Ancient Egypt for Teachers Home
Art Language Arts Math and Science Mummies Social Studies
Write Your Name in Hieroglyphs
From the collection of the DIA:
  • Aliki. Mummies Made in Egypt. New York: Harper Collins, 1979.
    Information on mummies was realistic and interesting.
  • Browder, Atlantis Tye. Institute of Karmic Guidance.
    Good elementary reader.
  • Donnelly, Judy. Tutīs Mummy: Lost and Found. New York: Random House.
    Good elementary reader for students to read themselves.
  • Lumpkin, Beatrice. Senefer. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1992.
    Good way of extending study of symbol systems from hieroglyphs to math symbols.
  • Roehrig, Catharine. Fun With Hieroglyphs. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art and Viking, 1990.
    Good to use stamp kit.
  • Hieroglyph It! Barronīs Educational Services.
    Stencils and stickers.
  • Nile: River of Gods. Discovery Channel. 100 minutes
    Interesting background information to launch the theme.
Note: We were able to obtain many of these resources by working with local bookstores, including:
Borders, Book Beat in Oak Park and the Shrine of the Black Madonna in Detroit.

Teacher stores are another source, including: The School House in Detroit, The Knowledge Nook in St. Clair Shores, and The Learning Tree in Novi.

Students will read and discuss background information on ancient Egyptian scribes and writing (see resources below). We discuss how scribes in ancient Egypt were men who had been trained to read and write, calculate and keep records. Scribes were on a higher level in society than craftsmen and artists. They took great pride in the fact that they did not do manual labor. The profession was also the entry point into government and could lead to a personīs advancement.

The ancient Egyptian art of writing developed over more than 3,000 years of continued use. We call this art hieroglyphs after the Greek words hiero for sacred and glyphs for carving. In its earliest form, the writing consisted of simple pictograms meant to record important events. Not every sign or character conveyed a complete thought in and by itself; in fact, the system was based on a combination of different uses of the pictures. Some signs stood for entire ideas, while others were almost alphabetical in function, conveying the idea of one, two, or three sounds put together.
[Click to see a Hieroglyph Chart]

It is those hieroglyphs we used in this lesson. Names are easiest to translate into hieroglyphs since names remain the same, whether they are ancient Egyptian or modern American names. Translating other words directly into hieroglyphs is misleading since the words, grammar, and rules for use are very different between the two languages.

Royal names were enclosed in a cartouche, a round or oval-shape. The cartouche, formed by a tied rope that was seen as endless, had a symbolic meaning of eternal life.

The hieroglyphs are read toward the tied end.

Use this vertical cartouche if you want your name to read from top to bottom.

Use this horizontal cartouche if you want your name to read from left to right.

Use this horizontal cartouche if you want your name to read from right to left.

Note: Hieroglyphs should be "reversed" to face right if you choose this direction.

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