Monday, 28 July 2014

OMG! Ancient Egypt! Let's mummify the hamster!

Before I get started, I need to state here that we do not own a hamster, will not be mummifying Fluffy the Snail, and only two knock off barbies were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Squidge visited the British Museum a few weeks ago with friends and ever since has been popping out little bits of information about the Ancient Egyptians. Funnily enough, she'd visited at about the same time that I found this wonderful project on Pinterest:

Omg. THAT IS GENIUS!!! We had to do this. And why not get a friend involved?! So, J was roped in for a bit of Egyptian awesomeness too.

So I spent the grand total of <£4 on a double pack of cheap knock off baries from the 99p shop, new prittsticks, salt, herbs, scented oil (essential oil in a vegetable oil carrier), strips of bandage, boxes, grave goods and relevant print outs (link for those further down).

The Canopic jars I think were the best bit in all honesty. I found a canopic colouring in sheet on google, then shrank it down using GIMP and printed the pictures out. They just happened to be exactly the right size for some tiny glass jars I'd bought in The Works, 8 with glitter in for £1. I dumped the glitter from those into small craft pots (also 8 for £1 from The Works) and left them empty for the kids.

So, let reverence commence for the poor dead Pharaohs Knockoffbarbiesatep I and Knockoffbarbiesatep II. It was a sad day for Egypt losing two Pharaohs in one day.

The first thing the kids did was colour in the printables I'd procured from ActivityVillage. This is an awesome website for free printables. Whether you home educate or not, it's something to keep the kids occupied at least.

Then came the time to remove Barbie's brain with a hook. We had a long conversation about how recent MRI scans have shown that not all of the brain was removed this way, and it can be seen in a shrivelled heap at the back of the skull. Nice. I mentioned that the heart was left in the body as the Egyptians thought it contained the soul. J then informed Squidge and myself about the weighing of the heart against a feather in the afterlife. I love home ed kids. they're like sponges.

Next they drew lines down Barbie's body using permenant markers to show they'd cut her open, and placed all of the organs into the canopic jars. The right organ for the right jar. Some folks use felt body parts, we just used paper ones, the outlines drawn by me, coloured in and cut out by the skidlets. Squidge was using her hook to pretend to dig out the organs. J just calmly stated that "They used their hands. Not the hooks.".

Liver, protected by Imetsy (human), stomach, protected by Duamutef (jackal), lungs, protected by Hapy (baboon), intestines, protected by Qubhsemuf (falcon).

Squidge said the falcon looked more like an owl the jackal looks like a "normal" dog and how the heck is that a baboon?! "It looks like a flipping bunny!!" But we persevered. 

It was now time for the embalming process. Like the family in the blog post I mentioned as inspiration, we couldn't be bothered to leave Barbie for weeks in the salt mixture. Our salt mixture was plain old fine table salt with dried oregano, basil, mint, sage and verbena added. Use what you have.

They then anointed Barbie in scented oil. I added a few drops of peppermint oil to some plain sunflower oil.

After this, they wrapped the barbies in strips of cloth. I have plenty. In fact, I have some left over.

They then placed their Pharaohs in their tombs, glued on the death masks and placed grave goods in with her to keep her happy.

Both kids chose to put in Hama beads just in case the Pharaoh gets bored in the afterlife. Both used buttons as plates, and glitter as either food or wealth, plus pieces of gold paper and glass beads as money. Both also added a small jar of barley and Squidge wanted a jar of either beer or honey, I didn't have either but I did have some Mead so she had a tiny jar of that. J put his Hama beads in a small jar, and also added a bit of string because the Ancient Egyptians didn't have electric irons to glue the Hama beads together, so instead this Pharaoh could make a necklace. He's so thoughtful, that boy.
J even showed Squidge how to tuck in the bandages.

Squidge's grave

J's grave

As the guest, J chose first box. His chosen tomb once held Grissini bread sticks; one of Squidge's favourite snacks. Squidge was happy with being left with a Maple Sunrise cereal box because she likes the smell.

Please, please do this. It's so much fun. There's glitter everywhere and my livingroom smells of odd herbs, mint and a mild maple tang...... The children have retreated upstairs to play, but not before the well trained J had helped me clean up the craft bits then chastised Squidge for not helping. He was telling her off while tidying up her doll's house. Awesome child.

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