Does Geography Determine Destiny?


Ancient Egypt’s System of Writing


Texting, emails, tweets, and even handwritten notes share the thoughts of today, yet hieroglyphics told the tales of the Egyptians long ago. Hieroglyphics date back to the the time of Upper Egypt during the reign of King Menes. Their writing system was a combination of symbols and pictures like animals, plants, and people. These detailed pictures were a way of describing their lives for more than thirty centuries. These hieroglyphs were found on tomb walls, in temples, on papyrus - a type of paper made from the reed, and most importantly in ornate burial chambers of the pharaohs. Can you imagine what the Egyptians would have done with emojis?

For centuries, the Egyptians also had a written language that was a mysterious series of pictures and symbols. The clues to their meaning did not come until the discovery of a stone near Rosetta helped to "crack the code" and translate the ancient language. The social scientists that pieced together the meanings of hieroglyphics must have been thrilled, and today we know so much more now that we can read the writings on papyrus scrolls, tomb walls, and any other artwork that contains Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Papyrus may have been the world’s first paper. Papyrus was a woven pattern of reeds that grew along the Nile’s riverbanks. These peelings of the plant’s layers were then dried in the sun to allow for a crisp surface with which to write. Papyrus was also used to make rope, mat rugs, and sandals. Papyrus and wheat were the best exports for Egypt.