Decoding Egypt

Decoding Egypt © Kudryashka - fotolia.com

Knowledge and skills

  • Asking questions
  • Enquiry skills
  • Organising
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Storytelling

Take your class back in time and imagine you are amongst the very first archaeologists to come across the key to an ancient world – the Rosetta Stone.

The Ancient Egyptians began to develop a writing system over 5000 years ago, around 3000BC. They used pictures of people, animals and objects to write down their language. This language is called Egyptian hieroglyphics. Hieroglyph means ‘Sacred carving’, as the writing was initially carved into pottery and chiseled out of rock by trained scribes. There are well over 700 hieroglyphic symbols but they only represent consonants. Which means that hieroglyphs might just be a little bit like txt spk!

Archaeologists struggled to decipher hieroglyphs at first as they had no idea where to start as they aren’t necessarily read from left to right, right to left or from top to bottom. Eventually though, they discovered that if the animals or people depicted are facing left then you read from left to right and if they are facing right then you read from right to left.

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