ANCIENT EGYPT

Ancient Egypt turned out to be so much more than just pyramids, pharoahs and mummies! However, we did have a lot of fun with mummmies!

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This really was a fun, quick and easy activity! All you need is a roll of toilet paper and some willing subjects! As you can see, even Teddy got in on the fun!

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My son always goes out to get the post when he hears our postie coming down the road, and on this particular day, he was lying on our lounge table very still as I was carefully wrapping him up. The next day he apologized to the postie for not coming out to get the post and said, "I really am sorry about yesterday, but it was a little difficult to come out as we are studying Egypt, and my mom was mummifying us!" I think we made the posties day!

Mummifying an Apple

This experiment was to demonstrate how they used salt in Ancient Egypt to dry out and preserve the bodies before they wrapped them up. They used a special salt called natron, which was harvested directly as a salt mixture from dry river beds in Ancient Egypt and is made up of sodium carbonate, sodium chloride, sodium sulphate and sodium bicarbonate. The sodium carbonate worked as a drying agent, drawing the water out of the body, while the bicarbonate, when subject to temperature, increased the pH which prevented bacteria growing! For our experiment we used coarse salt.

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We took two pieces of apple and covered them completely in coarse salt. After three days, we took the first one out to see what had happened- there were no brown marks on it and it was quite bendy.

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After two weeks, when we took the second one out, it was really bendy and rubbery, and was also quite well preserved, with no brown marks.

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Making Papyrus

Papyrus is first known to have been used in Ancient Egypt. It is a thick paper-like material made from the pith of the papyrus plant.

All you need for this activity are two cucumbers. We only had a half in the fridge, hence the small piece of papyrus, but we will do this again when we do have more cucumbers in the fridge!

Peel the cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers into thin strips, we used a potato peeler to get the strips evenly thin. Put them in the microwave for two minutes on a medium setting, then take them out, turn them over and microwave for another two minutes. I would highly recommend that an adult does this, as the cucumber gets really hot. Then leave them to cool down before you use them.

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Place them on a tea towel, first horizontally and then overlay them vertically, overlapping as you go.

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Place another tea towel on top and use a rolling pin to gently flatten the cucumber pieces.

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Place another dish towel over that to absorb the moisture and then a piece of thick cardboard (eg. from a pizza box). Place heavy books on top of that. The cardboard prevents the books from damaging. Leave it like that for about 24 hours. Lift the tea towel gently, and place a fresh, dry one over the cucumber. Turn the whole lot over gently and then peel off the other side, taking care not to tear it. Repeat this for about 3 days until you think it is dry enough. Once it is dry, you can write on it!

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Our Favourite Resources

Temple Cat is a beautifully illustrated book about the life of a temple cat in the anient city of Neba. The pictures bring to life many aspects of this ancient culture. Delightful story.

If you live in Australia click here.




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