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Provisioning the Dead

In ancient Egypt the dead had to be provided for. They had to be fed and housed but also had to eat. They were provided for in a variety of different ways. They could be fed by: 

  • Spells (including Book of the Dead spells) written on papyri, tomb walls or coffins
  • Items with the offering formula written on (mainly stelae)
  • By the living reciting the offering formula for the dead (the Voice Offering)
  • Real food and drink
  • Models or pictures of food and drink 

Some of the food models were made of clay and placed on clay offering trays.

As well as food the dead were also provided with a means to get to the afterlife. In the Middle Kingdom model boats complete with oarsmen were placed in tombs. There is a model boat in display in the case though it is probably that the stern and prow are not genuine. 

Servants were also provided in the form of models. There are several in this case. Model tools, throw sticks and vessels were also put in the tomb.