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Topic - History and Geography - Ancient Egypt

History and Geography


Ancient Egypt lesson 2...Mapping Ancient Egypt


This week we will be looking at various maps to explain where Ancient Egypt was located and label a blank map; describe Ancient Egypt as being part of the Fertile Crescent (Cradle of Civilisation); describe the terrain and climate of Egypt.


Travel back in time to Ancient Egypt around 3000BC. The first thing to establish is where Ancient Egypt was. Using a globe &/or a world map, establish where Egypt is today (or use world map in Session 1 resources).


Egypt is about 3,500 kilometres from Britain in North Africa. The Ancient Egyptians controlled a similar area with their civilisation based along the Nile. The Ancient Egyptian civilisation (once the two kingdoms of Upper Egypt & Lower Egypt were united by King Narmer, who had been king of Upper Egypt alone) is divided by historians into three main periods (when the greatest achievements occurred): Old Kingdom (about 2686-2181 BCE), Middle Kingdom (about 2055-1650 BCE) & New Kingdom (about 1550-1069 BCE) – when the area controlled by Egypt was at its largest (see map in session resources).


Ancient Egypt was part of the so-called ‘Fertile Crescent’, which also includes the area where the Ancient Sumer civilisation was located (Mesopotamia) – map in session resources. Note the important rivers that provided the water for this fertile region – the Rivers Nile, Tigris & Euphrates. The region was/is surrounded by arid & semi-arid (very dry) land. Show children a map of the same region today (session resources) to see that the Fertile Crescent encompasses modern Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Kuwait & Jordan (plus small parts of Turkey & Iran). Sometimes Cyprus is included too.


This region is also sometimes referred to as ‘the cradle of civilisation’ because some of the earliest civilisations developed there & amazing achievements were made including inventions such as writing, glass, the wheel & irrigation techniques (not necessarily first nor uniquely).


Look at a physical geographic map of Egypt (session resources) & establish that most of Egypt is desert of sand & rock.


Mapping Task

Give children a blank map of Ancient Egypt (session resources) & its surroundings & ask them to locate, mark (when appropriate) & label the following: Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Dead Sea, River Nile (plus White Nile & Blue Nile), Jordan River, Euphrates River, Tigris River, Alexandria, Giza, Memphis, Thebes, Aswan High Dam, Khartoum, Palestine, Syria, Sumer civilisation, Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt, Western Desert & Syrian Desert.


Explain that we will talk about many of these places in more detail later in the Topic. Children can use atlases, online maps & information books (& maps in session resources) to help with identification. They should include a key (in the box), e.g. colour the seas blue & include a blue square in the key to show water. Children should also mark Ancient Egypt on their world map with Britain already highlighted (begun in Session 1).


Extra task

Visit the British Museum Ancient Egypt website to find out more – can you fins some new learning on there and even complete one of their tasks?


We will be hitting the following objectives during this lesson...



  • Gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘civilisation’.
  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations.
  • Characteristic features of past non-European societies.


  • Locate the world’s countries, using maps and focussing on their environmental regions and key physical characteristics.
  • Use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features.
  • Describe and understand key aspects of physical and human geography.