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Egyptian Hieroglyphic Writing

This lesson is about Egyptian Hieroglyphic Writing. Ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphs in their writing system. It is called Egyptian hieroglyphic writing. A hieroglyph is similar to a character or letter in an alphabet.


hieroglyphic alphabet

Some of the ancient Egyptian letters (hieroglyphs)


Facts on Egyptian Hieroglyphic Writing


What was papyrus?


Papyrus was a plant grew well in the Nile delta (mouth of the river Nile).


How did Ancient Egyptians use the reeds of papyrus plant?


1)   To make paper

2)   To make ropes

3)   To make sandals

4)   To make baskets


How did Ancient Egyptians make paper from the papyrus plant?


1)   Workers gathered (collected) papyrus.

2)   The outer case of the papyrus was peeled off and the inner core was cut into strips.

3)   Papyrus strips were laid horizontally and vertically to make a page.

4)   Cloth was put on the papyrus and beaten with a mallet (hammer).

5)   The papyrus paper was rubbed smooth with a stone and scribes wrote on papyrus using reed pens.


papyrus paper

Papyrus Paper


Types of writings found on papyrus;


1)   Religious books

2)   Poetry

3)   Stories

4)   Magical spell


Egyptian hieroglyphics written on papyrus paper

Egyptian hieroglyphics written on papyrus paper


The book of the dead


What was ‘the book of the dead’?


The book made of papyrus which Ancient Egyptians buried with the dead body was called the book of the dead.


Why did Ancient Egyptians bury a book like this with the dead body?


Because the Egyptians believed that this book helped the person to have a new life after death.


Egyptian Hieroglyphics Writing


What is meant by hieroglyphics?


The ancient Egyptian writing system is called hieroglyphics.


What is a hieroglyph?


Each letter of hieroglyphics is called a hieroglyph.


What were used as letters of the hieroglyphics alphabet?



Hieroglyphics Egyptian letters

Hieroglyphics – Egyptian Letters


hieroglyphic alphabet

Some of the ancient Egyptian letters (hieroglyphs)


 😉  Can you write, ‘Ancient Egypt’ using the above mentioned hieroglyphs?


The Tomb of Hunefer


Who was Hunefer?


Hunefer was a scribe in Ancient Egypt.


How does the hieroglyphics on Hunefer’s tomb describe the following picture drawn in his tomb?


1)   Two women are shown in the picture.

2)   One of them is Hunefer’s wife.

3)   They are mourning the dead man.

4)   There are four priests.

5)   One is wearing a head of a jackal to make him look like Anubis, the god of funerals.


Click here to see the picture, Last Judgement of Hunefer.


What was a jackal?


Old World dogtooth mammal that is active at night and closely related to the dog, but smaller than a wolf.


Rosetta stone


What is Rosetta stone?


Rosetta stone is a black stone slab covered with two kinds of Egyptian writing and Greek.


Three types of writings on the Rosetta Stone

The three types of writing on the Rosetta Stone are;


1) Hieroglyphics

2) Demotic Text

3) Greek


Writings on the Rosetta Stones

Three types of writings on the Rosetta Stone

(Courtesy: Rosetta Stone image by © Hans Hillewaert / , via Wikimedia Commons)


What are the two kinds of Egyptian writing on Rosetta stone?


1)   Hieroglyphics

2)   Demotic script


What was written in Greek on Rosetta stone?


The same thing written in Egyptian writing is also written in Greek.


What were the names written on Rosetta stone?


1) Ptolemy

2) Alexander

3) Cleopatra


Where can we see the Rosetta stone now?


In the British Museum in London


Who worked out the meaning of hieroglyphics using the Rosetta stone?


A French person called Jean Francois Champollion


When did he determine to work out the meaning of hieroglyphics?


When he was an 11 year boy


What did he do when he was 25 years old?


He broke the code of hieroglyphics and worked out the symbols for the letters ‘p’, ‘i’ and ‘o’.


Also, click here to read more about Ancient Egypt.