Ancient Egypt was a civilisation that is known for it’s pyramids and pharaohs but life for ordinary people in Ancient Egypt wasn’t all about that.

Life in Ancient Egypt


In early Ancient Egypt, houses were made of mud and papyrus (a thick paper-like material) but they realised this wouldn’t work: the River Nile flooded every 3 months and washed the houses away.

The Egyptians then discovered that bricks could be made out of clay and mud from the riverbank. To make these bricks, they poured a clay/mud mixture into moulds and allowed them to dry in the sun. They lasted a lot longer than the old houses!

A recreation of an Ancient Egyptian mud house | By Institute for the Study of the Ancient WorldCC BY 2.0 on Flickr


There were many jobs you could do in Ancient Egypt. Most people worked as farmers or labourers, but there were also other jobs, such as brewers and scribes. Workers would be paid in goods rather than in money, something known as a “barter economy.”


The pharaoh was fairly relaxed on what Egyptians could eat. Apart from a few sacred animals, there were no restrictions on what people could grow or kill.


The most common animals that Egyptians ate included pigeon, ducks, geese, pork and fish. They avoided beef because cows were thought to be sacred, although researchers have found workers building the Great Pyramid may have been fed beef.

An Egyptian mural of hunting birds (top) and plowing a field (bottom.)
An Egyptian mural of hunting birds (top) and plowing a field (bottom.)

Fruit and vegetables

The Ancient Egyptians ate many types of fruit and vegetables, most of which we still eat today. Peas, chickpeas and lentils were sources of protein. Grapes and raisins were also eaten, as well as palm nuts, which were processed to make juice.

Bread and beer

Egyptian bread was made of a species of wheat that was harder to make into flour than other types of wheat. The way that they made bread changed over the centuries. In early Ancient Egypt, they used pottery moulds, but in later years they used a topless clay oven to bake the bread.

Beer was drunk in Ancient Egypt because it was nutritious (it’s different to the beer that you find today.) Sometimes, it was even used as a currency! Egyptian beer was made by making a special type of bread, called “beer bread”. The bread was then crumbled, washed and left to ferment.