Ancient Egyptian Grave Goods

For the Ancient Egyptians, preparing for death was like preparing to go on a lifetime vacation.  The people began to prepare goods long before they died in order to be comfortable when they entered into the afterlife.

The idea of grave goods was that when the people died and went to the Land of the Two Fields, that they wanted to have stuff to be comfortable there.  So, the Egyptians would begin to prepare things and make things to take with them after they died.

They would place these items in a big urn and then after the person died, they would bury the urn with them so that it would be available to them when they died and went to the Land of the Two Fields.

There were many things that the Egyptians felt that they needed in the afterlife.  Some of these things included jewelry, furniture, clothing, knives, spoons, cosmetics, ornaments, statues, tools, pots, bowls, toys and more.

If the items seemed like they would be too big, the people would draw pictures of the item that they wanted to take with them, and the item would magically appear when they entered the afterlife.

In order to find happiness in paradise, the person would need the same items that had kept them happy on earth to take with them to the afterlife.

Sometimes, people would even leave food and drinks for their souls in their tombs, while the wealthier people might have gold or silver, fine wood or stones, fancy furniture and more.

The Egyptians also believed that they would be given different jobs to do in the afterlife.  They believed that little clay figures could do the work for them when they got to the afterlife and then they could just play and have fun, so they made many of the clay figures for that purpose.

The Pharaoh’s prepared grave goods as soon as they were crowned.  They were given tombs that were made of stone or brick and so oftentimes their tombs were filled with many earthly treasures.

Grave robbery was a problem in Ancient Egypt because of the grave goods.  The grave robbers would go to the tombs and steal the grave goods.

Those that were wealthy would write “from a tomb” on their goods in hopes to keep the grave robbers from taking their stuff.

Many times, the family of someone that died would donate grave goods to the person that had passed away so that they could sacrifice something to their dead relative or friend.

These offerings would help the person to have a better trip to the afterlife.  The point of the grave goods was not to show off how wealthy a person was, but to make sure that the dead would have what they needed to be happy in the afterlife.

Oftentimes, people would leave their favorite drinks and food such as cake or bread, but this was expected to be left by the survivors of the dead.

Many times, people would leave food and drink at the tomb and the priest would lay the food and drink on a table and the dead would come and absorb the nutrients from the offering and then return back to the afterlife.

If the family was too busy to give offerings to the dead, they could hire a priest to perform rituals and to take care of the dead at the tomb.

Facts about Ancient Egyptian Grave Goods

  • Beer was often provided as a grave good because it was Egypt’s most popular drink.
  • Shabti dolls were sometimes left in tombs.  The Shabti doll was meant to look like the person that died.  These dolls helped to do the dead persons job in the afterlife.
  • A wealthy person would have more goods than a poor person.
  • Pharaoh’s were usually buried with jewelry and treasures made out of gold and fine jewels.
  • Some grave goods were marked specifically for the person that died.
  • Pottery, tools and small statues of slaves were oftentimes found in tombs.
  • Expensive grave goods showed a high status.
  • Some people give their dead pillows and blankets to make the afterlife more comfortable.

Q and A

  • Q: What was the point of grave goods?
    A: Grave goods were items that were put in tombs when someone died so that they could use the items in the afterlife.
  • Q: What did the Egyptians need in order to be happy in the afterlife?
    A: The Egyptians believed that they had to have grave goods in order to have things to do in the afterlife.
  • Q: What was the importance of clay figures and Shabti dolls?
    A: The clay figures and the Shabti dolls were used to work in place of the person that died in the afterlife.
  • Q: When did Pharaoh start making grave goods?
    A: The Pharaoh’s began to prepare for the afterlife right after they were crowned, making sure that they had plenty of grave goods to take with them.
  • Q: What were some items that were put into graves?
    A: Food, drink, furniture, clothing, blankets, pillows, dolls, pictures and more were put into the graves for the afterlife.