The Ancient Egyptians began to develop a writing system over 5.000 years ago, around 3.000BC.

They used pictures of objects, people and animals to write down their language. We call this writing system Egyptian Hieroglyphs which means "sacred carving".

There are over 700 hieroglyphs signsbecause they can represent full words or letters, but they only represent consonants. There are no vowels "a, e, i, o, u". It´s like writing a SMS text or a WhatsApp.

Try to write "I am hungry, let´s get some chocolate" without writing vowels:

"m hngr, lt´s gt sm chclt"

Hieroglyphs can be written from top to bottom or across the page. If they are across the page, they can be written from right to left or from left to right.

How do we know which way to read? Well, we need to look at the animals or person. If they are facing left, you read from left to write. If they are facing right, you read from right to left.

Vertical reading
Vertical reading
From left to right
From left to right
From right to left
From right to left

Egyptians wrote the names of their kings and queens inside oval-shaped containers that Egyptologists call "cartouches"


The Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone is one of the most important discoveries.

For centuries, historians tried to read hieroglyphs, but it was too complicated, there are too many symbols. 

The Rosetta Stone was discovered in 1799 and it is so important because it has a message written on it in three different languages: Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphs and a cursive form of hieroglyphs. 

Because historians knew how to read Greek, they could now understand the meaning of hieroglyphs and translate historical Egyptian texts.


Click on the link and practice your hieroglyphs.