Depth Study 2a: Significant Beliefs, Values and Practices in Ancient Egypt

Depth Study 2a: Significant Beliefs, Values and Practices in Ancient Egypt

The significant beliefs, values and practices of the ancient society, with a particular emphasis on ONE of the following areas: death and funerary customs

  • explain how the beliefs and values of the ancient society are evident in practices related to death and funerary customs

Death and Funerary Customs

Much of our archaeological data and literary evidence from ancient Egypt has been derived from funerary contexts. Tombs were built in the dry desert and as a result they have been preserved much better than homes, which were located closer to the Nile and cultivatable land. As such, we have a wealth of information and sources relating to death and funerary customs in ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians had a set of elaborate beliefs and practices associated with death and burial which constantly developed over time increasing in ideological complexity. From as early as the Predynastic Period (c.4500–3350 BCE) the treatment of the deceased, careful placement of the body and the provision of grave goods in burials indicates a great respect for the dead and a belief in the concept of the afterlife. These funerary practices continued to develop throughout the Pharaonic Period becoming more complex with the introduction of  mummification, coffins and elaborate tomb structures. These changing funerary practices were underpinned by developments in Egyptian religious beliefs.

Below you will find a list of useful resources which cover some of the main aspects of ancient Egyptian death and funerary customs.

The Decorated Coffin of PanesyCartonnage cover from the mummy of Panesy
Rijksmuseum Van Oudhedan L.XII.3-c


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