DIY EGYPTIAN ARCHEOLOGICAL DIG SITE

Nothing conjures up more images of an archeological adventure like Ancient Egypt. Pharaohs, mummies, hieroglyphics, tombs and most importantly for the sake of this tutorial, pyramids come to mind when thinking of Ancient Egypt.
 
In this quick tutorial we will teach you how to make an awesome pyramid shaped excavation activity we call the DIY Egyptian Archeological Dig Site. Your pyramid shaped excavation will be loaded with an important artifact for your excavating adventurer to discover, interpret, and enjoy. 
  
Fun facts: Pharaohs were often entombed in giant pyramids with secret chambers. They believed that they needed treasure to be buried with them to help them in the afterlife. Due to this, archeologists have a lot of well preserved tombs and artifacts to research in order to find out how the Ancient Egyptians lived.
 
Materials:
 
  • Sand
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Excavation tools. Wooden dowels and other blunt instruments work well. Sharp tools are unsafe and not necessary as the excavations are reasonably brittle and excavate easily. 
  • Safety goggles
  • Small brush
  • Air dry clay
  • Toothpick, plastic knife, or popsicle stick.
  • Pyramid shaped sand castle building beach toy. You can often find these at the dollar store and can easily get them online. I even saw little small pyramid molds that would make great little excavations. Don't worry if you do not have a pyramid shaped mold, any container will do!
  • Optional - you can put any Ancient Egyptian themed artifact you like in this excavation. 

Pro tip: Get an old clay type vase from a thrift store. Paint it an earthen color and draw on some hieroglyphic style designs. Once dry, use a hammer and gently break the vase into several pieces. Sand down any sharp edges and add the pieces to your DIY Egyptian Archeological Dig. Your excavating adventurer will be able to discover the pieces, put them back together, and attempt to interpret the meaning behind the hieroglyphics. 

 

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Instructions:
 
  1. Take a small amount of air dry clay and shape it into a slab. You will want to make sure the slab will fit in your pyramid mold.
  2. Use the toothpick, plastic knife, or popsicle stick to carve some hieroglyphic style shapes into the clay. You can look online for easy examples.
  3. Let dry for one or two days until completely hardened. 
  4. Now, put one cup of sand in your mixing bowl.
  5. Add one-third cup Plaster of Paris.
  6. Use the wooden spoon to mix the sand and Plaster of Paris.
  7. Add one-third cup of water and mix.
  8. Keep adding small amounts of water until you reach a pancake like batter consistency. 
  9. Add the hieroglyphic slab you created to the pyramid shaped container. 
  10. Optional - You can break the hieroglyphic slab into pieces to add a little extra fun. 
  11. Pour a layer of the mixture into the container to cover the hieroglyphic slab.
  12. Gently tap the sides of the container to remove any air bubbles. This will also allow a little mixture under and around the hieroglyphic slab
  13. Set the DIY Egyptian Archeological Dig Site in a safe location to dry undisturbed overnight. I like to put the excavation in front of a fan. As the excavation dries, it will shrink slightly and should easily come out of the mold. Leave in front of a fan an additional night if the excavation is difficult to remove. 

Pro tip: If you have young excavating adventurers, avoid pouring an excavation and use kinetic sand instead. They will love digging though the sand and discovering the hieroglyphic slab. You could even call it a Sahara Desert Sand Search for a little extra excitement!

Now the DIY Egyptian Archeological Dig Site is ready to be enjoyed. Find an area that is easy to clean up, distribute the safety goggles and excavation tools, and let the excavating begin. 

Pro tip: Create a key that deciphers your hieroglyphics. Then leave a secret message in your slab. Provide your excavating adventurer with the key once the slab has been excavated and see if they can decipher the message. 

I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and enjoy making the DIY Egyptian Archeological Dig Site. These excavations are very easy to make, inexpensive, and a lot of fun!
 
Pro tip: Use this activity to create some excitement around discussions or lessons regarding Ancient Egypt, the Pyramids, Pharaohs, and archeology. 
 
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Happy Excavating!

  

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