Forms of Ancient Egyptian Architecture

Ancient Egyptian Architecture

Egypt has always been a significant reference for human civilization. Until today, historians find it a substantial source of information about how humanity related to each other and nature. A major part of these discoveries come from the remains of ancient art and architecture. Everyone has heard of, if not seen, the pyramids which stand as the most famous symbol of ancient Egypt. Even though you can find such a technique in other early civilizations like the Maya or the Chinese pyramids to synonymous with Egypt. For thousands of years, the pyramids of Gaza have remained significant monuments in the history of humanity. Scientists and historians have spent many years trying to uncover the knowledge and skills used to construct them. Even building these structures took many centuries to complete. Despite these massive structures being great attractions, they are not the apex of Egyptian architecture of the ancient days. It is only that they are the earliest and best-know expression of Egyptian culture that they are more referred to.

The history of early Egypt dates 6000 years ago. It begins before the Predynastic Period of C. 6000 to BCE 3150. Then it continues through the end of the Ptolemaic Dynasty between 323 and 30 BC. There are many artifacts and evidence of overgrazing across the Sahara desert, which shows people lived here from as early as 8000 BCE. The art of this period was pretty basic, with improvements only coming in during the Early Dynastic period between 3150 and 2613 BCE. Djoser’s Step Pyramid at Saqqara is believed to be the first Pyramid which went towards the end of the Early Dynastic Period. This monument can show how far the Egyptians went at sharpening the skills when compared to earlier and after architecture. Egyptians advance significantly by creating tombs for their kings and influential people in society, leading to an understanding of architectural designs and constructions that still stand today.

Egyptians were very talented, beginning from the old kingdom of c. 2613 to 2181 BCE. The architecture of this period shows nothing but great handworks, which still had a long way to go. As time went by, the tradition of pyramids was quickly abandoned, and the Egyptians focused more on building tombs. Remains are standing as evidence, including Ra at Karnak. They all inspire a great deal of awe just at the pyramids, and today they resonate as part of an eternal story.

Ancient Egyptian architecture

The primary material for construction in ancient Egypt included unbaked mud brick and mud. Beyond the Old Kingdom, however, the stone became the major construction material generally used for tombs. Clay was a domestic material for royal palaces and fortresses as the eternal houses of gods, tombs, received more strength with stone walls. The flooded area of the Nile contains pieces of evidence of many ancient Egyptian towns. However, there remains a lot to the stories.


Ancient Egyptian culture took mortuary architecture very seriously. They did not believe someone died entirely after the spirit leaves them; hence they build a place where the corpse received protection from desecration and was given necessary material to continue living. There were decorations on the walls of the tombs which guided the dead on a journey of pursuing their magic afterlife expectations. Kings received different architecture as their expectations were different as chosen for them by the gods; the tombs served only as the transport to take them there.

Most tombs had two major parts, the burial chamber, and the chapel. The first was where they were laid, whereas the second was for serving offerings to the dead. For a royal burial, the chapel served as a mortuary temple. Starting from the New Kingdom, it became a separate structure shortly far from the tomb.

Royal tombs

Earlier dynasties used mud brick to build tombs for kings and high officials. For instance, the monuments at Abydos are splendid, as those at Saqqarah are noble. Those for kings were preserved better than the former, mastabas; rectangular superstructures. The sides were built beautifully as paneled niche painted white with matting design decorations.  

The Step Pyramid of Djoser is among the major architectural works of ancient Egypt. It was built in his honor as the second king of the third dynasty. It is in a vast enclosure at Saqqarah overlooking the city of Memphis. This design also appears with a high royal official, Imhotep, who first came up with the idea of using quarried stone. The stonemasons of early Egypt made their earliest constructions using stone. They used this as a way to reproduce other forms of old wood and brick buildings. The kings' tombs were elaborate with wall panels and glazed tiles hence making their beautiful reliefs more comfortable.

Art as decoration

Egyptians used gold most to enrich the jewelry. It was used in many things, including settings, cloisonné work, chains, and beads. Because of this, there was a need to develop soldering, granulation, and wire making skills. The importance of precious stones could not be overemphasized as carnelian, amethyst, garnet, red and yellow jasper, lapis lazuli, feldspar, and many others were highly used. Faience and glass provided additional colors to make the ornaments even more attractive.

Metalwork was very widespread in the kingdom as well. Many archeologists believe this could have come from the Middle East. Copper was the most common metal followed by bronze. There are many pieces of evidence of these in find bowls, jugs, and other vessels dating back to all periods. Other figures like statuettes of gods, kings, and ordinary people echo this culture. The life-size statue of Pepi I is the largest and the earliest metal figure representing ancient Egypt.

Gold was easier to get in ancient Egypt than silver; hence it was not very highly valued. It was easier to work with as well, and the environment did not affect it very much, which why we can find today more gold objects than those made with silver. There are many gold and silver items still standing today as part of the great history of Egypt and its culture. WoodAncient Egyptian Architecture, ivory bones played a significant role in early Egyptian art as well. The old kingdom has several wooden sculptures that show a carver of wood need to be very skillful and sensitive. There are many toilet spoons and containers that originate from this period. They all show the rich culture of ancient Egypt.


1072 Words


Mar 03, 2020


3 Pages

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