Scribal Snacks Cook-Along
October 16, 2021, is International Archaeology Day, and to celebrate, the Kelsey has produced its second cooking demonstration. Scribal Snacks offers a tasty exploration of two of the world’s oldest writing systems—Egyptian hieroglyphs and Mesopotamian cuneiform. Watch the video below to cook along with Kelsey Museum Community and Youth Educator Mallory Genauer as she creates sugar cookie ushabtis and cuneiform lentil tablets.
Download the materials list and recipes here.
Download the Alphabet to Hieroglyphs and Alphabet to Cuneiform conversion charts to guide you as you write your name or initials on your ushabtis and cuneiform lentils.
Have fun creating your Scribal Snacks! We'd love it if you shared photos of your cookie creations with the tag #EatYourWords.
Choose Your Own Adventure Story Cubes
All good stories have some essential bits of information. Characters, places, and objects make up the core of almost every story. In this activity, create your own stories using story cubes for inspiration.
- Download and print one copy each of the People, Places, and Objects story cubes. We recommend using cardstock if you have it.
- Follow the instructions for folding and securing the cubes.
- Roll each of the story cubes once.
- Create a story that takes place in the location on the Places cube, with the main character on the People cube, and includes the object on the Objects cube. Roll again and again for more story combinations!
Ancient Graffiti: Paper Temples and Pyramids
Pyramids are one of the most iconic symbols of ancient Egypt, but did you know that there are also pyramids in Kush, ancient Egypt’s southern neighbor? One difference between the Egyptian and Kushite pyramids was that the pyramids of Kush had much steeper sides.
Kelsey archaeologists have spent years excavating at the site of El-Kurru, Sudan, where several kings and queens of ancient Kush are buried. In addition to pyramids and an underground funerary temple, the archaeologists also found hundreds of remarkable ancient graffiti carved into the walls of the ancient monuments. They believe these graffiti were made by pilgrims who visited the site and wanted to leave mementos of their journey. The many drawings of boats, animals, sandals, and what look like textiles seem to say, “These are the things we saw on our travels to this place.” If you took a journey and wanted to tell people about it using pictures, what would you draw?
- Download and print a copy of the paper pyramid and temple. We recommend using cardstock if you have it.
- Tell a story by drawing graffiti on the walls of the pyramid and the columns and walls inside the temple.
- Follow the instructions to cut, fold, and secure the paper pyramid and temple.
DIY Protective Amulets
In ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, people wore amulets as protection from and treatment for various illnesses. Here we see two amulets from Egypt. The first depicts the lion-headed serpent demon Chnoubis, who protected against stomach ailments. Chnoubis amulets were often inscribed with some version of the word pepte (“digest”); this one bears the epithet “Chnoubis Naabis Bienyth, shatterer of Giants, crusher of snakes.” The second amulet depicts a man bending to cut wheat in a field. It looks like painful work. On the reverse are the words, “For the back.” So these two amulets are ancient Pepto Bismol and aspirin.
DIY Votive Offerings
If you were an ancient Roman who was sick or hurt, one option was to go to the temple of a healing god and buy a terracotta version of the body part that was ailing you. For example, if you had pink eye, you would buy a terracotta eye. If you had an infected cut on your leg, you would buy a leg. You would then give this clay representation as a votive offering to the god and spend the night in the temple. The god would visit you in your dreams and tell you how to heal your sickness. This might include more sacrifices, or a visit to the local medical practitioner for some healing salve.