Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Writing in Ancient Egypt

For our second lesson in the history of writing, we focus on Egypt. First we made some natural dyes using only plant material.(These dyes can be used for other historical periods- even for prehistoric art)

These are the materials used:

Hot pink: Red rose petals
Green: Spinach (is a brownish green)
Yellow: Curry powder

The process is similar for all of them:

Collect the material, chop it fine (if needed), place in a saucepan and put enough water just to cover it. Boil for 15 min, then simmer until liquid has reduced to half. Strain.

For the other three colors we used black beans.

Lilac: Place half a cup of black beans in a bowl, and put enough water to cover them by an inch. Let it sit all night. That’s it.

Purple: Use the same process as in the lilac color, but add white vinegar to it. Reduce to half.

Dark Brown: Cook the beans in some water. Strain.

We also made our own “papyrus” paper, by cutting strips of construction paper and waving them. We use school glue generously all over it, to obtain a single sheet.

After it was dry, we wrote my son’s name in hieroglyphs. This site has a very neat “translator” where you can input any name and it will give you the “equivalent”. 

As a side project, we dyed some cotton yarn, to explore how the ancients may have "put some color" into their clothes. We got this sample page, that helps us documenting our hard work :)

It was a very interesting, hands on project!

1 comment:

  1. This looks so interesting! Thank you for posting! I have a few questions: 1) Where did you find your containers? 2) For the lilac and purple colors, are you cooking the beans at all or just soaking? What do you mean by "reduce by half" for the purple?