Ancient Egyptian pharaohs spent much of their time preparing for death. The Egyptians believed that the more sumptuous your tomb and the better care by embalmers of your corpse, the better your afterlife. Tombs were often stocked with the occupant's favourite games, beloved mummified pets, food and clothing. The sarcophagi, which contained the body, were elaborately decorated with prayers and blessings meant to protect the body and spirit. Students can learn these concepts by building their own sarcophagi.
Spray paint the exterior of the larger shoebox brown. Spray paint the smaller shoebox gold, inside and outside. Sarcophagi consisted of at least two coffins, one set in the other. The outer coffin was made of wood or stone; the inner coffin was made of gold and precious stones.
Stencil hieroglyphs onto the larger box. Use green, red, gold, orange and blue paint to make the stencils look like inlays. Add the name of the coffin's occupant and symbols such as eyes, doorways and scarabs. Let the paint dry for at least two hours.
Paint a "death" mask onto the lid of the smaller box. Outline the deceased's face and body in black, making it look very stiff and formal. The arms should be crossed. Deceased pharaohs held a jewelled flail in one hand and a shepherd's crook in the other.
Paint the exterior sides of the smaller box with pictures of goddesses such as Isis and Nut. These goddesses often protected the dead from harm. Let all the paint cure overnight.
Cut ½-inch wide strips of white cloth. Wrap them tightly around the doll from head to toe. Tuck in the ends of the cloth so they don't come undone.
Paint a wide, golden collar and an oval with the person's name in hieroglyphics on the fabric strips. This represents the treasures usually added to rich corpses.
Place the wrapped doll inside the smaller box and add the lid. Place the smaller box inside the larger one and place the lid on it, too. Your ancient Egyptian is now safe to enjoy his afterlife.
Things you need
- Two long, thin shoeboxes; one able to fit into the other
- Spray paint in gold, brown and black
- Acrylic paint in gold, black, orange, red and green
- Hieroglyphic stencils
- Plastic doll (Barbie style)
- White fabric