Journal of Human Evolution | VOL. 1

Food and dietary habits in ancient Egypt

Publication Date May 1, 1972


Abstract With respect to the Old Stone Age, the author mentions the evidence furnished by settlements of the Sebilian culture showing that the food supply was based on hunting, fishing and, particularly, the harvesting of molluscs. Querns indicate that wild gramineae were exploited. Wheat and barley were the main foodstuffs derived from agriculture in the Neolithic age and these were used to make bread and also porridges. In the Pre-dynastic period there are signs that leavened bread and beer were known and it was the custom to parch wheat. The food supply in the Old Kingdom was based on bread, vegetables, fruit, fish and even milk and cheese. The well-known images on the mastabas tell us about wine, beer and bread making, the slaughtering of animals, etc. As for the New Kingdom, useful information on food and drink comes from records regarding the tomb of the dignitary Kha and the village of Deer el Medina, and from the Harris papyrus. Data concerning the rations of soldiers and quarry workers are also considered. The food situation in periods subsequent to the New Kingdom are the subject of a concluding note.


Quarry Workers Food Supply Pre-dynastic Period Food Situation Slaughtering Of Animals Neolithic Age Stone Age Ancient Egypt Dietary Habits Food Habits

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