Map of Ancient Egypt

This map of ancient Egypt details the key settlements of the Ancient Egyptian civilization. Also shown are many of the important Ancient Egyptian sites and temples that remain today. The various capitals of the period are highlighted on the map in addition to the locations of the natural resources and minerals exploited by the Ancient Egyptians.

The importance of the Nile, specifically the fertility that it brings to the land through which it passes, is also a key feature of this map. To add further interest to the map, a papyrus texture has been incorporated into the map’s coloring scheme.

Map of Ancient Egypt - Sites and Settlements
Map of Ancient Egypt – Sites and Settlements

In addition to the main map, a number of smaller inset maps detail some of the key sites of Ancient Egypt. Plans of the temples at Karnak and Luxor are included along with maps of the Pyramids at Giza and the necropolis at Abusir.

This map is available to purchase in print form, ideal for direct display or framing. This print is also suitable for classroom display or for use at home by children who are learning about Ancient Egypt.

Ancient Egypt Map: Sites and Settlements of the Dynastic Period, by Merritt Cartographic

Data from the following sources were used in the compilation of this map: Blue Marble: Next Generation: NASA’s Earth Observatory; Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM): NASA/NGA; VMap0: National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA).

Maps in Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt, maps were not as developed or commonly used as they are in modern times. However, the ancient Egyptians did have a basic understanding of geography and utilized certain visual representations to depict their surroundings. These representations were not as detailed or accurate as modern maps but served specific purposes.

One type of map-like representation used in ancient Egypt was called a “topographical list” or “descriptive list.” These lists documented important landmarks, cities, temples, and natural features along with their distances and directions from one another. They were often inscribed on temple walls or tomb reliefs and served as guides for religious or funerary processions.

Another form of representation was the “land register” or “estate map.” These maps depicted agricultural lands, indicating boundaries, fields, canals, and other relevant features. They were primarily used for administrative purposes, such as taxation and land management.

Ancient map of Egypt with names of towns and nomes in hieroglyphs.
Ancient map of Egypt with names of towns and nomes in hieroglyphs
by Jeff Dahl

What is the oldest Egyptian map?

The Turin papyrus – an ancient Egyptian mining map, it is drawn on a 9 foot by 1.3 foot long, dated to 1150 BC, and was prepared for an expedition to the Wadi Hammamat in the Eastern Desert led by king Ramesses IV, searching for blocks of bekhen-stone to be carved into statues of the god-king. It’s a unique document, because it is the only known topographic and geologic map of ancient Egypt.

It is reportedly discovered at Deir el-Medina in Thebes, collected by Bernardino Drovetti in Egypt sometime before 1824 AD and now preserved in Egyptian Museum of Turin (Museo Egizio).