Cover image for The mystery of the hieroglyphs : the story of the Rosetta stone and the race to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs
Title:
The mystery of the hieroglyphs : the story of the Rosetta stone and the race to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs
Author:
Donoughue, Carol.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
48 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
1030 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.1 1.0 64590.
ISBN:
9780195215533

9780195215540
Format :
Book

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PJ1097 .G5 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PJ1097 .G5 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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PJ1097 .G5 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

For more than 15 centuries, no one could read the strange-looking Egyptian hieroglyphs. And then in 1799 a French soldier in Napoleon's army in Egypt stumbled across the Rosetta Stone, an ancient inscription recorded in Greek, hieroglyphs, and demotic script. Many of the brightest scholars ofthe time--Egyptologists, historians, and linguists--as well as detectives, professional code breakers, and plain amateurs, all set out to decipher the forgotten words. Carol Donoughue tells us the fascinating story of the hieroglyphs and the race to decipher them, explaining how this curious writing system began with simple drawings of everyday objects. She compares the hieroglyphic system to modern alphabets in an entertaining narrative complemented withnumerous photographs and drawings, maps, historical timelines stretching from ancient Egypt to Napoleon, a glossary, and numerous sidebars. The book culminates in an edge-of-your-seat description of how the brilliant French archaeologist Champollion finally succeeded in deciphering the hieroglyphs.A final section displays an alphabet of "hieroglyphs" and offers some fun activities for children based on hieroglyphic writing.


Author Notes

Carol Donoughue works at the Institute of Education in London. A teacher and school supervisor for many years, she has had a lifelong interest in the history and culture of ancient Egypt.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-6. Two hundred years ago, the discovery of the Rosetta Stone set in motion a chain of political events and intellectual challenges that led to the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphs in 1822. This attractive book describes the characteristics, history, and significance of the stone. There is also information about how the Egyptians wrote and how to read hieroglyphs. The text clearly explains the subject in terms a child can understand, though the tone is marred occasionally by school-marm queries such as, "Would it have been easy to get the Stone out of its hiding place and hand it over to the English? How heavy do you think it is?" Spacious in design, the pages include many illustrations, such as portraits, carvings, engravings, documents, artifacts, and drawings of hieroglyphs. Not only useful for reports on the subject, this book will intrigue children who enjoy codes and puzzles. An excellent introduction to the subject. --Carolyn Phelan


School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Through this involving history of the Rosetta Stone, readers share the excitement of being able to translate hieroglyphics. For hundreds of years, Europeans struggled to know what Egyptian picture writing said, and whether the pictures stood for sounds, for objects, or for ideas. When the Rosetta Stone was discovered in 1799, it provided a translating key: the same text was written in hieroglyphics, Egyptian, and Greek script. Over the years, language experts Thomas Young and Jean Francois Champollion worked to "crack the code." Finally, in 1822, Champollion realized that the hieroglyphs stood for sounds, and the Rosetta Stone and many other ancient writings could be translated. What makes this book so involving is that readers must do their own learning, translating, and reading of hieroglyphics as they travel through this history. By the book's end, they should be able to decipher some glyphs and write their own messages in this ancient language. Graphic examples of concepts make them easy to grasp. For example, readers struggle to decipher words written backwards or upside down in English, to illustrate how difficult it is to read glyphs, which often appear this way. There are some fascinating tidbits of information along the way, here, too. For example, Egyptian scribes practiced writing on small stones, called ostracons, which were like scratch paper. Crisp color photos, reproductions, and sidebars enrich the text. An enticing volume.-Cathryn A. Camper, Minneapolis Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.