The Achievements of Ancient Egypt

Pyramids of Giza Main

The ancient Egyptians were a highly successful civilization. Their inventions are legendary! Some of the highlights are the great pyramids, mummification, surgical instruments, the calendar, toothpaste, breath mints, clocks, irrigation devices, hieroglyphics, paper, ink, makeup — the list goes on and on!

The Pyramids

The pyramids are perhaps the most famous of all ancient Egyptian achievements. These massive structures were built as tombs for pharaohs and their consorts (spouses), and they remain some of the most impressive architectural feats in history.

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest and best-preserved of the pyramids, and it is thought to have been constructed around 2560 BCE.


Mummification was another significant achievement of the ancient Egyptians. This process was used to preserve the bodies of the deceased for burial, and it resulted in some of the most well-preserved human remains in existence.

Mummification was a complex process that involved removing internal organs, treating the body with natron (a type of salt), and wrapping it in linen. The entire process could take up to 70 days, and it resulted in bodies that were remarkably well-preserved.

Writing System

Hieroglyphics was ancient Egypt’s system of writing. This system used picture symbols to represent words or sounds, and it was used for everything from recording history to sending messages.

Hieroglyphics was a complex and sophisticated system of writing, and it is thought to have been developed around 3200 BCE.

For a long time no one was able to decipher hieroglyphics.  But in the 19th century, a man named Jean-Francois Champollion made a breakthrough.

He realized that some of the hieroglyphics were actually phonetic symbols, which represented sounds instead of words.

Using this knowledge, he was eventually able to decipher the hieroglyphics on the famous Rosetta Stone.


The hieroglyphics were written on the first paper that was made of papyrus. Papyrus is a type of paper that is made from the papyrus plant, which grows in the Nile Delta. The ancient Egyptians discovered that papyrus could be used to make a type of paper, and they began using it for everything from writing letters to making scrolls.


Once the Egyptians had a writing system and papyrus to write on then they needed something to write with.  They invented a type of ink that was made from soot and animal fat.

This ink was used to write on papyrus, and it is thought to be the first type of ink ever invented.


The very first surgeries were performed by ancient Egyptian doctors.  These doctors used sharp tools to cut into the skin, and they did not have any anesthesia. 

What do you think they used instead of anesthesia?   Hint: it is a plant that is still used today.  That’s right, they used opium!

One of the most common surgeries that they performed was circumcision.  It is thought that they believed that this surgery would make men more fertile.


Toothpaste is another invention that is often attributed to the ancient Egyptians. This early toothpaste was made from a combination of ingredients like honey, salt, and baking soda, and it was used to clean teeth and freshen their breath.

The exact origins of toothpaste are unclear, but it is thought that the ancient Egyptians were using this type of paste by around 1600 BCE.

These are just a few of the many achievements of the ancient Egyptians. These people were responsible for some of the most significant inventions and architectural feats in history, and they continue to fascinate people all over the world.

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Teach and Thrive

A Bronx, NY veteran high school social studies teacher who has learned most of what she has learned through trial and error and error and error.... and wants to save others that pain.

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