The Amazing Egyptians
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The Egyptians were amazing innovators and discovered and developed most of the arts and sciences that we recognize today. They seem to me to also have been early permaculturists, using each element of nature for many different uses. For example, using a natural gum to make incense, perfume, paint, a protective furniture covering, medicines and cosmetics.
They were also great miners and they uncovered a massive range of raw materials and earth pigments. To decorate the incredible number of buildings, thousands and thousands of workers would paint with materials from all over the known world brought down the Nile by barge. For the homes of the wealthy and places of worship, lapis lazuli and azurite were ground to make blues. Heated lead ore produced many colors from white to red. Greens were made with malachite and chrysoprase and also from the acidic corrosion of copper. Oils, waxes, resins, mastics, eggs, milk, lime and alcohol were used to make a huge variety of paints and finishes. The most common paints were natural earths and milk paints since both were readily available and inexpensive. Apparently around the city of Karnak there were over one million cattle grazing which explains the prevalence of milk paint.
Historical info from “The Natural Paint Book” by Lynn Edwards