An introduction to Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptian civilisation began 5,000 years ago when people started building villages next to the River Nile in north-east Africa. It lasted for around 3,000 years.

The river was an important source of water in a hot and dry desert landscape. It enabled the ancient Egyptians to grow lots of crops like wheat, barley, fruit and vegetables. They also grew flax to make clothes and papyrus to make paper.

The ancient Egyptians were experts at farming and construction because they were very inventive. They invented a solar calendar (a calendar based on the sun) and a writing system called hieroglyphs.

The ancient Egyptians were ruled by kings and queens called pharaohs. Religion was an important part of their civilisation. They worshiped over 2,000 gods and goddesses!

The ancient Egyptians also believed in a never-ending afterlife. They thought it was more important than their life on Earth, so they spent a lot of time planning for their death.

The ancient Egyptians preserved the bodies of important people through mummification. They built special tombs to be buried in, which they filled with all their favourite things. Some pharaohs built their tombs in the shape of giant pyramids.

Make your own pyramid treasure tomb

Make your own pyramid treasure tomb
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Take a look at some ancient Egyptian artefacts

A photo of five mummified cats, wrapped up in intricate patternsThe Trustees of the British Museum

Mummified cats

Ancient Egyptians thought cats were very special. They wanted to take their cats with them into the afterlife so they often mummified them and put them in their tombs.

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Make your own mummy cartonnage pencil case

Make your own mummy cartonnage pencil case
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Where next?

What did the ancient Egyptians believe in?
What happened to the ancient Egyptians?
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