Ancient Egypt (3100 –30 BCE)

About the time

Egypt is on the North East corner of the African continent and Ancient Egypt was a very successful civilization from 3100-31 BCE.  It developed along the Nile River where yearly floods brought nutrients and water to farmers.  The Pharaoh was a King and a God, and for most of Ancient Egyptian history, the society worshiped multiple gods.   The afterlife was extremely important and much of the art we have found has to do with the afterlife.

 There were three major time periods:

Old Kingdom

Middle Kingdom  new Pharaohs were not as powerful. 

New Kingdom


The Art

The art that has been preserved was mostly made by the richest people in the society, the Pharaohs and the other nobility.  Most of the art is in the form of wall carvings which told stories on the walls of tombs and temples.   The people are facing sideways, and the art used to have very bright and rich colors which have faded over time.  There are also all of the items that were found inside tombs, including jars and personal items like jewelry and combs.



The buildings were made out of sandstone and paints were used to decorate the carvings.


*********This lesson is a little different because the link below leads to a really cool website about Egypt.  Open a new tab or page and go to this website.**********  


There are directions that will help you navigate the website in the link above.

1.       Look at the page on hieroglyphs by clicking on the second link on the left hand side.

Heiroglyphics are the Egyptian writing system.  There are symbols that represent sounds, like our english aplphabet, and also symbols that represent whole words or ideas, like the CHinese and Japanese writing systems.

No one could read the hieroglyphics until "The Rosetta Stone" was discovered.  The Rosetta Stone has Greek, Aramaic and Hieroglyphics carved into it.  The people of the time could read Greek and Aramaic, so they could tell that all three languages said the same thing.  They deciphered the heiroglyphics by comparing it to the Greek and Aramaic, and the language code was finally broken.

 The Instruction of Ptahhotep













The page on Hieroglyphs has a link to "Hieroglyphic Writing"

Click on it and scroll down to the "Hieroglyphic Alphabet translator" link.

Write your first name using the hieroglyphic letters.  Names go in an oval called a cartouche.


     2. Look at Pyramids and Temples

        Saqqara Step Pyramid

Pyramids were built as tombs for Pharaohs with small passage ways that may have been made to help the Pharaohs' souls travel toward the sky after Death.


This first video shows the first type of pyramids to be built.  This is a step pyramid built for King Djoser around 2600 BCE.  It was built out of limestone and took 200,000 tons of stone. 



The pyramids at Giza are located in  the Necropolis, which means "Dead City."  They were originally covered with a smooth shiny white limestone outside when they were first built in 2560 BCE, but now it's just the inner limestone blocks.


13 acres big,  480 feet tall, 2.3 million blocks of stone

                13 acres = a little less than 13 football fields

                480 feet tall = 48 story building


It was the tallest man made structure for a very long time.  It took more than 20 years to complete. 



More Videos


What does the inside look like?


3.        Look at the link "Kings and Queens"

The picture of the headress belongs to the mummy of Tutenkhamen.  Headresses were originally made of organic materials that have deteriorated over time, but we know what they look like from pictures and from gold masks created for mummies. 

The most famous mask is the Death Mask of King Tut of the Boy Pharoah. 

Click on the link for "The woman who was King"

Queen Hatshepsut is the first woman in history that ruled a nation as powerful as Egypt.  Her temple was carved into the side of a cliff.  It is low to the ground, very long and appears to have a row of statues that look like the columns that you'll find in Greece. 



Queen Hatshepsut's temple at Deir el Bahri



4.       Look at the pictures and videos of the temples under “rebuilding temples”?

What do you notice about the colors or structures?



 Go to this website to check out the Egyptian Gods



Who is the Sun God and what does he look like?  Who is the God of the Dead and what does he look like?





Amarna Period


There was one time in Ancient Egypt known as the Amarna period.



During this time the Pharoah made a monotheistic religion (only one God).  He moved the Capital city and told everyone to worship Aten, the God who represented the energy of the Sun.


The art of this period is much more realistic, the bodies are rounded, and instead of art about stories of Gods, the arts shows the royal family enjoying each other's company. 








The Bust of Nefertiti is famous for depicting the wife of the Pharoah more realistically than other Egyptian Art.  It also reminds the viewer that this period showed the Pharoah's family, not the other Gods.






Fun fact:  It is thought that this family had oddly shaped heads due to inbreeding. 

This means that their heads were a little longer in the back because their family had married too many times within itself (aka cousins marrying cousins).















Review Test 2


Go to the Review Test Page and click on the second link.  FIll in the answer sheet with the answers and turn it in to Ms. Allekotte for a grade.


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