hieroglyph (hī(ə)rəˌglif )

My favorite place to go in Chicago is the Field Museum. During a recent visit, I found the Inside Ancient Egypt exhibit most interesting.  The exhibit includes an ancient, limestone tomb which our tour guide told us was Unis-Ankh’s real tomb. Unis-Ankh was the son of King Unis, the last pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt (2428- 2407 B.C.). We saw Unis-Ankh’s cartouche, which is a hieroglyphic name plate at the entry. Then we went inside to a little room and saw hieroglyphs all around us. A hieroglyph is a character in any system of writing that uses pictures. The word was originally used for the oldest system of writing Ancient Egyptian. Hieroglyph comes from the Greek roots hier meaning sacred and glyph meaning carve. Hieroglyphs are “sacred carvings!” There were hints of red on the wall, which the tour guide explained was from ochre. The limestone was protected with plexiglass in order to preserve the 5,000 year old stone. On the tour, I learned a lot about daily life in Ancient Egypt such as the fact that everyone, even kids, had to drink beer (or wine if they were rich), because the water from the River Nile was contaminated.  They traded for fruit, juice, beer and wine and other goods in the marketplace.  Egyptians wore little clothing, for the desert was hot, as you might imagine. I really enjoyed the exhibit and I definitely recommend going on the Inside Ancient Egypt tour if you are visiting the Field Museum.

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