page contents


I Bet the Ancient Egyptians rocked at Pictionary!

I Bet the Ancient Egyptians rocked at Pictionary!

Our post is a Tumblr page by an Egyptian language expert, Thoth, who will be talking about the emergence of Egyptian writing systems. The page will cover a variety of topics, including Hieroglyphs, a brief history of the writing style, how to read them, the development of Hieroglyphs to other forms (such as Demotic writing), as well as types of writing materials used in ancient Egypt.

Slaves Unite!

In ancient Egypt, slavery was prevalent. However, theory and practice of slavery in Egypt was considered different from those of Greece, Rome, or the southern states of America in the ancient days. Slaves in Egypt were either prisoners of war or traded by slave merchants (debt slaves), however, both types of slaves were allowed to be free after serving for a certain period of time. Some of the slaves who came originally from Egypt were often children from poor families who were sold into slavery. While the rest of the slaves were people from Meroe and Kush, south of Egypt and Libya.

As we learnt in our Egyptian lecture, it was presumed that thousands of slaves toiled under hard conditions to build the pyramids. However, it was later realised that the builders of the pyramids were free Egyptians who committed themselves to the building project. So then, what were slaves for in Ancient Egypt? Slaves in Egypt were mainly fieldworkers. However, there were also other types of slaves such as house cleaners, nannies, wet nurses, cooks, skilled dancers, musicians and accountants. A master might employ a slave for domestic uses such as guardians of their children, brewers and maids or for other outdoor uses such as gardeners. Slaves might also be required for trading aids whereby the slave would have to learn how to excel in trading. Educated slaves could also become managers of their master’s estate.

So, as part of our third blog post, we decided to “stalk” a private Facebook group of the ancient Egyptian slaves. Do visit the link below to get an insight of the daily lives of some of the slaves mentioned above. The history of slaves dates back to the Old Kingdom in the Third Dynasty around 2670 BC all the way to the New Kingdom in 1544 BC, with a surge of Hebrews becoming slaves, coming in during the Middle Kingdom due to the drought in Europe. They had been enslaved for about 400 years. The historians however, have been unable to pinpoint exactly how different slaves are treated between each of these time periods. Thus for easy understanding, this Facebook group will be set in about 14th century BC.

Please click on the link below to view the Facebook Group!


Through this post, we learnt that the slaves in Ancient Egypt did not all have the same plight due to some historical underpinnings. For example, the Hebrews. Different types of slaves led different types of lives. Some of them were slaves voluntarily while others were forced. The diversity in the lives they led was a result of the different personal issues that they faced. We chose the Facebook portal to convey this content on Ancient Egyptian slaves as we imagined how they would have expressed their sentiments through informal  anecdotal reflections with other slaves in their  community.


Image references:

The Ascend to Man's Best Friend

Ever heard of the saying that “Dogs are Man's Best Friend”? Well, the first known account of that statement was first made by Fredrick II, King of Prussia in 1789. Enough about him, let us focus on the tale at hand. Dogs have been part of human history that date back to at least 13,000 BCE (With some researchers speculating that the dogs may have dated back to 100,000 years ago). Dogs were seen as protectors of agriculture, hunting companions, as well as many other variations throughout different cultures and time periods. Loyalty to the us homo-sapiens was a key trait that kept our bond strong, so strong that even part of our anatomy - our canines, resemble their name. This led to the Canis Familiaris (Scientific name for dogs) being featured in many myths and legends that have withstood the test of time.

Historical dog pictures are still dog pictures. And what better way to view them than Tumblr.

Our Tumblr Page:

For those of you out there who really dig history and love dogs, we hope you loved the article as much as dogs love you. Please do not hesitate to share your experiences with dogs in the comments below. Stay pawsome.



If you are interested in where to find specific information from our blogpost, you may view the url links below:

Interesting Related Videos that inspired this post to be created:

Mesopotamia (c. 5000 - 3500 BC)

Ancient Egypt (c. 3100 - 2686 BC),_305_B.C.E.-395_C.E.,05.308.jpg,_Nordisk_familjebok.png

Ancient China (2070 - 1600 BCE)

Ancient Greece and Rome (800-500 BCE),_from_Pydna.jpg,_San_Francisco).jpg

Medieval Europe (5th - 15th Century),_indicating_a_plague_bubo_on_his_gro_Wellcome_L0022461.jpg

Aztec (14th - 16th Century)

Hope you enjoyed the post.


The Discovery of Mummy's Tattoos



“Ang Gong Kia!” (which refers to a kid with red and green patches on their body in hokkien dialect), “Barbarian!”, “Hooligan!” are the common names we give to people with tattoos in today’s world. Often, a negative connotation is associated with tattoo as well as the wearer of the tattoo in this society. However, in recorded history, tattoos held a completely opposite meaning to that of today. Let us take a walk through ancient Egypt’s tattoo culture, where the first tattooed mummy was found-a Nubian (dating to 400 BC)

Back in ancient Egypt, tattoo was common and culturally acceptable. It was generally known as the cradle of tattoo art. Tattoos designs were either plain or elaborate, but it always holds a personal relation to one by acting as an amulet,  signs of religious belief, status symbols or even as a form of punishment (just to name a few).



Seven “prick points” on display in the Petrie Museum, possibly used for tattooing. Image © UCL Museums & Collections

Resembles Ancient Egyptians' hand tool Paul Roe ©britishink tattoos 1998-2015

The inventor of tattoo in Ancient Egypt was believed to be the olden women of a community who created it to protect the younger women spiritually and physically. They used metals, bamboos and woods as their common tattoo tools. With a history background dated back to c. 3000 B.C- a sharp point set in a wooden handle- was discovered at the site of Abydos. Following it, a set of small bronze instruments, which resemble wide, flattened needles was also found at the ancient town site of Gurob. Both tools were believed to be the tools used for tattoo.  By tying them together in a bunch, a repeated patterns of multiple dots could then formed.

Below shows how a tattoo can be handmade:

[video width="1280" height="720" mp4=""][/video]



As human remains are not preserved well and are commonly covered in bandages, it is difficult to find evidences of tattoo frequency from the Egyptians. The first tangible examples of Egyptian tattoos date back to the Middle Kingdom, about 2000 BC where several tattooed mummies of women were found at Deir el-Bahari (opposite modern Luxor) in an area associated with royal and elite burials. The markings mainly consist of dots and dashes, often grouped into geometrical patterns and are usually placed on the chest, the abdomen, the arms or the legs.

Fun-fact #1: Did you know? 

Tattoo practice was exclusive to the females only in Ancient Egypt.

Although tattoos are rare on human remains, they seem to be more frequent on female representations as it indicated their status.

There's evidence that women had tattoos on their bodies and limbs from:

  1. figurines c. 4000-3500 B.C.
  2. occasional female figures represented in tomb scenes c. 1200 B.C.
  3. figurine form c. 1300 B.C.,

all with tattoos on their thighs.



All content and images on this blog – unless stated otherwise – are © Trustees of the British Museum.

The meanings and functions of tattoos varies, some showing association to a social group, others having medical or protective purposes. The naturally mummified woman from Sudan in the exhibition bears a monogram of St Michael tattooed on her inner thigh. It combines in one symbol the letters forming the name Michael (MIXAHΛ) in Greek and the monogram is topped with a cross. The tattoo suggests that the woman was of Christian faith, and may indicate that she hoped to place herself under the protection of the Archangel – one of the patron saints of Nubia.

All content and images on this blog – unless stated otherwise – are © Trustees of the British Museum.

Placing the name of a powerful heavenly protector on one's body by a tattoo or amulet was very common in antiquity. The tattooing of ancient Egyptian women had a therapeutic role and functioned as a permanent form of amulet during the very difficult time of pregnancy and birth. Christian women who were pregnant often placed amulets with divine or angelic names on bands on their abdomens to insure a safe delivery of their child. This is supported by the pattern of distribution, largely around the abdomen, on top of the thighs and the breasts, and would also explain the specific types of designs, in particular the net-like distribution of dots applied over the abdomen. During pregnancy, this specific pattern would expand in a protective fashion in the same way bead nets were placed over wrapped mummies to protect them and "keep everything in."

The placing of small figures of the household deity, Bes, at the tops of their thighs would again suggest the use of tattoos as a means of safeguarding the actual birth, since Bes was the protector of women in labor, and his position at the tops of the thighs a suitable location.

Thus, tattoos may be a taboo thing to do in today's world, but it holds a sacred significant to ancient Egyptians. Though we wear the same fashion marking on us, but it bears a completely different meaning compared to the past.

Fun-fact #2: Did you know? 

Amunet, a Priestess of the goddess Hathor at Thebes, was originally written off as a highly-ranked concubine by excavator due to the location she was found. This was only revealed after reading her burial inscriptions, which the excavator did not bothered to.


Hey guys. So this post might seem a little late, considering we have learnt about mummification wayy back in the past. Regardless, we have observed that most of what we know about Mummification comes from Herodotus. While he was pretty accurate with his observations, he was not as invested as the Egyptians on the topic of mummification. To Herodotus, it was more about the process than the meaning to it. In reality, this is a HUGE part in Egyptian culture.  So, we have decided to use Pharaoh Tutankhamen as our fictional spirit guide into his own mummification. King Tut, as if you may please?  



Greetings peasants, I am King Tutankhamen, son of Akhenaten, Ruler of both the Upper and Lower Egypt. During my reign I have freed my people from the cursed religious reforms of my father, Pharaoh Akhenaten. It is most unfortunate that the gods have cursed me for my father's sins, inflicting upon me a curse onto my left foot. Though I was in excruciating pain most of the time, I stand by the gods for my people. Alas, my life was to come at an end at the age of 19. 19!

That's a pretty crappy life I lead, isn't it?



As a boy king, I had a lot of responsibility placed on my shoulders you know. I had to lead my people, rule my country, I was the chosen one, the one closest to god! Believe me, maintaining Ma’at all the time was a lot harder than it looked.

Err ... what is Ma'at? You're joking right?



You would think they would teach this in class these days ... I mean, look at you, sitting behind your magical steel tablets of light and sound, ignorant of what is to come. Come, before the sun sets, let me tell you more about the afterlife and the burial practices of my people.


Ma'at is our concept of truth. Our concept of law, Our concept of both morality and justice. You see, my people believe that the afterlife is a continuation of your previous mortal existence. Your soul consists of five parts: the Ren, Ba, Ka, Sheut and Ib.Your body and your soul must be maintained if you were to enjoy the afterlife.


Oh The Field of Reeds is an amazing place. It is a place where the pure of heart live on for an eternity. Over here you have no illnesses, no death, no sadness, there is only beauty and eternal peace. It is a world just like yours! You walk amongst the lands of which you once loved, in a place you once knew, just a lot more happy and a lot less, well, starvation, slavery and monument building. I’m sure you know what I mean, but I digress.

Barring the fact that the woman is a pale abomination, you get the idea.


So there I was, watching my own servants carry my already limp body towards a tent we called the ‘ibu’. It was known as the place of purification, it was where we purified the dead. My body was about to be preserved, mummified, made ready, for the journey into the afterlife.



It was strange, watching the embalmers rinse my body with palm wine and water from the Nile. I always wondered how I looked from the eyes of another, and I must admit, I didn’t give myself enough credit from when I was alive.


One of the guys then made an incision on the left side of my body and began to pull out intestines, guts, basically most of my internal organs. My liver, lungs and stomach were then washed and packed in Natron, a salt found along our riverbeds. This Natron(natrum) dries up and preserves the organs before they are to be placed in canopic jars. Then my heart was placed along my throat, in situ, so that it is protected, and I don’t die a second time.



I watched the embalmers stuff the empty shell of my body with more Natron before my brain was hooked out through my nose and disposed of.

Not that I'm going to use it anytime soon.


After 40 long days, my body was then washed again with water from the Nile. I watched them stuff my body with sawdust, leaves and more linen in an effort to try to restore my body to its former glory. My head and neck were then wrapped in linen and they gradually worked down my body, placing amulets in between layers of wrapping to better protect my new self.



As the priest chanted the last of the protection prayers, he placed a Papyrus scroll between my already wrapped hands, in it contained spells and incantations that would best guide me through the afterlife.

The Isis Knot Amulet that protects the body

The Plummet Amulet that balances the body in the next life




Several layers of linen wrapping later, a ritual known as the ‘opening of the mouth’ was performed so as to free my soul, ‘Ba’, from the confines of my mortal body.



Just as I was watching the priests and servants gingerly place my sarcophagus in my offering-packed tomb, I suddenly found myself in the magnificent court of the Two Ma’ats.

The seemingly endless walls in the great court were adorned with gold that glistened brighter than a thousand suns. Bejeweled scarabs peppered the shimmering golden walls as I was led to kneel before God Anubis and the full tribunal of forty-two divine deities. Upon reciting my negative confession, declaring myself to be pure and free of offense, my Ib, or my heart, was then place on a scale. On the other end of the scale, lay a feather, from the Goddess of Ma’at.



This was it! it was either eternal life or instant damnation, complete elimination of your existence and your soul. I watched in silence as the scales gradually tipped in my favor, my Ib was deemed to be lighter than the feather. Thank goodness I did more good than bad in my short time as King. All the effort put into the mummification of my body would have gone to waste had my soul been deemed evil and devoured instantly by the fiendish crocodile-head demon Ammut. shudder

Have your smelly Bestiary entry, you achievement driven mongrels.

I began to I feel my entire being fill up with an ever-familiar warmth which I later discovered to be my ‘Ka’, my life force. The moment I was judged to be pure of heart, my ‘Ba’ and my ‘Ka’ reunited with one another and I became an Akh, a citizen of the afterlife, a spirit. I returned to my body a brand new and complete entity.


The afterlife is an amazing place, my friends! Each night, after the sun sets in your realm, it descends into the underworld, Duat. While in Duat, the sun would meet with the mummified Osiris and the presence of one another is enough to fuel them with the energy needed, to rise again the next day. The afterlife is modeled after this relationship. Every night, the ‘Ba’ enters the burial tomb just like the sun and reunites with the body. Every morning, it leaves the body to reunite with the ‘Ka’.


The Afterlife: The Burger you see in advertisements. Not the deflated, horrendous mockery they serve you. Which kind of describes this life we live in exceedingly well.


And there you have it! A glimpse into what awaits you at the end of your mortal existence! My time on this dimensional plane is coming to an end once again. Farewell young ones! I hope that I’ll be seeing your faces amongst the Field of Reeds!

A Happy Pharell Geddit? Geddit? (I need a life)

Done by: Yong Quan, Mariam and Terry

2-piece Nuggets of Ancient Egypt

Hey there! To start off, I want to begin by admitting honestly that I am not a ‘history-kind-of person'. A history-kind-of person? I mean to say, I find myself having zero interest in wanting to find out about anything of the past.



No, don’t get me wrong! It is not that I can’t be bothered with the lives of the people from the past because it’s already in the past da da da..., but because somehow, I can only imagine the stories in a fictional way instead of being able to see that they are actually recollection of past events... Anyone feels the same?


So anyway, because I really did not have an inclination towards anyone, anything or anywhere in history, I resorted to the Singaporean style of choosing what to talk about in this blog post- the 'mini-my-nee-mini-moh' method.


And tadaaaaaaa, I chose to read up on Ancient Egypt, and here is 2 rather amusing and amazing discoveries I chanced upon!




Can you imagine yourself going around naked at even the age of 4? I cannot. Just imagining about it now makes me feel so exposed.


So I used to work at a childcare centre awhile back, and I helped out with the toddlers class. I remember clearly that those toddlers of the age of 3 already knew to feel ‘shame shame’ (a term that adult would say to children when they do something deemed as shameful in relation to their gender) when they go running around without their top or bottom on.


However, in ancient Egypt, it seemed to be a norm and was done so because of the warm weather in Egypt……



I am not too sure about the credibility of this discovery though, because there are also sources saying that children actually wore clothes, because clothing for children had been found in tombs.


Whatever it may had been, I think what struck me more was my reaction to the discovery, and what possibly would be the reaction of many people in today’s world.


I was (and actually still am) shocked knowing that children of the past may have bared their body as they went around. To me, exposing my body gives me a sense of shame; and hence, going around naked seems like a no-no.


But on second thoughts, it made me think about the reason for that shame triggered in me.


We are all wonderfully made, and so our body is certainly a type of beauty- something to be proud of. But how did it turn out that we become ashamed of showing certain body parts, or rather, showing skin as a whole?


Perhaps some sense of this beauty was being distorted along the way. As time passes, the concept of body probably got associated with too much of sexual corruptions- so much so that we begin to associate showing skin to something lowly instead of a type of beauty.



Other than keeping their fashion simple with linen clothes and little sewing done, even the way ancient Egyptians constructed the magnificent Khufu Ship, was kept simple.



This 143 feet long and 19.5 feet wide Khufu ship, which is made up of 1224 parts, is held together by not nails, screws nor is it glue, but lo and behold, The Grass.



No, I am not even kidding. The builders managed to make ropes out of the grass, and basically painstakingly sewed the ship together!!!!!!


Now, that’s simplicity (but definitely not done easily), compared to the countless technology used to produce just almost anything in the world today.


By the way, are you thinking how the boat was actually sewn together? Here’s more details!


So there, here are the 2 mini discoveries that I've learnt about the Ancient Egypt Civilization and... I guess as you read up more on something, it actually speaks more relevance to you than when you do not. So I am thankful for this. :)