In 1920, an American scientist was exploring, a tomb near the site of the ancient city of Thebes.
This tomb was the resting place of a nobleman named Meket-Re, who lived and died around the year 2000 B.C. Meket-Re’s tomb had long since been looted by robbers. But the American scientist found one chamber that had been untouched for close to 4,000 years. And what did he find inside the nobleman’s tomb? Toys!
The ancient Egyptians believed that after death, a nobleman would live on inside his tomb. To prepare for a long afterlife, Meket-Re had arranged to fill his tomb with food and all the other things a living person might need. He’d also had craftsmen make a collection of toy servants, carved from wood, that would serve the nobleman in his next life!
The “toys” of Meket-Re include dozens of these little wooden men. There are also models of Meket-Re himself, for the Egyptians believed that a man could enter the model of himself after death.
These wooden figures had been placed in small model structures much like modern dollhouses. There was a model butcher shop and stable, complete with cattle, a granary where men poured grain and scribes counted the supplies, a bakery, a brewery, a carpenter’s shop, and a garden with a pond.
There were also about a dozen model boats and a group of fishermen in canoes filled with tiny model fish. There was a weaver’s shop where the weavers worked with threads that, even after 4,000 years, were found intact when the chamber was reopened!
Some of the toys of Meket-Re are now in a museum in Cairo, but others were brought to the United States and can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.