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Daily Life in Ancient Egypt

The clearest evidence for how the ancient Egyptians went about their day-to-day lives comes from archaeology and art. Archaeologists excavate the remains of cities, towns, and houses to find the remnants of objects used by people in the areas where they once lived. Then they try to reconstruct the regular activities of those people as completely and clearly as possible. However, it is never even close to a full picture. Helping these interpretations are scenes that were carved and/or painted on the walls of tombs. Some of these images seem to show parts of “daily life” in action. Many of them show aspects of food production, preparation, and storage – baking bread and brewing beer, working the fields and harvesting grains, raising and butchering cattle, and hunting and fishing. Specialized crafts also appear, such as carpentry and jewelry-making. Other scenes show foods and other products being transported toward images of a tomb owners themselves. To call these “scenes of daily life” is only partly true. They do show the kinds of activities expected of everyday life. However, their purpose from the ancient Egyptians’ point of view was ever more important. Just as they believed that that those people buried in tombs would arise into a new existence in an eternal afterlife, they expected these scenes on the walls to be as good as “real” in that afterlife, to provide an endless supply of food and comforts of life for eternity.

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