Ifirst began my research at the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of Natural History. Ancient Egyptian history covers a period of over three thousand years. Most modern countries histories are only hundreds of years old. Only China can come anywhere near this in term of historical continuity. Egyptian culture declined and disappeared nearly two thousand years ago. The last trace of this culture ceased to exist in AD 391 when the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I closed all pagan temples throughout the Roman Empire. It wasn't until Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798 that the marvelous artifacts of the Egyptians were seen in Europe and their ancient culture began to awaken from its long slumber.
Daily life in ancient Egypt flourished around the Nile and the fertile land along its banks. The yearly flooding of the Nile enriched the soil and brought good harvests and wealth to the land. The people of ancient Egypt built mud brick homes in villages and in the country. They grew some of their own food and traded in the villages for the food and goods they could not produce. Most ancient Egyptians worked as farmers, field hands, scribes and craftsmen. There were however a small group of people who were nobles.
The ancient Egyptians thought of Egypt as being divided into two types of land, the ‘black land’ and the ‘red land’. The ‘black land’ was the fertile land on the banks of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians used this land for growing their crops. This was the only land in ancient Egypt that could be farmed because a layer of rich, black silt was deposited there every year after the Nile flooded. The ‘red land’ was the barren desert that protected Egypt on two sides. These deserts separated ancient Egypt from neighboring countries and invading armies. They also provided the ancient Egyptians with a source for precious metals and semi-precious stones.
The ancient Egyptians believed that mummifying a person’s body after…

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