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Ancient Egypt : unveiling the surprising activities of schoolchildren 2000 years ago

Two millennia ago, Egyptian schoolchildren were engaged in a unique activity that eerily resonates with our modern-day classrooms. Through captivating discoveries of ancient vases and documents, let’s journey back in time to explore the educational routines of these young Egyptians.

Long ago, 2000 years to be exact, Egyptian schoolchildren were involved in something special, and guess what? This activity still exists in our schools today! What were they doing? Thanks to discoveries of ancient vases and documents, we’ve uncovered fascinating secrets about the lives of Egyptians long ago. Teachers, known as instructors back then, asked students to do something new every day, a practice that continues in schools today.

Some students made mistakes, others talked in class, or disrupted the atmosphere. A project in Egypt, called #Athribis, delves into ancient writings describing life 2000 years ago. Egyptian writers noted something we all know now: punishment lines. If a student made a mistake, they had to write the same sentence over and over. It was a common punishment for children near the Nile at that time.

Researcher, Egyptologist, and Professor Christian Leitz led a study with a team from the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. They discovered many vases that likely came from a school.

This comprehensive research project aims to show us how people lived 2000 years ago by examining the objects they used. They found over 18,000 ancient vases and documents! Researchers found something interesting on these vases: « punishment lines. » These lines detailed what students did wrong. The writings were made with ink and reeds, using a special script called Demotic, one of the five scripts written on the Rosetta Stone. It’s as if ancient objects are telling us about the lives of schoolchildren a very long time ago !

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