Obesity, Beer and Lost Cities: Fascinating Facts About Ancient Egypt You Never Knew

There’s something alluring about the ancient Egyptians that keeps us enthralled. Without the aid of modern technology, ancient Egyptians managed to create a powerful and enduring civilization in an age when modern conveniences hadn’t been invented yet. Egyptian peasants, skilled craftspeople, merchants, priests and royalty contributed to the greater good of all.

Continue reading to find out what surprising things we have in common with ancient Egyptians. Large and small tombs preserve the remains of great rulers and those of high rank, and slide #2 shows who else benefited from these magnificent structures. Find out what Cleopatra did to her siblings in slide #8, and be amazed by what archeologists found in slide #14.


14. Scribes Were Like News Reporters

001-14-scribes-were-like-news-reporters-11226affe8cdcf567c490cc714e01616Scribes were people who learned how to read and write, giving them the ability to record events of historical significance. Scribes wrote about the activities of the Pharoahs, and also made note of daily life as they saw it happen. They were the news reporters of their day, and wrote everything by hand using handcrafted brushes dipped in natural ink to jot down observations on sheets of papyrus.


Learning how to write words in the hieratic and hieroglyphic styles required special school training, which lasted about five years. The majority of scribes were men, but a few women learned this highly specialized skill. Being a scribe was mostly a family affair, and scribe schools favored the children of trained scribes.

13. Tombs Were Basically Storage Facilities

as65d4asdasWhen someone passed on to the great beyond, the living placed valuable objects inside of tombs near the dead. These objects were intended for use by the departed in the afterlife.

The type of items stored inside of tombs varied greatly, and depended on the social status of the deceased. Persons of royal persuasion were given luxurious items made of gold and other precious materials. The tomb of King Tut contained rare treasures for his enjoyment. Alternatively, people of common means had tombs filled with practical items such as blankets, hunting spears and clothing.

As time passed, tomb raiders discovered these stored goodies and took most of it for private sale or use.

12. Egyptian Women Had More Legal Rights Than Greek Women

003-12-egyptian-women-had-more-legal-rights-699ff49fcd9cca3c88f04003534c04c8Women in ancient Egypt had legal rights and privileges granted to them that rival our modern culture. Compared to the women of ancient Greek society, these ladies had it good. Egyptian women freely entered into legal contracts on their own accord. This legal right alone allowed them to gain their independence. Women were able to control finances, buy and sell goods, make money and spend it freely.

Courts also tapped women to serve on juries, something unheard of in Greece, the birthplace of democracy. It’s ironic that women living under autocratic rulers had more women’s rights than Greek women, who lived under the thumb of fathers, husbands and other men.

11. Mummification and Drying Organs Was a Spiritual Act

004-11-mummification-and-drying-organs-was-a-790959Ancient Egyptians perfected the art of mummification. Preserving the body after death was spiritually important to their way of life. In order to create the perfect mummy, they first had to dig out the vital organs such as the liver, lungs, intestines, and most precious of all…brains. Attendants pulled brains out through the nose using special tools.

What about the heart?

They removed the heart temporarily, and put it back into the body before sealing it with tight wrappings. Deceased persons needed their heart for afterlife judgment.

Vital organs were carefully placed inside of canopic jars and enclosed inside of the sarcophagus. Imagine opening a jar of dried organs after 5,000 years.

10. Ancient Dentists Preserved Smiles

005-10-ancient-dentists-preserved-smiles-05fcdf9515c7859ae6d38549db22ebb2Egyptian people suffered from gum disease and tooth decay like we do. Instead of simply pulling teeth, Egyptian doctors rose to the challenge and developed outstanding dentistry skills.

Medical practitioners who did dentistry work had 11 dental treatment options for patients. Dentists fixed loose teeth by filling them with mixtures that included ingredients such as honey and barley. Special syrups were given to patients for relief of tooth pain, to reduce inflammation and to keep the mouth clean.

Incredibly, dentists performed surgical procedures on gums and jaws, cutting out abscesses and fixing damaged areas. Excavations reveal that dentists made dental bridges by attaching silver or gold wire to original or crafted teeth.