Go to the Digital Library top page!


Click here for main menu

Cultures > Egypt

:: 3100 BC - PRESENT

Cultural Background | Surviving | Finding Meaning in the Cosmos

Cultural Background

Because of its location at the crossroads of the African and Asian continents, Egypt has been an important geographical and political power since the earliest times. They performed many rituals designed to strengthen their connection to the past.

The family was the main social unit of ancient Egypt. The father was responsible for the economic well-being of his family. The mother managed the household and cared for the upbringing of the children.

Although Egyptian children had toys and some artifacts show them at play, much of their time was spent preparing for adulthood. Peasant children accompanied their parents into the fields, and the sons of craftsmen often served as apprentices to their fathers. Children from privileged families sometimes went to school to become scribes or army officers.

Time Period: 3100 BC to the present.

Location: Egypt is in northeast Africa. Its boundaries were the Mediterranean Sea to the north and Elephantine (known today as Aswan) to the south. To the east and west its boundaries areas of high desert. Ancient Egypt is located in the low desert areas in and around the valley of the Nile river.

Geography/Topography: Floodplains and desert. The Nile river, the most important geographic feature in the area, runs the length of the country, flowing from south to north. The country was divided into two regions: Upper and Lower Egypt.

Lower (northern) Egypt consisted of the Nile river's
delta made by the river as it empties into the
Mediterranean. The delta is a triangular area of sand
and soil that had been deposited by the river when it
flooded each year. For much of Egypt's history, only a
few people settled here, but it was a popular grazing
area for cattle.

Upper Egypt was the long, narrow strip of ancient
Egypt located south of the river's delta. This area is
composed of four topographic zones: the Nile river,
the floodplain, the low desert and the high desert.
Each of these zones was useful to the Egyptians in a
different way.

1 of 3 next »

Click for map of Egypt
Take a closer look at the area of the ancient Egyptian Empire. [enlarge]

Discover what daily life was like for an ancient Egyptian at The Ancient Egyptian Culture Exhibit.

Need help searching?
Search help

Search eCUIP:

Examples: or
Contact eCUIP!

Need help?

Return to the eCUIP top page!