Early Writing Forms and Mummification

Caitlyn wrote in hieroglyph (paper) and cuneiform (clay), and then she tested to see which would withstand the elements better. First we left it outside for a week, and neither form was impacted by that. Then we “flooded the Nile Delta”.

Unfortunately, our results were inaccurate (which happens sometimes). I used air dry clay, because that is what I had on hand, and I didn’t realize it wouldn’t harden the way baked clay does in the amount of time given. So, Our clay got slimy and gross, before there was any impact to our scroll.

While Caitlyn’s writing experiment was hanging out outside for a week, we started a new chapter of history and began the mummification experiment. I opted to do apples again. So we spent an afternoon weighing apple slices. Then burying wrapped (gauze) and unwrapped apples in table salt, epsom salt, baking soda, flour, and 50/50 mixtures of those. Each cup was labeled with the apple weight, whether it was wrapped or not, and which “preservative” was used.

Caitlyn hypothesized that the wrapped 50% table salt and 50% epsom salt apple would mummify the best. Then there was nothing to do but wait a week, and see what happened.

This was her reaction to the control apple, but the flour apple ended up being the grossest. It was complete mush and just had to be thrown away. We dug out, wiped off, unwrapped, and weighed all the apple slices again. Above is what the individual slices all looked like. Then we compared the weights at the beginning to the weight at the end to determine which apple slice lost the most moisture. Caitlyn was very close in her hypothesis, since the 50/50 epsom salt and table salt ended up being the most mummified. However, the wrapped apples all turned out worse, since the gauze trapped the moisture and prevented the preservative from actually touching the apple.

This may not have been Caitlyn’s ideal experiment, but she still loves hands on activities.

If you want a really cute comparison, this is the blog from when we did mummification four years ago.

Mummification Experiment

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