Escape the ROM Tomb!

GAZETTEER Vol. 3 May 2020

Hi Trailblazers! Feeling shut in? Here’s your chance for an imaginary escape! In this post, we’ll challenge you to find a secret message that will allow you to escape from the ROM’s replica Egyptian tomb. Think you can do it in less than 30 minutes? You’ll have to use your puzzling skills to figure it out! 

Two Trailblazers inside the replica Egyptian tomb at the ROM

Where a person was placed after death was important for the ancient Egyptians because they believed that the journey to the afterlife after death was the most important trip that they would ever take. For them, having a good coffin and an impressive tomb with food, servants and even animal companions would help your spirit in the afterlife. 

ACTIVITY #1 – ANIMAL COMPANIONS

DISCOVER 

Mummified cat, Egypt,
c. 30 BC-642 AD

Pets were considered important companions for the dead. So important that owners would want to have their pets with them when they passed. This unlucky cat got mummified so it could be taken to the afterlife with its owner! Ancient Egyptians had all sorts of pets including cats, gazelles, birds (especially falcons), monkeys, lions, crocodiles and even hippos!

Egyptians loved their animals because they believed that many of their gods and goddesses came to earth as animals. So not only were animals cared for as pets but some were honoured at temples, through daily rituals and at festivals. 

PUZZLE

The first part of our secret message is locked away in the names of ancient Egyptian deities.

Use your internet research skills to work out the the name of each of these Egyptian deities, based on the clue for each. Stuck? This site will help.

Content source: all images from wikipedia.com

1. She is the goddess of truth and justice. She weighed the soul of the dead. What is her name? 

2. He is the god of mummification and the afterlife. What is his name?

3. This important sun god was thought to be the creator of the universe. What was his name?

4. This scarab-headed god was thought to roll the sun across the sky. What was his name?

Now that you have all their names take the first letter of each one to make up a word. Hang onto your one word answer: you’ll need it to complete the secret message!

ACTIVITY #2 – HOW DO YOU SPELL THAT?

Egyptian seal, Edfu, c. 200-100 BC

DISCOVER

The walls of many tombs were covered in carved writing. Ancient Egyptians did not use our alphabet; instead they used special symbols called hieroglyphs to write down their language. Each symbol represented either a sound, a letter or stood for a complete word or name. 

PUZZLE

What does the hieroglyphic message below say? Use this key to translate the symbols into sounds. 

Did you get it? Hang onto those three words for our secret message at the end!

ACTIVITY #3 – PYRAMID MYSTERIES

The great pyramids of Giza.  
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay 

DISCOVER

In the 3rd dynasty, the Egyptians started building grand tombs to bury their pharaohs in. They called these tombs ‘pyramids’. Researchers today estimate that it would have taken 20,000 labourers more than 20 years to build the pyramids at Giza. 

The pyramids at Giza are the most famous ancient Egyptian pyramids, and largest of the three is estimated to comprise as many as 2.5 million limestone blocks! Despite how big it is, how it was built remains a bit of a mystery… With no accounts from the Egyptians, various theories have arisen. Including:

  • Stones were hauled up large ramps that were lubricated with water,
  • Or that, wooden cranes were used to lift the blocks between levels,
  • Or maybe, pulleys and fulcrums helped pull move the blocks into place. 

PUZZLE

While the square base of a pyramid gives the structure a strong foundation, it’s sides are what make them iconic. So for your last clue, what is the 2D shape which makes up the sides of a pyramid? Write it down once you have it!

Now put all your clues together, follow the instruction and show us what you’ve got, If you’re right, you’ve escaped the tomb! If you’re not sure, you can always go back and check your answers… It can take a bit of time to learn hieroglyphs!

SHARE

We want to know if you escaped the tomb! Take a picture of your solution and ask an adult to post it on social media. You can tag us @ROMToronto and use the hashtag #ROMTrailblazers

Now that you’ve escaped, it’s time to test your pyramid building skills with this fun game from our last ROM game jam! 

You are Ra, the God of the Sun. Command your workers to build up the greatest pyramids the world has ever seen, while avoiding the wrath of Sekhmet, the ancient God of War. Download the game on this page.

That’s all for this week. Next week, we’ll have another dispatch for you to discover! Hope you enjoyed your ancient Egyptian adventure.

Amanda

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