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Ancient Egypt

Fishing and hunting on the Nile

FishingFishing The waters of the Nile were constantly crowded with small fishing boats. These boats were mostly roughly constructed from bundles of reeds strapped tightly together. Fishermen trapped large numbers of fish at a time by slinging a net between their boats. Fish could also be caught by casting hand-held nets, or simply by spearing them in the shallows. Hunting was a popular pastime, and for most ordinary Egyptians, the waters of the Nile were their hunting grounds.



Birdcatching was important to poorer people who could not afford meat. Catching the wild birds was a real skill. Men threw curved sticks to stun a bird in flight with a careful aim and powerful throw. Luring flocks of birds to fly into nets strung between two posts, or firing small stones at them from a sling, were other effective methods.


Harpooning a hippoHarpooning a hippo

Big game

Water birds were the most popular game. But more daring hunters chose to hunt crocodiles and hippopotamuses. These dangerous animals could endanger small boats on the river and threaten cattle, so hunting them was a necessity as well as a sport. The male hippo, a peaceful animal unless disturbed, was regarded with particular dread. Hunters armed themselves with spears, harpoons and ropes with sharp hooks attached. Risking their lives, they harpooned the animals, then dragged them ashore with ropes and nets.

The pharaoh hunting lionsThe pharaoh hunting lions

The pharaohs and other Egyptian noblemen took to their chariots in enthusiastic pursuit of gazelles, lions or elephants.

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