Home History Uncovering the Secrets of Ancient Egyptian Pillows Made of Stone

Uncovering the Secrets of Ancient Egyptian Pillows Made of Stone

The Surprising Use of Stone Pillows in Ancient Egyptian Culture

by Moiz Ali
stone pillows

Ancient Egyptians have fascinated the world since their civilization was first discovered in the late 19th century. However, Egyptian culture is known for its advanced mummification process and artistry. Researchers recently found the fact that Ancient Egyptians used stone pillows. It was an item of comfort when sleeping.

The pillow has a history of being used with Egyptian mummies and tombs. It’s an actual historical fact. The best way to use the pillows made of stone that served as the Ancient Egyptian cushions were to place them beneath the heads of the deceased. The purpose of ancient Egyptian wooden or stone pillows was to:

Prop a corpse’s head, maintain body vitality, and maintain blood circulation. This article provides an overview of Ancient Egyptians’ sleep habits and how they used pillows made of stone. 

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What Were Ancient Egyptian Pillows Made Of?

Ancient Egyptian pillows were not made of the same materials used to make modern-day pillows, such as foam or feathers. Instead, ancient Egyptians used stone as the base material for their pillows. The stones used ranged from calcareous siltstone.

It is a light and airy igneous rock, to limestone, a much denser stone that can form a complex and resilient surface. The stones were believed to provide therapeutic properties, which are thought to have contributed to their comfort while sleeping. 

From 3,000 BC to 30 BC, researchers discovered headrests made of marble, ivory, pottery, stone, wood, and even glass in Egyptian tombs. These headrests were made to keep the head elevated when sleeping. It typically had a flat base with a concave part to support the head on the upper side.

Why Were Pillows Made of Stone Used?

Ancient Egyptian pillows made of stone had a useful purpose. The first is due to the belief that it provides a comfortable surface. Stone pillows also offer several health benefits. Ancient Egyptians attributed curative and therapeutic properties to stones. They believed that a pillow made of a suitable stone could promote healthy circulation and provide comfort while sleeping. Also, stones were considered to absorb negative energy and protect against bad dreams and other evils. 

Headrests would assist prevent insects and vermin from crawling into someone’s mouth, nose, ears, or across their face when beds were placed close to the floor. A stone pillow is starting to seem a little more attractive now! The headrest would also allow air currents to pass underneath the head and cool the sleeper in hot areas. 

Understanding Ancient Egyptians’ Sleep Habits

Stone pillows

Ancient Egyptians reportedly used these pillows for both sleeping and lounging. They were simple in nature and usually rectangular. Evidence suggests that Ancient Egyptians also had wooden bed frames.  However, the function of Egyptian stone pillows went beyond pragmatism. The head needed to be safeguarded since it was considered the seat of spiritual life in ancient Egypt.

Stone headrests were frequently decorated with phallic symbols of protection, such as the god Bes. It was a guardian deity of the sleeping who, by his menacing look, drove out evil. The headrests were also placed beneath the deceased’s head to keep off evil spirits.


Ancient Egyptians used pillows made of stone as part of their sleep and lounging habits. These stone pillows provided comfort and therapeutic benefits for physical and spiritual reasons. This article provided a brief overview of Ancient Egyptians’ use of stone pillows and their sleep habits, giving an insight into a different type of comfort than is found today.

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