Ancient Egyptian Grave Goods
Grave goods were important to the Ancient Egyptians because these were things that the living would prepare for the dead so that they would have nice things in the afterlife.
Preparing the Goods
People would start making grave goods even before they died so that they could have them in their tomb when they died.
Ancient Egyptians believed that when someone died, they did not just go into the ground but that they went to the afterlife or the Land of the Two Fields. When someone went to the afterlife, whatever was with them in their tomb could be taken to the Land of the Two Fields with them.
People and their families wanted them to be comfortable so they would begin making things well before anyone died. They would take the items that they made and put them in a box or a pot and when the person died, they would put the items in the tomb with them.
There were many things that people needed on Earth and they thought that they would need things in the afterlife too. Some of the things that were sometimes included in the tombs were jewelry, amulets, statues, pots, toys, games, clothing, furniture, gold, spoons, make-up, tools and more.
If the items were too big to fit in the tomb, the people would instead draw pictures of the items. The Egyptians thought that the pictures would help to get these items to the people in the afterlife.
Food and drinks were sometimes left for the people after they died. The family and friends of the dead would want their loved one to have something good to eat and drink on their journey to the afterlife and so they would leave food for their souls.
In tombs where royal people or wealthy people were buried, there would be more expensive treasures such as gold, jewels, silver and much fancier items and clothing.
The Ancient Egyptians also believed that when someone died, they would go to the afterlife that was just like living on Earth but much happier.
They believed that a person that died would get a job that they liked in the afterlife and so many times the families would leave goods in the tomb that would help their loved one with a job.
Sometimes, the families would leave clay pots, tools and other things that would be useful to someone when working.
If a child died, the families would sometimes leave toys and trinkets that the child could play with in the afterlife. They would use clay figures because clay did not break easily and was strong enough to hold up through traveling to the afterlife.
One thing that was popular in Ancient Egypt was graver robbery. People would go to the tombs and would steal the grave goods and try to sell them or trade them.
This was considered a big crime for the Egyptians because when the grave robbers would go inside the tombs, they would sometimes hurt the body or break the name plate. If the name plate was broken or the body was destroyed, it was hard for the person to make it to the afterlife.
Some family members would donate things from their homes to someone that passed away so that they could have a better time in the afterlife.
The grave goods were to make sure that the dead would be happy when they died. Sometimes people would leave the dead persons favorite food or toy or thing at the tomb so that their friend or loved one could be happy.
- People would leave food and drinks at tombs so the people would have something good to eat and drink when going to the afterlife.
- Beer was one of the most popular things to drink and many tombs were full of beer for the dead.
- A doll was sometimes left I the tombs and the doll were meant to help the dead person to do their job easier in the afterlife.
- Pharaoh’s were buried with rich things made out of gold and fine jewels.
- If a person had a lot of grave goods, it showed that they were rich.
What Did You Learn?
- What are grave goods? Grave goods are things that the Ancient Egyptians would leave in the tombs of people that died.
- Why were the grave goods important? Grave goods were important because the Ancient Egyptians believed that people that died would take these items with them to the afterlife.
- Why is grave robbing? Grave robbing is when people would break into the graves and steal the grave goods.
- Did people only give grave goods to their families? No. Sometimes, people would donate things to people that died so that they could have an easier life in the afterlife.
- Why did people leave tools and work items? People would leave tools and work items because they believed that people had jobs in the afterlife and that these tools would help them at work.