Hanging with Tutankhamun Scarsdale Middle school students learn about all things egypt

Scarsdale Middle School's Butler 6 students got an up-close and personal look last week at ancient Egypt, its artifacts, and the hieroglyphics they used, when Marisa Horowitz-Jaffe, founder and educator of Museums with Marisa, introduced the students to the fascinating history of ancient Egypt, along with words like cartouche, polytheism, and sarcophagus.

Ms. Horowitz-Jaffe, who has worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum, set up a display table of artifacts, including jewelry likely worn by those in the ancient Egypt civilization, statues, and all kinds of everyday objects. In a presentation about the ancient Egyptians, she explained that they were polytheists (those who believe in many gods), and also believed strongly in an elaborate afterlife. For that reason, it was important for the deceased to "take" objects with them when they died. "In your tomb, you needed everything with you," she said.

Most tombs (the Egyption word for tomb is sarcophagus, plural sarcaphogi), she said, were adorned with a cartouche, an oval containing the deceased's name, so that wandering souls could return to their tombs at night. Students also learned that ancient Egypt became the great civilization it was because it was situated near the fertile Nile River. Ms. Horowitz-Jaffe showed photographs of the Great Sphinx, the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the Pyramids of Giza, and the Valley of the Kings.

Using a tracing guide of the ancient Egyptian alphabet, hieroglyphics, students used parchment paper to write their names in the ancient symbols. Students also enjoyed posing in a life-size cutout of King Tut.

Photos by Susan Rossi

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