The Atkinson Ancient Egypt
The Atkinson in Southport is offering local people the chance to a journey back to ancient Egypt
Focussing on a collection not seen for over 40 years, their stunning Egyptology Gallery takes visitors on a journey through what life was like in ancient Egypt at the time of the Pharaohs.
The gallery is split into four themes of ritual, everyday life, beauty and communication. Within each of these themes there is a host of objects that give a sense of what life as an ancient Egypt would have been like.
Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 10am -4pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm
I would urge you to go and see this fascinating collection, right on our own doorstep and to whet your appetite; here are some interesting facts about life in Ancient Egypt.
Egyptian women had equal rights with men
In Egypt, men and women of equivalent social status were treated as equals in the eyes of the law. This meant that women could own, earn, buy, sell and inherit property. They could live unprotected by male guardians and, if widowed or divorced, could raise their own children. In fact on at least three occasions women took the throne of Egypt, ruling in their own right as female “kings”.
Egyptians were the first people to use a form of penicillin
They used mouldy bread to help with infections.
The Great Pyramid was not built by slaves
Archaeological evidence indicates that the Great Pyramid was in fact built by a workforce of 5,000 permanent, salaried employees and up to 20,000 temporary workers.
But what was life like for older people in Egypt?
Ann E M Liljas of University College London tells us that people in ancient Egypt did not grow very old. Very high infant death rates due to high risks of infections resulted in an average age at death of 19 years, for example King Tutankhamun died at the age of about 18 years. However those who survived childhood had a life expectancy of 30 years for women and 34 years for men.
In ancient Egypt elders were defined as older adults who were no longer able to contribute labour. Egyptian writings indicate a social norm of respecting older people and older adults were seen as venerable advisers but there was no special position in society for the elderly.
Although estimated life expectancy was just over 30 years, it’s hard to say whether a 30-year-old person in ancient Egypt had wrinkles similar to many older people today. However we do know that ancient Egyptians were as concerned about their appearance as we are. Youthfulness was the idealised norm, representing eternity. This is the reason nearly all persons are depicted as young adults and could explain why there is little art showing older adults.
Ancient Egyptian manuscripts for good health include recommendations such as remove grey hairs and cosmetic prescriptions for face and skin and both Egyptian men and women wore makeup. It was thought to have healing powers, plus it helped protect their skin from the sun.