • The time of pyramid building Pyramid building Pharaohs: Djoser 2630-2611 BC,

  • Dynasty III - his architect,

  • Imhotep builds the Step-Pyramid Snefru 2575-2551 BC,

  • Dynasty IV, builds the Bent and Red Pyramids Khufu (Cheops) 2551-2528 BC,

  • Dynasty IV, builds the Great Pyramid


The First Intermediate Period (2150-1975 BC)

A time of division and unrest; Egyptians write about “70 kings in 70 days.”


The Middle Kingdom (1975-1640 BC)

  • Mentuhotep II (Dynasty XI (11)) gains control of the entire country.

  • Pharaohs rule from Thebes.

  • Art flourishes

  • Famous stories are recorded and copied by scribes.

  • Irrigation projects are undertaken at the Faiyum.


Second Intermediate Period 1640-1550 BC

  • The Hyksos, a group from Western Asia, invade and take over Lower Egypt.

  • They Rule from their capital at Avaris. The Hyksos introduce new weapons (Chariots, composite bow) and musical instruments (Tambourine, oboe) to Egypt.


The New Kingdom 1550-1100 BC,

  • Dynasties XVIII-XX (18-20) Kamose, then Ahmose of Thebes, drive the Hyksos out of Egypt.

  • The capital is moved the Thebes.

  • Hatshepsut becomes the first female pharaoh (1503 BC-?)

  • Tuthmosis III wins the Battle of Megiddo,

  • 1479 BC Pharaoh Akhenaton practices monotheism (1352-1336 BC)

  • Pharaohs are buried in the Valley of the Kings, like Tutankhamun (King Tut) reign: 1336-1327 BC

  • Ramses II battles the Hittites at Kadesh 1279 BC).

  • Attack of the Sea Peoples (1185BC) during the reign of Ramses III


The Late Period 1100-30 BC

  • Egypt is conquered, ruled or attacked by a series of invaders including the Nubians, Assyrians, Persians, and Macedonian Greeks.

  • 30 BC – The Romans conquer Egypt, Cleopatra is the last ruler





The Story of Nubia...

6.16 Investigate the kinds of evidence used by archaeologists and historians to draw conclusions about the social and economic characteristics of Ancient Nubia (the Kingdom of Kush) and their relationship to the social and economic characteristics of Ancient Egypt.


This short documentary tells the story of Nubia and the civilization that flourished in the Nile Valley for thousands of years and particularly between 800 BC and 400 AD. The Galleries of Africa: Nubia at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto allow visitors to explore an exxtraordiary ancient legacy that stretched from Aswan in Egypt to Khartoum in Sudan through the lens of both ancient artifacts and ongoing, current ROM archaeological research.



Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: Digital collections of Egyptian Pyramids, including the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza; digital collections of the Pyramid Texts on the wall of the burial chamber of the Pyramid of Teti, Saqqara; digital collections of documents written on papyri






The Step Pyramid at Saqqara, the tomb of King Djoser.


The King's Pyramid. The pyramid of Teti measured 78.5 metres to a side. With its slope of 53°7'48" it rose to a height of 52.5 metres.  Read more of the text on the wall of the burial chamber.  Writings from the Ancient World


Join archaeologists in Egypt's Valley of the Kings as they post their discoveries on the web as soon as they are made. This find of the century is KV5, thought to be the mausoleum of as many as 50 sons of Ramses II, one of Egypt's most important pharaohs. Leader of the expedition, Kent Weeks of American University in Cairo, says that more than 110 rooms have already been found, and thousands of artifacts. The archaeologists are on leave through the summer.

This 53-second video consists of a series of images taken with a Siemens Somotom CT scanner of a mummy at the Department of Anthropology in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. The individual shown here is a male who died at about 40 years of age; a relatively mature age by ancient Egyptian standards. He is believed to have lived in Lower Egypt sometime between the 25-26th Greco-Roman periods, which is between 600 B.C. and about 150 A.D., or roughly between 2,500 and 1,900 years ago.


When this mummy was transferred to the Smithsonian from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia in the late 1950s, it was partially unwrapped, and very little was known about its history or the individual inside. Years later, using 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional CT scans, Natural History Museum anthropologists found that the brain and major organs were removed and rolls of linen filled out the abdominal cavity. This mummification method is evidence of superior embalming, indicating a person of higher status. The CT scanner uses x-rays to produce a series of 2-dimensional image slices which, for this video, were processed and converted into a 3D model. Two different CT filters were used to extract and digitize the physical properties of the mummy—a bone filter to extract images of the mummy's bones and a second filter that imaged the mummy's soft tissues, both inside and out.After the flesh and bone was digitally extracted, the data were imported into a computer program called 3D Studio Max, where virtual cameras were set up, an animation path was assigned and an animated clipping plane was set up to visually "grow" the mummy.


In ancient Egypt, a funeral was not just a funeral.

It was a big operation with many different parts: elaborate rituals, mummification, massive tombstones, and magic spells. The afterlife was a serious matter because everybody wanted to go to the Field of Reeds.  A funeral ceremony was thought of as a way to join the physical world to the eternal world and the afterlife....READ MORE



The Discovery and Decipherment of the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum by Adrienne Naquin.



  • The Sphinx at Giza is a half lion and half human statue built in 3rd millennium BC

  • It is among the largest single-stone statues on earth, carved from limestone bedrock

  • It faces due east

  • “Riddle of the Sphinx”: no one knows for sure who built it, when, or what it was really modeled after.

Click here for an interactive view of the Sphinx.

Mummies Secret's of the Pharoahs

6.18 Cite evidence from informational texts to explain the polytheistic religion of ancient Egypt with respect to beliefs about death, the afterlife, mummification, and the roles of different deities.
Focus Question: What were ancient Egypt's beliefs about death, the afterlife, mummification, and the roles of different deities?
Polytheism: the worship of more than one god. Egyptian gods include Amun Ra, Anubis, Seth, Osiris, Isis, and Horus.





  • Pyramids were built to house dead pharaohs and queens

  • 80 pyramids still stand today, while 3 of the largest and best preserved are found at Giza

  • The most well-known pyramid is the “Great Pyramid” was built for pharaoh Khufu

  • The second best-known is the pyramid built for Khufu’s son, pharaoh Khafra

  • The sphinx guards Khara’s pyramid

  • The final largest was built for pharaoh Menkaure

  • Pyramids were shaped the way they were so the dead could climb up to heaven and the sloping sides represented the rays of the sun

Click here for an interactive view of the Pyramids..



An article attesting to man's violence against man, even in the earliest of times by Arther Ferrill




King Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt went undisturbed for 3,000 years. But in the 90 years since its discovery, the ancient burial chamber has been ravaged by tourism.To prevent further damage and deterioration, conservationists hope a newly unveiled, life-size replica of the tomb will ease the flow of traffic to the original.

Important Achievements of Ancient Egypt...

6.19 Summarize important achievements of Egyptian civilization, including:  · the agricultural and irrigation systems · the invention of a calendar · main features of the monumental architecture and art, such as the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza · evolution of writing- hieroglyphics · the invention of papyrus


  • Agriculture and Horticulture in Ancient Egypt

  • Nile River - Satellite Picture

  • The Invention of Calendar  Floods started in June and ended in October.  Harvest time started in February and ended with a new flood in June. The shaduf, an irrigation device.  Sirius (a star) appeared within a few weeks of these occurrences - defined exact length of the earth’s trip around the sun.  After Sirius disappeared, the first new moon appeared after 70 days, marking the start of the new calendar year. One moon month was 29 ½ days.  The calendar was short by ¼ day every year, which added up, so Augustus introduced the “leap year” in 30 BC.  When Egypt was taken over by the Macedonians and, eventually, by the Romans, the Egyptian calendar months translated into the Macedonian and Roman calendars.

  • Architectural Elements in Ancient Egypt

  • Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Writing  Believed writing was created by the gods and called it the “the words of God” ("mdwt ntr"). The term hieroglyphic comes from the Greek word hieros (sacred) & glypho (inscriptions).  Dates back to 3400 BC.  Hieroglyphic script was used mostly on tombs and temple walls.  Hieratic script was used in everyday writing.

  • Champollion & Hieroglyphs

  • Invention of Papyrus  After developing a way to write, they needed something to write on.  Harvested a triangular reed found in lower Egypt that was light-weight, strong and durable that dates back to 4000 BC.  Papyrus plant was used for paper, food, medicine, perfume, making baskets, ropes, boats, sandals, utensils, tables and chairs.  Standard size was 47 cm long & 22 cm wide.  Listen and view the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, the most famous math payyrus to have survived, from the BBC website, A History of the World.



How Papyrus is Made...

Queen Pharaoh - Hatshepsut...

The life and accomplishments of the first and most powerful female Pharaoh of Egypt.

6.20 Identify the Old, Middle, and New Kingdom time periods and evaluate the significance of the following: (C, H, P) · Menes · Khufu · Hyksos invasion · Ahmose · King Tut · Queen Hatshepsut · Ramses the Great


Kush Civilization in Sudan.

6.21 Identify the location of the Kush civilization and describe its political, commercial, and cultural relationship with Egypt.


Archaeologist have discovered evidence of mass burials in the ancient civilization of Nubia/Kush dating to 5000 years ago. This is to inform you that Sudan has the oldest civilization in the world which is Nubain civilization.




Scale Model of the Great Pyramid.  You can build a model of the Great Pyramid, but first you need to scale it down. To do this, you will need to make the pyramid 3,000 times smaller than it really is!


Activity:  PBS Cracking the Hieroglyphic Code

Students are able to translate hieroglyphics. It includes a helpful explanation of the origin of hieroglyphs.




Using the Hieroglyphic Name Translator you can see how your own name would be viewed in Ancient Egypt!


Explore the Egyptian tomb of Perneb presented by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.



You are an assistant working in a jewellery workshop in ancient Memphis. You are in charge of collecting materials for the head jeweller to make into rings, bracelets, and necklaces.





The deities in the following gallery are just 12 out of a possible 2,000 gods and goddesses who were worshipped in ancient Egypt. Some of them were major deities wielding great religious, temporal and political power, others being not much more than demons and genies, or living creatures chosen by ordinary Egyptians to be their personal gods.



An exploration of the revolutionary period of prehistory that began when humans abandoned the nomadic hunting and gathering existence they had known for millennia to take up a completely new way of life the decisive move to farming and herding the ration of permanent settlements and the discovery of metals setting the stage for the arrival of the worlds first civilisation.



Explore virtually these ancient historical sites.



Consider the amazing scientific accomplishments of this ancient society...


Horrible History interpretation of Cleopatra's life and attitude...


Horrible History interpretation of classroom in Ancient Egypt...

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