Egyptian Workshop

 On Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th May, the Year 3 children from Bourne Abbey C of E Primary Academy and Bourne Elsea Park C of E Primary Academy took part in an epic Egyptian Extravaganza!  Over the course of two days, the children completed a variety of activities including: making their own cartouches decorated with hieroglyphics, creating their own death masks and designing and making their very own amulets to bring good luck and protection.  However, the three main events were led by Steven and Thomas Adby from the fabulous Partake Theatre.

The first of the three awesome activities was the chance to  learn about the ancient practice of mummification.  The children were squealing with horror and delight as they heard about the brain removing hook and the delicate process of removing the poor soul’s intestines.  But the session was really bought to life when the children were able to handle traditional Egyptian artefacts, including amulets, canopic jars and statues which would have been placed inside the tomb with the deceased.

The second activity got the children using more of their senses as they learnt about the different spices that would have been used during Ancient Egyptian times.  So, once their noses were ready, they had to take a good long sniff of each spice, close their eyes and think about where they might have smelt the smell before, what it reminded them of, what they thought it might be used for and how they could describe it.  The children shared their ideas with their friends and once they had smelt all 5 of the different spices, they were allowed to find out more.  The children discovered they had been smelling; coriander, ginger, cinnamon and even FRANKISENCE and MYRRH! The very gifts that were given to Jesus on the day of his birth!

 But, the grand finale, the showstopper to end all showstoppers, was the re-enactment of the Ancient Egyptian Burial Ceremony.  It was during this session that each and every one of the children dressed up in traditional Egyptian dress.  Once they were ready, they closed their eyes and travelled back in time, 3000 years back in time to be precise!  Just as they arrived, they discovered one of the young Princes had died.  They immediately began chipping away at the rock to start forming the tomb and the death chamber.  When it was ready, they covered the walls in bright white alabaster which was decorated with pictures depicting stories from the young Prince’s life.  Once the tomb was perfected, the mummified body was carried in by the family and placed to rest.  The crowd slowly and carefully positioned important artefacts around the mummified Prince that they felt he would need in the afterlife.  These included: a mummified hawk to protect him, wine and a sheaf of corn so he would always have plenty to eat and drink, statues of the different gods and a blanket of amulets for protection.  After all of these preparations had been completed, the grieving crowd performed a sorrowful dance where they scooped the sand from the ground to pour over their heads, knelt and prayed to the gods and called out loud to show their sorrow.

The ceremony ended in eerie silence as the crowd knelt with their foreheads to the ground.  At this point, the lights were turned low and the hall was silently lit by two flickering candles.  As the children raised their heads, they felt the true silence and peace that would have been felt within the death chamber…. It really was truly remarkable and a moment the children are guaranteed to remember for a very, very long time.