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Old Kingdom

The Old Kingdom, also known as the Age of the Pyramids, covers the time period from the end of the 3rd Dynasty around 2686 BC to the end of the 6th Dynasty around 2181 BC. It was a time of great political stability, artistic and cultural development, and monumental construction projects that left a lasting legacy on human history.

During the Old Kingdom period, the pharaohs of Egypt enjoyed unprecedented power and wealth, and the country's economy thrived under their rule. The pharaohs oversaw the construction of many of the most iconic structures of Ancient Egypt, including the Great Pyramids of Giza, which remain some of the most impressive architectural achievements in human history.

The Old Kingdom was also a time of great artistic and cultural development. The Egyptians refined their system of writing, developed a sophisticated religious and funerary belief system, and produced many of the most famous works of art and literature from the Ancient World.

In this section, we will explore the key events and developments of Egypt's Old Kingdom period, including the reigns of some of its most famous pharaohs, such as Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure.

The curious structure has been found in Giza’s prestigious Western Cemetery, in the shadow of the Great Pyramids. Source: Motoyuki Sato et al / Archaeological Prospection.

Curious L-Shaped Structure Found near Giza Pyramids is 4,500-Years-Old

An international team of archaeologists has stumbled upon a mysterious L-shaped structure buried within a cemetery adjacent to the Great Pyramid of Khufu in Giza. The structure is 4,500 years and...
Left; part of one of the murals, Right; Entrance to the mastaba. Source: Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities

Mastaba With Stunning Murals Unearthed in Dahshur Necropolis

In the shadow of the ancient pyramids of Dahshur, a remarkable discovery has once again highlighted Egypt's enduring legacy as a cradle of human civilization. Thanks to the diligent efforts of a...
The False Door in the Old Kingdom tomb. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Smithsonian Channel.

Uncovering an Egyptian Tomb’s "False Door" to the Underworld (Video)

The recent discovery of an ancient tomb from the Old Kingdom era has ignited excitement among archaeologists. This remarkable find predates many other historical artifacts by around two millennia,...
Archaeologists have discovered hundreds of ancient wine jars in Queen Merneith’s tomb. Source: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

5,000-Year-Old Wine Jars Unearthed at Queen Merneith's Tomb

An important discovery at Umm Al-Qaab in Abydos, promises to add to the story of Queen Merneith, an Egyptian consort and regent, who could have also been the first or second queen of Egypt. A joint...
View of the Sahure pyramid from the outside at Abusir, Egypt. Right; Dr. Mohamed Khaled, project leader, during the excavations in the Sahure pyramid.           Source: Mohamed Khaled / Uni Würzburg, Sailingstone Travel/Adobe Stock

Eight New Chambers Revealed at the Sahure Pyramid

Described as a ‘very significant’ find, eight rooms, that probably accommodated royal grave goods, have been uncovered in the Pyramid of Sahure in Abusir, Giza. These chambers, obscured from the...
A view of the The Dahshur necropolis in Egypt, from the Saqqara necropolis.  Source: Blumesser/Adobe Stock

Exposing Egypt's Military Zone Protected Dahshur Necropolis

The cult of death played a crucial role in the history of ancient Egypt - they believed that their souls would continue to exist in the afterlife after they died. The concept of the afterlife was...
Bottom, a Hetepheres bracelet in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MFA 47.1700. Top, an electrotype reproduction made in 1947, MFA 52.1837 (Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition)		Source: © April 2023 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/ Journal of Archaeological Science

Stunning Silver Bracelet of Egyptian Queen Hetepheres Reveals Trade Secrets

In a remarkable revelation from a recent study, ancient Egypt has once again defied expectations, showcasing its globalized nature even in the early Bronze Age. The study, centered around a...
Representation of ancient Egyptian military unit going to battle.        Source: Acrogame / Adobe Stock

Ancient Egyptian Military: Fiercest Fighting Force of the Ancient World

One of the key reasons that the study of history is vital is to ensure we learn from our past mistakes in order to improve. While this is true in all aspects of life, it is especially true for...
These images represent just a few of the spectacular finds beneath an ancient district of Cairo, Egypt, which included first-of-its-kind evidence of King Khufu from roughly 4,500 years ago! Source: Ministry of Antiquities

“First of Its Kind” 2600-BC King Khufu Evidence Found In Cairo!

Artifacts belonging to the era of King Khufu (also known as Cheops), who ruled sometime in the 26th century BC or nearly 4,500 years ago, have been discovered in Cairo’s Ayn-Shams neighborhood by the...
Artist’s photograph of Isaiah, 2014, as part of the photography series ‘Preservation’.  © Blake Little 2018. Photo prints can be purchased on the Blake Little website.

Egyptian Pharoah Pepi II Coated His Slaves in Honey to Use as Fly Traps

Pepi II was an Egyptian pharaoh of the Old Kingdom who succeeded to the throne at the tender age of six. Perhaps it was this privileged upbringing which ultimately resulted in him being one of Egypt’...
The tomb of Egyptian nobleman Khuwy, where evidence showed that advanced mummification process knowledge existed 1,000 years earlier than previously thought. 					Source: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

New Research Rewrites History of Egyptian Mummification Process!

There is new research to show that the ancient Egyptians started using their complex mummification process a good 1000 years before previously believed. This startling revelation will be made in...
The Solar Boat of Khufu. Source: Ovedc / CC BY-SA 4.0.

4,600-Year-Old Egyptian Solar Boat is Paraded to New Gaza Museum

Designed after the life-sustaining daily cycle of the Sun, the famous “Solar Boat” is one of ancient Egypt’s most iconic depictions of how this culture viewed the afterlife. Now, the famous divine...
Temple of Edfu passage with glowing walls of Egyptian hieroglyphs on either side.	Source: Konstantin / AdobeStock

Decrypting the Temple of Edfu and the Edfu Texts

Edfu city is located between Luxor and Aswan in the southern area of Egypt. The city, which is situated on the west bank of the Nile , is world famous for its temple, which was built during the...
Trade in Ancient Egypt portrayed in ‘Israel in Egypt’ by Edward Poynter  Source: Edward Poynter / Public Domain

The Vagaries of Trade in Ancient Egypt

Along with a lust for building enigmatic and long lasting structures, trade was an important feature of Ancient Egypt . The ancient Egyptians traded with many lands that bordered their country,...
The Old Kingdom, or more appropriately the ‘Age of the Pyramids’, was the first period the ancient Egyptians announced themselves as a colossal civilization. Pictured: ancient Egyptian corridor with hieroglyphs on the wall.       Source: boscorelli / Adobe stock

The Old Kingdom of Egypt – Dynasties That Changed the World

The Old Kingdom is the name given to the period in ancient Egyptian history that spans from the 27th to the 22nd century BC. This period begins with the Third Dynasty, and ends with the Sixth Dynasty...
Pre-dynastic burial ground found in Egypt.    Source: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

Huge Predynastic Burial Ground Found in Egypt

In the north of Egypt, a major burial ground with 83 graves has been uncovered by archaeologists. The majority of the graves date back to the era before it was a unified kingdom ruled by the pharaohs...
The claim that Merit Ptah is the first known female physician has been called into question.    Source: Freesurf / Adobe Stock

Earliest Known Female Physician Likely Never Existed

Merit Ptah is often called the first woman doctor. Now, a researcher calls it a case of mistaken identity. For decades, an ancient Egyptian known as Merit Ptah has been celebrated as the first female...
The hidden pyramid for Pharaoh Userkare may be in Saqqara, home to Djoser’s famous step pyramid. Source: Juan Aunión /Adobe Stock

An Astonishing Revelation in Saqqara – A Hidden Pyramid!

An archaeologist with 30 years of experience working in Egypt has made an astonishing announcement. He believes that he has found evidence that there are traces of a hidden pyramid buried beneath the...
The Bent Pyramid at Dahshur necropolis is being reopened to the public.

Sneferu’s Distinctive Bent Pyramid Opened to the Public

In Egypt, the Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany has announced that two pyramids are being opened to the public for the first time since 1965. Soon visitors can once again get up close to the...
Detail of one of the decorated sarcophagi found in the recently excavated cemetery on the Giza Plateau

4,500-Year-Old Double Tomb for Pharaoh Purifiers Revealed On Giza Plateau

The Giza Plateau is the famous home of the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx . But it is also the location of a workers’ village, industrial complex, and several cemeteries. Countless discoveries have...
The remains of a sarcophagus containing mummified cats. Credit: Ministry of Antiquities

Egyptian Tomb Yields Sarcophagi Filled with Mummified Cats and Beetles Plus Sealed Door Yet to be Opened

Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed a fascinating tomb complex with rare finds in Saqqara. Within the complex they found dozens of mummified cats and an extremely rare collection of mummified...
The magnificent Boat of Khufu, Solar Boat Museum, Giza

The Great Boat of Khufu: The ‘Black Box’ to the Construction of the Pyramids

Perhaps this is not the first time that the reader will have heard of how in 1954 the Great Boat of Khufu was discovered, practically intact, at the southern face of the Kheops Pyramid, and how it is...
The excavation site at Tell Edfu (with the temple of Horus and the modern town of Edfu in the background).

Archaeologists get a Glimpse of Everyday Life in an Ancient Egyptian Royal Outpost

Hieroglyphic sealings, mudbrick buildings, storage containers, and small pieces of copper provide archaeologists with a glimpse into life in a Nile Valley settlement during the Old Kingdom of ancient...
The newly-discovered pyramidion.

4,000-Year-Old Pyramid Peak Discovered at Long-Lost Burial Site of 6th Dynasty Egyptian Queen

The peak of a pyramid, dating back to around 2,000 BC, has been unearthed at the long-lost burial site of Ankhnespepy II, an important Egyptian queen of the 6 th dynasty. The rest of the pyramid is...