Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Previous section
Inside the Ancient Egyptian Home

Ancient Egyptian Building Materials

Wall Plaster

The painted wall plaster in the photograph below came from the walls of a tomb. We can't be sure what was actually painted on it because it is a very small piece.


Small piece of whitewashed plaster with fragments of a painted design on it.
Wall Plaster from inside an Egyptian Tomb

The richer and more important the person had been during their life, the larger and more decorative the paintings would be. Sometimes they were used to tell of the person's achievements in their life or offer prayers to the gods.


Mud and Straw Brick

In ancient Egypt people used mud and straw to make bricks for their houses. The straw was added to the mud to make the brick stronger. They were placed in a mould to give them an oblong shape, which is easier to build with. This material helps to keep the houses cool when it is hot and warm when it is cool. 

Small lump of hardened mud and straw in a rough rectangle shape but with very rounded corners
Mud and Straw Egyptian Brick

In some parts of the world people still build their houses with these materials today because they are cheap and easy to find.

In the video below, Emily asks the question: What were ancient Egyptian Houses Like? and examines related artefacts from Leeds Museums & Galleries collection.


Discussion Ideas

  • What material is your house built of? 
  • What do you think the rest of the wall plaster picture would have looked like?



Achievements - good things someone has done
Decoration - adding some kind of  artwork to make something look good
Mould - container used to give something a shape
Tomb - a space or cave used to bury a dead person