Wooden hoe

From Thebes, Egypt
New Kingdom, 1550-1069 BC

An everyday tool

The silt laid down by the inundation of the Nile was ploughed in preparation for sowing crops in October. This was done by means of a wooden plough, pulled by cattle. Where the ground was unusually dense or hard, a hoe was used to break up the clods of earth by hand.

Everyday tools tended to be rather crude and simple, their form changing little over time. Part of the reason for this was that there was little wood in Egypt, so tools had to be made with whatever was available. They also had to be durable and easy to repair.

Wood for large-scale items such as coffins or shrines was sometimes imported from other countries such as Lebanon, famous since ancient times for its huge cedar trees. Envoys were sent from Egypt to negotiate for wood, often in exchange for commodities which were abundant in Egypt, such as grain or linen garments. Such an expedition is described in the Tale of Wenamun, which relates the troubles of the envoy of that name, sent to get wood for the sacred barque of Amun at Thebes.

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More information


M. Stead, Egyptian life (London, The British Museum Press, 1986)


Length: 64.800 cm

Museum number

EA 22863



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