This weeks’ ancient history studies found us learning about some amazing people in ancient Egyptian history: King Tutankhamen, otherwise known as King Tut, and Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first female pharoah. The kids were fascinated with them both.
Tutankhamen became a pharoah at the age of seven and ruled until his death at about the age of eighteen. More than three thousand years later, Englishman Howard Clark made one of the most significant archaeological finds in history: the tomb of Tutankhamen, full of treasures and the mummified remains of the pharoah known as the Boy King.
We decided to make our own King Tut masks. The Story of the World Activity Guide has a coloring page of Tut’s mask. I enlarged this on a photocopier by 20% and cut holes out for the eyes. The kids then decorated them and I added a strip of paper around the backs of the boys’ masks so they could fit it over their heads. The Queen Bee wanted a popsicle stick glued to hers so she could just hold it in front of her face.
So what does one do, once they have a King Tut mask? Why, put it on and dance to Steve Martin’s famous rendition of the song by the same name, of course!
It was hard to top that, but we then moved on to Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first female pharaoh. Hatshepsut became pharaoh at a time when women were not accepted in this role. She was frequently depicted as a man in temple images and statues and was known to have worn the false beard of a pharaoh (men did this as well). Among her accomplishments, she built many monuments and restored others in need of repair. There is much more to be learned about Hatshepsut. We really enjoyed the book Hatshepsut: Egypt’s First Female Pharaoh by Pamela Dell. I read excerpts of this to the kids and they enjoyed looking at the pictures. I found this book in the Juvenile section of the library. It is more text than pictures and seems most appropriate for high school students and adults. I enjoyed reading the book and learned a lot, which helped me to answer some of the questions the kids had.
Our second go-along book for the week was Tutankhamun by Demi. This book has the beautiful illustrations that Demi is known for, with rich blues and reds and shiny golds. It tells the story of Tut’s life and legacy in an easy to understand way for children.
Both Tutankhamen and Hatshepsut are such fascinating historical figures that they warrant more in depth study, beyond what The Story of the World text details, even for young children. I am so grateful that we found these supplemental readings at our local library. They truly made our week more interesting.
Another resource for the New Kingdom of Egypt is the Dover Life in Ancient Egypt Coloring Book. It contains images of a New Kingdom banquet and villa as well as a picture of an obelisk being raised for Hatshepsut and her amazing temple. If you are not familiar with the Dover coloring books, they provide detailed drawings, best filled in with colored pencils or very fine-point markers, as well as a paragraph or two of text, explaining each significant event depicted. There are many other scenes of ancient Egyptian life depicted in this book. Often, I will make copies for the kids to color as they listen to me read. We then add them to their history notebooks, sometimes jotting down narration notes that they dictate to me on the back.
The New Kingdom of Egypt corresponds to Chapter 13 in The Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times.