Egyptian Artifacts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Sarah Caughron

Sarah has a master's degree in Applied Anthropology/Archaeology and has worked in formal and informal education since 2006.

Pyramids and mummies teach us about the storied past of Egypt. Keep reading to learn more about Egyptian artifacts and what they tell us about ancient Egyptian culture and daily life.

What is an Egyptian Artifact?

Imagine discovering a tomb deep inside the maze of tunnels in an ancient pyramid. You shine a flashlight on the wall and observe an old language written in pictures. You peek inside the tomb and see a mummy, jewelry, and other objects. These items are considered artifacts and help scholars learn about the ancient past and how people once lived, what they ate, and what they believed.

An artifact is any object that is made or modified by people. Some artifacts are small and portable like pottery or tools, while other artifacts are large and can't easily be moved, like a mural painted directly onto a wall. Scholars who study Egyptian artifacts are called Egyptologists. Egyptologists are experts in the culture and history of Egypt and they may be archaeologists, art historians, or linguists.

This pyramid is a man-made structure that houses ancient Egyptian artifacts.

The Writing is on the Wall (and the Paper!)

Egyptologists study the written language of ancient Egypt by examining artifacts and architecture marked with hieroglyphs, or images that represent words and sounds. Ancient Egyptians marked hieroglyphs on many artifacts, including pages made from papyrus, a sort of paper made from grassy reeds which grew along the banks of the Nile River. However, soft, non-durable organic materials such as plants don't preserve well, so few papyrus artifacts remain. Scholars tend to study artifacts made from more durable materials such as stone.

Much ancient Egyptian art contains a written language made of hieroglyphs, or pictures which represent words and sounds.

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