Ancient Egyptian Agriculture Tools

Updated July 20, 2017

The ancient Egyptians made huge technological advances for mankind in a variety of fields, including agricultural practices. Growing crops was such an important part of the Egyptian way of life that the ancient society took the time to depict their practice in hieroglyphics. One technique the ancient Egyptians are widely known for is their use of the Nile River to irrigate their fields and replace nutrients in their soils after every growing season. Once floods replenished the field, the ancient Egyptians would use a variety of tools to grow their crops.

Winnowing Scoops

This was a big wooden scoop with two handles at one end and a half circle on the other that had been flattened on the bottom and then raised on all sides except the front. It looked similar to a modern-day shovel, but was made completely out of wood. explains winnowing was a process to remove the undesirable portion of the plant. The Egyptians used this shovel to move the grain for winnowing.


This was a tool sometimes made completely out of wood. At times, farmers fashioned a heavy metal piece to one end of it to give the wielder more power. The piece fixed to the end of the stick was shaped like wings with sharp edges and corners. They used this tool for a variety of tasks, like mixing up soil, removing stones, chopping up roots from dead crops, and digging.

Flint-Bladed Sickles

This tool was a wooden stick with a sharpened flint blade attached to one end. Workers called reapers cut down the crops, corn in particular, once it was ripe. Then, women and younger slaves would walk along behind the reaper and pick up all the ears.

Flint-Bladed Ploughs

These ploughs had a shorter blade than most other similar technology used at the time, because the soil of the lands the ancient Egyptians used for farming was replenished every growing season by the flooding of the Nile River. This flooding brought a new muddy layer of topsoil to the fields making them so fertile that it was not necessary to use a longer blade to get to soil suitable for planting seeds. Once this new top layer was in place the Egyptians used the flint-blade ploughs to prepare the soil. Sometimes animals pulled the tool through the ground. At other times, people pulled the tool.

Shaduf explains that this tool was a large pole laid across a sturdy beam. The farmer placed a rope and containerat one end of the pole and fixed a counterweight at the other. Using the counterweight's balance, the farmer could get water from the Nile to carry back for the plants.

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About the Author

Emily Holland is a student writer earning a degree in international relations with a minor in Spanish from North Carolina State University. She began writing professionally in 2011, specializing in travel, education, literature and cultural issues. Holland has a certificate in Global Perspective and studied in València, Spain and Antiqua, Guatemala.