From the Stone Age to Ancient Egypt…

Dear 7Y,

Today you can tackle some revision on the Stone Age and then begin an intellectual journey along the Nile River in order to observe the civilization of the ancient Egyptians. I hope you enjoy the trip.

Kind regards, Ms Green

1 The Natufians

The “Natufians” were hunter-gatherers whose descendants eventually became the first farmers and herders in the Fertile Crescent. Ultimately a great civilisation developed in that region. The people of that civilisation were called the Sumerians and they are generally credited with inventing the wheel (some question this assumption) and developing the first writing (this is widely accepted). These were remarkable achievements for people with hardly any wood, whose best material for a writing surface and for building houses was mud.

First though, a little quiz on the Stone Age and the Natufians, partially based on that film, “Stories from the Stone Age”:

Complete this quiz under a new tab on the full screen

Dagon Museum, Mortars from Natufian Culture, Grinding stones from Neolithic pre-pottery phase
This picture shows some of the grinding implements used by the Natufians.
Hanay [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2 Ancient Egypt – Essential Vocabulary

Below there is also a little Quizlet on ancient Egypt, which will help you to learn many of the words connected with this topic. As an added incentive, you can play the Gravity game, but only after cycling through the digital flashcards at least once.

3 The ancient Egyptians – an Introduction

Photo kindly provided by Mrs McQueen

The ancient Egyptians built the Great Pyramid of Giza without the wheel. In addition, they developed their own system of writing, probably influenced by the Sumerians. The ancient Egyptians often get the credit for domesticating cats, but some believe that this occurred much earlier in Cyprus. It is undeniable, however, that Egyptians loved cats. They also embalmed bodies with great skill and lived successfully in a land that, except for a thin fertile strip near its river, was basically desert.

It was an improbable place for the development of such a major and successful civilization, made possible only by the existence of that river, the Nile, and by the talents of the people. Every year the Nile delivered its fertile silt to the inhabitants of the Nile Valley, its floodwaters sweeping down from the Ethiopian mountains in the south to the plains of the north. Every year the Egyptian peasant farmers used that silt and water to crop their land and grow the food that supported the whole population.

Some of my students think life would have been much easier once farming began. They point out that people would no longer have encountered as much danger from hunting and would have felt more confidence about having food when they needed it.

While these are fair points, farming in ancient Egypt was labour-intensive, to say the least. A peasant farmer was also at the bottom of the social hierarchy. This was no easy life. Hunter-gatherers six or seven thousand years before in a fertile area might well have had more leisure time and fewer people telling them what to do – and no one to tax them as well.

4 Some Introductory Websites and Videos

Find out more about ancient Egypt at these links. This is just a preliminary wander along the Nile River:

Mummy Maker Game at the BBC Website

The importance of the Nile – BBC Website

Questions and answers about the Nile – an easier website

A day in the life of various ancient Egyptians – PBS Website

A fascinating account of archaeological evidence on who actually built the Pyramids – PBS website

A video about an ancient Egyptian’s journey through the underworld:

A video about how the ancient Egyptians made their mummies:

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3 Replies to “From the Stone Age to Ancient Egypt…”

  1. Why I think the Neanderthals died out
    I believe Neanderthals may have died out because of various reasons…
    Firstly, during the Ice Age, Neanderthals limited the amount of reproduction because it was difficult to collect and hunt sufficient amounts of food. After the Ice Age was over, the Neanderthals had adapted to cold temperatures and did not know what to do. The baby’s head is also significantly larger than a Homo sapien baby’s head. And it only makes it hard for mothers to give birth, leading to situations where babies might have died in their mothers’ wombs or mothers might have died in pain during childbirth.

  2. Hello reader,
    I have created a hypothesis on why the Neanderthals died out. This is my theory:
    Scientists have proposed that the Neanderthals were more sensitive to climate change. They estimated that the Neanderthal populations dramatically decreased, around 50,000 years ago, due to climate change. But there may have been other groups of Neanderthals that helped re-expansion.
    Another possibility is that Neanderthals had a bigger head which would have probably caused birthing problems. This would then decrease the population as women may have died in the process of having a baby. When the population was really small, anything could have made the Neanderthals perish; weather change, lack of food, an animal attacked, etc.
    Thanks for reading,

  3. History is more interesting as it goes on. I’m really excited to learn more about the Egyptians

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