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For more than 1,600 years, Egyptian hieroglyphs were as baffling as they were beautiful. This system of writing offered an intriguing—if impenetrable—mixture of strokes and pictures representing words and sounds. While the Rosetta Stone translations of the 19th century unlocked their meaning, the hieroglyphs themselves opened up a new avenue into the mind of the ancient Egyptians. By learning to read and write them, we can better understand how Egyptians thought, as well as the role hieroglyphs played in Egyptian art.
In this seminar led by Egyptologist Bob Brier, participants receive the traditional training of an ancient scribe—from how to properly write hieroglyphs to the basics of grammar to writing sentences and deciphering inscriptions.
9:30 to 10:45 a.m. The Rosetta Stone: The Key to Hieroglyphs
Learn about the three scripts in which the ancient Egyptian language was written and the process Jean-Francois Champollion used to decipher the Rosetta Stone.
11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The Egyptian Alphabet
Begin to read and write the basic hieroglyphs and try your hand at writing names.
12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Lunch (Participants provide their own lunch.)
1:15 to 2:30 p.m. Ancient Egyptian Vocabulary
Get familiar with words and meanings of alphabetic hieroglyphs and increase your vocabulary as you translate simple inscriptions.
2:45 to 4 p.m. Sentences!
Delve into the rules of ancient Egyptian grammar, move on to writing complete sentences, and translate some real inscriptions.
Brier, who regularly leads and contributes to programs on ancient Egypt, is a senior research fellow at Long Island University.
Bring a pad and a fine-point, felt-tipped pen to the session.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive, SW
Metro: Smithsonian Mall Exit (Blue/Orange)