Ancient Egyptian homes were constructed to take advantage of the materials that surrounded villages, towns and cities. Over the years the material for ancient Egyptian homes changed.
There was not much wood along the banks of the Nile River. They needed to use other types of materials that were readily available.
Some of the first houses built in ancient Egyptian to be found are from the pre-dynastic period of the Stone Age about 6,000 B.C.E.
The first homes built in ancient Egyptian were a combination of mud, papyrus and tiny sticks of wood.
The ancient Egyptians would first weave the papyrus and sticks into a shape and cover with mud. This method of construction is called wattle and daub.
Ancient Egyptians soon found out that this type of construction method did not withstand floods or rain. The wattle and daube style homes had to be rebuilt after only a few years of being lived in by families.
Ancient Egyptians realized the best material to use when building homes was mud bricks. Ancient Egyptians invented a wooden form shaped like a brick.
Children, servants and slaves would collect the mud from the banks of the Nile River and mix it with straw. The mud mixture was then poured into the wooden molds.
The molds would then be placed in the sun to dry. Very few ancient Egyptians used an oven to dry their mud bricks because of the scarcity of wood. The sun baked mud bricks were then stacked to form walls as well as the roof. Wood was only used to support the roof, windows and doors.
Rich ancient Egyptian families built their homes with sun baked mud bricks. They would also use limestone or another type of rock on the outside.
The use of stone was symbol of wealth. The stone also shined in the sun of the desert. These types of ancient Egyptian homes were very sturdy against the rain and flooding.
Ancient Egyptian homes were constructed to help reduce the heat of the desert as well as sand from entering into the home. Ancient Egyptian homes depended on the family’s class status.
Poorer families lived in small one-bedroom homes. Sometimes many poor families lived in one house in very cramped living conditions.
The homes had one window which sometimes had bars to keep wild animals from entering.
There was generally an open-air courtyard enclosed by another wall of sun baked bricks. Here the family would cook their meals and there was a small garden for vegetables.
Ancient Egyptian homes were built to withstand the heat and blowing sand of the desert area. The front door on many ancient Egyptian homes was four feet off the ground.
There would be a ramp for people to climb when entering the home. The roof was flat on ancient Egyptian homes. This allowed families to sleep or relax on the roof in the evening without the intense heat of the desert.
The inside of a poorer ancient Egyptian home was covered with woven mats of grass. There was no running water.
Family members gathered water at the Nile River or at the local town well. Ancient Egyptian homes of the poor did not have bathrooms. People were forced to dig a hole, use a chamber pot or go to the Nile River.
Rich ancient Egyptian homes were very large and built of sun baked mud bricks as well as stone. These homes had as many as 30 rooms including bathrooms but no running water.
Rich ancient Egyptian homes were built for entertaining, large sleeping quarters, play areas and some of the rooms were used to store food jars. They also cooked within a courtyard to help against the heat.
The inside of rich ancient Egyptians home was decorated with bright colorful paintings on the wall. The paintings might be a nature scene or a pattern associated with the family.
Stone was used for the floor. Carpets made of linen would then be placed on the floors for comfort. Rich ancient Egyptians also had the comfort of bedding made of linen and other comfortable materials.