Civilisation in ancient Egypt began with the clearance and irrigation of land along the banks of the River Nile, which began in about 6000 BC. By that time, society in the Nile Valley was already engaged in organized agriculture and the construction of large buildings.
At this period, Egyptians in the southwestern corner of Egypt were herding cattle and also constructing large buildings. Mortar was in use by around 4000 BC. The inhabitants of the Nile Valley and delta were self-sufficient and were raising barley and emmer (an early variety of wheat) and stored it in pits lined with reed mats. They raised cattle, goats and pigs and they wove linens and baskets.
Evidence of furniture from the predynastic period is scarce, but samples from First Dynasty tombs indicate an already advanced use of furnishings in the houses of the age.
During the dynastic period, which began in around 3200 BC, Egyptian art developed significantly, and this included furniture design.
Egyptian furniture was primarily constructed using wood, but other materials were sometimes used, such as leather, and pieces were often adorned with gold, silver, ivory and ebony, for decoration. Wood found in Egypt was not suitable for furniture construction, so had to be imported into the country from other places, particularly Phoenicia.
The scarcity of wood necessitated innovation in construction techniques. The use of scarf joints to join two shorter pieces together and form a longer beam was one example of this, as well as construction of veneers in which low quality cheap wood was used as the main building material, with a thin layer of expensive wood on the surface.