Houses of Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians lived in houses made of bricks. The bricks were made of mud and chopped straw. They mixed the mud and straw and then poured the mixture into molds. The molds were placed in the sun to bake into hard bricks.

Some of the tools used to make homes were the T-square which was used for measuring angles. They also had a mallet, which is a type of big hammer. Of course, they had the brick molds to make bricks. They had plumb lines which they used to make sure the houses were built straight and level.

The rich homes had about 10 rooms and the poor homes had one. A mixture of lime and water was used to whitewash the walls of the richer homes. Some of richest homes had painted walls. They were often blue or yellow with coloured ceilings. They had painted borders of ducks or lotus petals which is a type of flower. The poor had floors made of beaten earth. The floors of the rich were tiled. Some rich people had a room with an altar that was used for family worship of the friendlier gods.

The houses often needed to be repaired when the Nile River started to flood. Some were built on platforms to prevent this. Sometimes, rats gnawed through walls so that they had to be fixed.

Townhouses were joined together on either side and were the same in appearance. The city had many avenues of fine buildings. The windows were little small square holes in the wall that were fairly high. Some of the houses had brick work grills which softened the sunís glare or unpleasant brightness. They were meant to keep out the dust, heat and glare.

The poor working people were crammed together into packed unplanned streets. Unplanned streets mean they were not well known. The children often played games on roof tops and would run and jump from one to another.

All rich people had gardens with pools to swim in. Most gardens were very peaceful. To get to the gardens they had very neat paths. They had high walls to keep out noise and intruders. At the doors there were guards to protect the gardens.

Most people, except for the poor, had furniture. Some of the furniture was a bed to sleep on, a side table to place books and other things on, a toilet seat placed on top of a hole to go to the washroom, and a sideboard so they do not fall in the hole. Their kitchens had some small tables. They had drinking vessels and dishes but they had no cupboards.

Roof timber was covered with thatch and matting. Thatch is reeds and straw bound together. It was topped with a thick layer of mud plaster.

The poor slept on the bare floor, the roof or on a mat. Because of the danger of scorpions, they had a head rest to raise their heads. In the houses of the rich there was a guest room and a set of rooms for the owner. There was another room for the woman of the house.

The physical environment affected the homes. Because of the hot sun, bricks baked hard outside and did not need to be oven dried. Windows were built high up to let heat escape during the day. Cool air going through the windows at night also helped the homes cool. There were no trees to make wooden beams, which were needed to hold up the houses. The beams had to be imported from other places. Most of the houses were made of mud bricks because there was lots of mud along the Nile River. There was a shortage of land for houses because no one wanted to live in the hot desert or on the fertile ground which was needed to grow food. Because of the shortage of land to build on, the townhouses were usually two or three stories high.

By Gillian, Jenna, and Jane