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Ancient Egypt Pathfinder
Mrs. Clark, Mr. Fillion, Mrs. Saurman
Marshwood Middle School
In this curriculum resource guide, you should find lots of available resources to provide you with the information you need to find out about daily life in ancient Egypt and the people and events that shaped Egyptian history. You will also find information and tools to help you to recognize the cultural aspects that helped to define the ancient Egyptian civilization, as well as the scientific discoveries that have helped us to understand how the ancient Egyptians lived.
These resources will help students to understand the effects of historical changes on daily life and identify the sequence of major events and people in ancient Egypt as a world civilization to help meet the educational standards of the Maine Learning Results for Middle Grades 5-8 in Social Studies. Additionally, this pathfinder should help students to apply reading, listening, and viewing strategies to informational and fictional texts across all areas of the curriculum and to experience, understand, and appreciate literature and culture as part of the Maine Learning Results in Language Arts for the same grade levels.
Ancient History: Egyptians
The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) offers information and links for those who are interested in learning more about Ancient Egypt. Pyramids and monuments, mummification, gods and beliefs, pharaohs and dynasties, daily life, and hieroglyphs are explored and there are also interactive games for would-be pyramid builders and mummy makers included.
The Ancient Egypt Culture Exhibit
The EMuseum at Minnesota State University, Mankato provides information on Ancient Egypt covering the topics of daily life, art, the military, architecture, hieroglyphs, religion, government, maps, history (including a timeline), and archaeology. The site also features a bibliography and related links.
Information about People, Mythology, Daily Life, Death & Burial, Writing, and Archeology of Ancient Egypt with links to more great websites and books about the subject.
The British Museum, Ancient Egypt
Explore Egyptian Life, Geography, Gods & Goddesses, Mummies, Pharaoh, Pyramids, Temples, Time, Trades, and Writing of Ancient Egypt at the British Museum website.
History and Science for Middle School Kids, Ancient Egypt
Egyptian History, Government, Environment, Religion, Clothing, Food, Science, Economy, People, Writing (hieroglyphs), Games, Art, Architecture (Pyramids), Wars, and timelines from Kidipede.
Ancient Egypt For Kids
Topics of Geography, History, & Government - Daily Life - Deities, Funerals, & Afterlife. Also Ancient Egypt Maps & Timelines, Interactive Games & Activities for Egypt, and more from MrDonn.org
Pyramids -- the Inside Story
A site that details the excavation of the bakery that supplied bread for the workers who built the pyramids. Also, basic information about the pyramids themselves from PBS Online.
Online Activities: Ancient Egypt
Information, activities, and articles about Ancient Egypt from the Royal Ontario Museum
Don’t forget the online resources of Marvel! (Student Research Center, Encyclopedia Brittanica Online School Edition K-12, and Kids Search), KidsClick http://www.kidsclick.org/ , and Librarians’ Internet Index http://lii.org/
Fiction Picture Books
The Winged Cat: A Tale of Ancient Egypt by Deborah Nourse Lattimore (HarperCollins, 1992)
A servant girl and a high priest are both sent to the Netherworld’s Hall of Judgement to determine who is telling the truth about the murder of a sacred cat. The cat’s spirit helps the girl, Merit, to read the signs that unlock the netherworld’s twelve gates.
The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo, illustrated by Ruth Heller (HarperCollins, 1991)
A kind slave girl, Rhodopes, dances for her master and is given a pair of golden slippers. When a falcon takes one of the slippers and drops it in the lap of the Pharaoh, he is determined to find and marry the girl who owns and wears it.
I Am the Mummy Heb-Nefert by Eve Bunting, illustrated by David Christiana (Voyager Books, 2000)
An Egyptian woman’s spirit, hovering over her mummified remains as museum visitors gaze, looks back on the details of her life as the wife of the pharaoh’s brother.
Zekmet, the Stone Carver: A Tale of Ancient Egypt by Mary Stolz, illustrated by Deborah Nourse Lattimore (Harcourt Brace, 1988)
Pharaoh Khafre commands his vizier, Ho-tep, to create another monument for his glory. To help accomplish this, Ho-Tep luckily meets Zekmet, a stone carver, who negotiates his idea and carving of the great Sphinx in exchange for a donkey, a farm, and immortality.
Egyptian Diary: The Journal of Nakht by Richard Platt, illustrated by David Parkins (Candlewick Press, 2005)
The journal entries of Nakht, a scribe in training, describe the daily life and adventures of an Egyptian boy who moves to the city where he and his sister meet Pharaoh Hatshepsut, hunt for hippos, and discover tomb robbers.
Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile by Tomie dePaola (Putnam, 1987)
Bill the crocodile and Pete the bird go on a class trip to the Royal Museum where they
Thwart the theft of the Isis jewel and get a ride on the Nile Queen as a reward.
Croco'nile by Roy Gerrard (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1994)
Written in verse, a brother and sister, Hamut and Nekatu, befriend a crocodile, stowaway on a boat and land in a port where they learn and excel in the arts of sculpting and painting. Valued by the king and queen for their skill, they are kidnapped by villains and taken away by boat. When a flood sinks the boat, the pair are rescued and returned home by their crocodile friend.
Nonfiction Picture Books
Secrets of the Sphinx by James Cross Giblin, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline (Scholastic Press, 2004)
This book discusses the background, origin, and creation of the great Sphinx as well as its slow deterioration by the elements and events of history. Details of Egyptian culture and burial customs are outlined and speculation about the date of the Sphinx’s carving and its relationship to the lost island of Atlantis are mentioned.
Voices of Ancient Egypt by Kay Winters and Barry Moser (National Geographic, 2003)
Written in first-person verse, each double-paged spread describes the various aspects of thirteen different occupations of citizens in Ancient Egypt, including that of scribe, weaver, embalmer, dancer, and bird netter. Further resource materials and historical notes are also provided in the back of the book.
If I Were a Kid in Ancient Egypt by Ken Sheldon, Editor (Cricket Books, 2006) This book describes what it would be like to be a kid in ancient Egypt with details of daily life including food, clothes, play, animals, manners, medicine, and school. Religion, King Tutankhamen and mummies are also discussed.
Egyptology by Dugald Steer (Candlewick Press, 2004) In this interactive pop-out and pull the flap book, readers will join amateur Egyptologist, Emily Sands, as she sets out to find the lost tomb of King Osiris providing facts and information about ancient Egypt in the form of travel journal entries. As they journey through the Valley of Kings and Egyptian museums, readers will also play the Egyptian game of Senet and read hieroglyphs.
Mummies: The Newest, Coolest, Creepiest From Around the World by Shelley Tanaka (Madison Press, 2005)
This book explores the subject of mummies from both modern and ancient times, comparing the different rituals and practices of varying cultures that use the process of mummification to preserve their dead. It also shows how scientists are able to determine how ancient cultures lived from the clues gleaned from mummy discoveries.
Arts and Crafts of Ancient Egypt by Ting Morris, illustrated by Emma Young (Smart Apple Media, 2007)
Activities to create your own amulet, mummy case, and basket, to write your name in hieroglyphs or paint a temple wall –to name just a few- are provided in this step-by-step guide to the handicrafts of ancient Egypt’s culture.
The Mystery of the Hieroglyphs: The Story of the Rosetta Stone and the Race to Decipher Egyptian Hieroglyphs by Carol Donoughue, (Oxford University Press, 1999)
This book explains the excitement of the Rosetta Stone’s discovery how it unlocked so many mysteries of ancient Egypt by providing the key to what had been written in hieroglyphs. The details of Egyptian writing are explored and readers are shown how to read and write hieroglyphs.
Ancient Egyptians had three different writing systems. The oldest, best known, and most difficult to read is called hieroglyphics. The word, which means “sacred carving,” was used by Greeks who saw the script on temple walls and public monuments. The Greeks were somewhat mistaken in their terminology because hieroglyphs were used on gravestones, statues, coffins, vessels, implements, and for all sorts of nonreligious texts—songs, legal documents, and historical inscriptions.
Hieroglyphic writing has two main characteristics: objects are portrayed as ideograms or pictures, and the picture signs have the phonetic, or sound, value of the words represented by the objects. Thus hieroglyphs are not pictures only: they can be spoken, as are words written in an alphabet such as that of English. A written text normally contains three kinds of hieroglyphs: ideograms, which are read as the words they represent; phonograms, which are signs that do not refer to the objects they picture: they simply stand for one or more consonants; and determinatives, which have no phonetic value but help the reader to determine the correct meaning of the text.
Hieroglyphics were established as a writing system by at least 3100 BC. The system remained in use for about 3,500 years. The last known hieroglyphic inscription is dated AD 394. In the earliest period there were about 700 hieroglyphs. In this first stage of writing only the absolutely necessary symbols were invented. In the second stage of development easier readability was achieved by increasing the number of signs and by using determinatives. After the second stage, a period of about 2,000 years during which the system was essentially unaltered, the number of symbols increased to several thousand.
The other two Egyptian writing systems are hieratic and demotic. These are cursive scripts. Like modern handwriting, they are flowing, and the letters of words are joined. Hieratic (from the Greek hieratikos, meaning “priestly”) got its name at a time when it was used only for religious texts. Everyday documents, especially government texts, were written in demotic (from the Greek word demotikos, meaning “for the people”).
Both of these writing forms are based on hieroglyphics. Hieratic script was, like hieroglyphics, in use from about 3100 BC. It was originally written in vertical columns and later in horizontal rows from right to left. After 660 BC demotic script replaced hieratic in most ordinary writing, but hieratic remained in use by priests for several more centuries.
Hieroglyphics were not deciphered until the early 19th century. This was made possible by the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799 by members of Napoleon's expedition to Egypt. This basalt stone, now in the British Museum, contains identical texts in hieroglyphics, demotic, and Greek. A French linguist and historian, Jean-François Champollion, succeeded in translating the Rosetta Stone in 1822.
hieroglyphics. (2007). In Compton's by Britannica. Retrieved August 7, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition through Maine’s Virtual library @ http://school.eb.com.prxy2.ursus.maine.edu/all/comptons/article-9274878?query=hieroglyphics&ct=null
For All Time by Caroline Cooney (Delacorte Press, 2001)
Teenager Annie attempts to travel 100 years back in time to join her fellow time traveler and lost love, Strat, who she thinks is working at an archeological dig in Egypt. Instead, she travels too far back to Egypt in ancient times where she gets stuck in a tomb as a human sacrifice.
Students will identify with the characters of similar age as they immerse themselves in Egyptian culture within two different time frames and be drawn in by the fantasy elements of the book.
Chapter book biography
Rameses II : Pharaoh of the New Kingdom by Susanna Thomas (Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. , 2003) This book details the life of Rameses, who ruled Egypt from 1279 to 1213 B.C. It covers his rise to power, the war with Syria, his family life, and the many monuments that he had built in Egypt.
Readers will gain an understanding of the events and politics of this period in Egyptian history with an outline of the cultural background as well.
Picture book biographies
Tutankhamen's Gift by Robert Sabuda (Atheneum,1994)
With a extensive background of cultural and historical detail, Tutankhamen’s life is outlined in this account which presents a version of his boyhood and rise to power when the pharaoh and then, Tut’s brother Amenhotep IV, dies, leaving the kingdom in his ten year old hands. Tutankhamen rebuilds the temples that were destroyed during his brother’s rule to help give the people a connection to the gods.
Facts and fiction are blended in this well-illustrated book to give readers an understanding of the politics, culture, and everyday life in ancient Egypt and to help them recognize why the boy king was so popular with his people.
Cleopatra by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema (Morrow Junior Books, 1994)
Cleopatra’s life is depicted in this book, including her rule of Egypt from the age of eighteen, her preparations of war against her brother, Ptolemy, to seize the full power of the throne, and her tragic relationships with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. Her attributes as a leader are expressed, painting Cleopatra as a warm and intelligent woman who had a firm grasp of the politics and power of her realm.
This account of Cleopatra’s life and the included bibliography and notes on ancient sources will help to guide readers through the history of this tumultuous period of ancient Egypt and gain an understanding of the impact of Cleopatra’s rule.
It Is Her Love that Gives Me Strength
My sister's love is on the far side.
The river is between our bodies;
The waters are mighty at flood-time,
A crocodile waits in the shallows.
I enter the water and brave the waves,
My heart is strong on the deep;
The crocodile seems like a mouse to me,
The flood as land to my feet.
It is her love that gives me strength,
It makes a water-spell for me;
I gaze at my heart's desire,
As she stands facing me!
My sister has come, my heart exults,
My arms spread out to embrace her;
My heart bounds in its place,
Like the red fish in its pond.
O night, be mine forever,
Now that my queen has come!
From IIIa. A Collection, The Cairo Vase 1266 + 25218
University of California Press. Lichtheim, M. (Translated). (1976). 1-9 Ancient Egyptian Literature—A Book of Readings, Volume II: The New Kingdom. Pp. 182 – 193. Berkeley, California: The Regents of the University of California. Retrieved August 7, 2007 from http://www.humanistictexts.org/egyptlov.htm#My%20Brother%20Torments%20My%20Heart .
The Harper's Song for Inherkhawy
“Dating from about 1160 B.C., this poem was found on the tomb of Inherkhawy, a supervisor of workers at the royal burial ground in the ancient city of Thebes.”
Walker, C.( 2004). Ancient Egyptian love poems reveal a lust for life. National Geographic News. Retrieved August 7, 2007 from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/04/0416_040416_pyramidsongs_2.html
It sits there silent in the sand,
Created by an unknown hand,
Swathed in sculpted mystery,
Time turns into history.
The might Sphinx,
Carved mass of stone,
What do you know?
What have you seen?
Of pharaohs passing with their queens?
Of caravans with silk and gold,
On route to fabled cities, old.
Of battles lost,
And battles won,
As time unfolds beneath the sun.
Who carved your face?
Who traced your eye?
And set you there,
Against the sky?
The might Sphinx,
Carved mass of stone,
Gazing into history,
Holding fast to mystery,
With majestic dignity,
Silent through eternity.
Altman, S., Lechner, S., & Appleoff, S. (2001). Ancient Egypt: Modern Rhymes About Ancient Times. United States: Children’s Press.