Ancient Egypt Education for Kids
Ancient Egypt is a time and place full of mystery. Scientists continue to make discoveries revealing more about pyramids, tombs, Egyptian artifacts, and even entire civilizations buried there. Artifacts are items found that existed a long time ago that teach us about a specific place. Scientists study these objects to understand it better. Many of these items are then put into museums to be enjoyed and viewed by many curious minds teaching many how Egyptians lived a long time ago.
Pyramids of Egypt
Pyramids are large human-made structures that Egyptians began building as early as 2700 BCE, which was 5,000 years ago. These monuments began and only created during the Old Kingdom, which meant only during the oldest times of Ancient Egypt. Pyramids were pervasive structures that had rooms, halls, courtyards, steps, secret passageways, and even traps that could catch those attempting to rob what was inside.
A pharaoh usually requested the pyramids, so that way, when they died, they could have their tomb placed there. In their culture, they believed that after they died, they would come back in the afterlife and live forever. They wanted a place to protect their bodies and all their material things on earth. Therefore, they would hire hundreds, maybe even thousands, to build these pyramids. Since there were so many people who worked on these oversized tombs, the people would develop a city beside the pyramid, known as a pyramid city.
Because the pharaohs wanted their treasures built in their tombs, some people tried to steal those treasures. The inside had traps inside to catch tomb robbers and acted much like a maze leading to dead ends. If caught, they killed the tomb robber.
Today, we now study the pyramids so we can understand how the Ancient Egyptians lived. We can find what type of clothes they wore, what type of jewelry, what their toys looked like, and even what kind of furniture they had.
Over ninety pyramids still stand in Egypt, usually close to the Nile River, as it was easy to transport materials along the Nile. The pyramids in Giza are some of the most famous; the three main ones belong to three old pharaohs. The largest one was the largest building on earth for 4300 years until the Eiffel tower. It is also the only one still standing.
The Sphinx is a structure that was carved from natural rock. It lies in front of the Giza pyramids and is thought to guard them, symbolizing wisdom and strength. The Sphinx's body is shaped like a lion and has a head of a pharaoh. Lying down, the paws extend far in front, reaching fifty feet or fifteen meters. That is as long as a five story building is high. The entire length of the entire Sphinx is 150 feet or 45 meters. That is half the length of a football field.
For many years until 1905, there was sand covering the entire body, but showing the head. As a result, the head received most of the corrosion over time. The head which is thirty feet high and fifteen feet wide has corroded significantly. The nose itself has corroded completely away. There are stories of how it was destroyed, but it is uncertain whether any of them are true. Due to a splash of paint found underneath the Sphinx's ear, it is believed that at one time it was vibrantly painted, with much more detail than it has today.
There are many mysteries surrounding the Sphinx. Most will remain unknown, yet there are some that are still being researched. Although nothing has been found, it is believed that there are hidden passageways and rooms underneath the Sphinx, just like within the pyramids. The sphinx may even have more cave drawing and treasures that would give us further details about ancient Egypt.
Hieroglyphics in Egypt
Another name for ancient Egyptian drawings is hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics means sacred drawings in Greek, which worked a lot like our alphabet today. Hieroglyphics were used from 3000 BC to 300 AD. When Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, they began using the Greek alphabet. Hieroglyphics looked much like drawings of everyday things. They were often simplified versions of people or animals, to make it easier to draw.
They used these drawings to communicate their thoughts, beliefs, and plans. Many of them meant more than what they appeared. For instance a drawing of a sheep could have stood for the 'sh' sound, whereas a picture of an owl, may have meant 'hoot.' Together, they would read shoot.
Hieroglyphics were used to write on everything from the inside walls of pyramids, to little stones that acted as tablets. The Ancient Egyptians would write everything down, from their views of Egyptian gods, to what food they ate yesterday. Although there is no one today who remembers how to read hieroglyphics, there are scientists who are studying the drawings on many of the old Egyptian artifacts, and have learned a lot about ancient Egypt this way.
Mummies were essentially the Egyptian way of preserving a body after death. It took seventy days to complete, which is more than two months. Because it took a long time, only the wealthiest people could afford to have their remains preserved. The reason many people chose to preserve their body is because they believed that someday they would come back to live in those bodies again. Since they did not want a decomposed body, they would hire people who could preserve it for them. Some even would mummify their cats.
In order to mummify someone, they would need to wash the body, and then remove all the organs except the heart. They left the heart, because they believed that the heart was where someone's intelligence and emotions came from. We now know today, we think with our brains not our hearts.
The body was then filled with stuffing and had a substance put on the body that would absorb all the moisture. Then the body would sit for forty to fifty days until the body was all dry. Then they would fill the body with linen or sawdust. With the same linen, the body would be wrapped, which gave the appearance we often think of when we think of a mummy. Once this was completed, the mummy was placed in a tomb called a sarcophagus. Many of these sarcophaguses are found in pyramids. The outside of the sarcophagus were often decorated very ornately, and sometimes had hieroglyphics on the outside.
From Pyramids, to mummies, we are able to learn a lot about ancient Egypt. The hieroglyphics found on sarcophaguses and inside pyramids help us learn many things we would not know otherwise. For instance, a lot of why we know whose mummy is in what pyramid or tomb is because of hieroglyphics that are either written on the pyramids walls or the sarcophagus themselves. We have also learned a lot about the Sphinx due to hieroglyphics found on the Sphinx itself.
Still there are a lot of mysteries that we don't know. By searching Egyptian land, as well as researching the hieroglyphics found on many of the Egyptian artifacts, we are able to learn even more.
© 2012 Angela Michelle Schultz