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Ancient Egypt


Papyrus of Ani from the Bridgeman Art Library
[Public Domain]

Back to Ancient Egypt for Kids The Ancient Egyptians used picture words to write called hieroglyphics. It is a very old form of writing that they starting using as early as 3000 B.C. Hieroglyphics was a very complicated way of writing involving 1000s of symbols. Some of the symbols represented sounds, like our letters, and other's represented entire words.

More about Hieroglyphics

Hieroglyphics was different from how we write in many ways:


Since writing in hieroglyphics was so complicated, it took years of education and practice to be able to do it. The people who trained to write were called scribes. They would start training at a very young age of six or seven.

Being a scribe was a good job in Ancient Egypt. Scribes didn't have to pay taxes or enter the army. They were very highly thought of and only the children of the wealthy got the opportunity to train as scribes.


The Ancient Egyptians often wrote on tablets or walls, but they also wrote on a type of paper called papyrus. Papyrus paper was made from a tall reed like plant called Papyrus. The Egyptians would use strips of the inner stem of the plant to make the paper. They would make two layers of strips; one horizontal and the other vertical. Then they would cover it in a linen cloth and apply pressure with a mallet or stones. The strips would bind together over time making a single flat sheet to write on.

Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone

In 1799 a French soldier found a special stone in the city of Rosetta. This stone had the same message written in both hieroglyphics and Greek. This was important because it helped to translate what the hieroglyphics said and could be used to help translate other hieroglyphics as well.

Fun Facts about Egyptian Hieroglyphics

Take a ten question quiz at the Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics questions page.

More information on the civilization of Ancient Egypt:

Timeline of Ancient Egypt
Old Kingdom
Middle Kingdom
New Kingdom
Late Period
Greek and Roman Rule

Monuments and Geography
Geography and the Nile River
Cities of Ancient Egypt
Valley of the Kings
Egyptian Pyramids
Great Pyramid at Giza
The Great Sphinx
King Tut's Tomb
Famous Temples
Egyptian Food, Jobs, Daily Life
Ancient Egyptian Art
Entertainment and Games
Egyptian Gods and Goddesses
Temples and Priests
Egyptian Mummies
Book of the Dead
Ancient Egyptian Government
Women's Roles
Hieroglyphics Examples
Amenhotep III
Cleopatra VII
Ramses II
Thutmose III

Inventions and Technology
Boats and Transportation
Egyptian Army and Soldiers
Glossary and Terms

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