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Although much about Ancient Egypt is still imperfectly unknown, the wealth of material that has been preserved has made it one of the best understood civilizations of the non-classical world. This wooden stele, dating from 950-730 BC and showing the singer of Amon playing the harp before the deity Horus, is but one of many thousands of objects and documents that proved a fascinating insight into this extraordinary civilizations.

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Ploughing and Sowing. Ploughing and Sowing began in October, when the Nile flood had receded, in the wall painting you have just saw, a man is driving a wooden ploughshare pulled by a pair of oxen, while his wife follows behind, sowing seeds. The lower register shows a stretch of the Nile lined with date palms.

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In the upper register of this painted relief, men gather papyrus from the edge of the Nile, while, in the lower register, a herd of cattle passes by. Papyrus had a number of uses; it could be made into paper, used to make sandals, boxes, or rope, or bundled into lengths to make boats.

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Wine, fowl and fish. The fertile environment of the Nile provided the Ancient Egyptians with a varied diet. In this wall painting, grapes are picked and trodden to make wine, birds are netted and plucked, and catches of fish and birds are carried of on yokes.

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Egyptian book of dead. Literacy was confined to the upper stratum of Egyptian society. The profession of scribe was prestigious and usually hereditary. This section of the previous papyrus manuscript known as the Book of Dead, dating from C. 1310 BC, shows the final judgment of Hu-Nefer the royal scribe, before Osiris, God of dead.

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Boating on the Nile. Sailing was an important profession in Ancient Egypt. Boatmen, aboard papyrus boats, ferried food supplies, stone for temple building, and trade goods, up and down the Nile, the country’s main thoroughfare. Funeral processions, in which the mummified body of the pharaoh was taken to its burial place by boat, also took place on the Nile.

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Funerary mask of Tutankhamen. Much artistic skill and many fine materials were lavished on the funerary trappings of the pharaoh and other highly esteemed figures of Ancient Egypt. The mask of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen, dating from C. 1360 BC, is made of gold inland with lapis lazuli and carnelian.

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Great Sphinx, Giza. The Great Sphinx at Giza was built on the orders of the pharaoh Khafre in the 3rd millennium BC. In the Ancient Egypt, the Sphinx was the symbol of royal power, and this statue was probably intended to be a portrait of Khafre. The Great Pyramid of Khufu is seen to the right of the Sphinx, and the Pyramid of Khafre to the left.

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Banqueting. In the upper portion of this wall painting Thebes, dating from about 1400 BC, nobles of the court and their wives are attended by slaves while they wait to be served with food, which is piled high on the right. The figures on the row below are probably ladies of the court.

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Inside a Pyramid The burial chambers inside the Egyptian Pyramid held the sarcophagus of the pharaoh and the rich grave goods with which he was provided for the afterlife. These chambers were located at the end of long corridors that could be sealed, or construction in such a way as to confuse grave robbers. This cross-section of the Great Pyramid at Giza shows the eternal arrangement of passage ways and Burial Chambers.

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