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Archive for July, 2011

School of Science

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Sam's School of Science
Sam is obsessed with science lately, in particular space and the human body. This morning she set up a science reading room for her bears.

More Mesopotamia

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Country Life

The houses were made of reeds.

Death and Burial

They were buried in reed or clay tombs.

MESOPOTAMIA (DK Eyewitness Books), p. 18-21

26 July 2011

The Bull of Heaven

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

The Bull of Heaven

Before Gilgamesh and Enkidu defeat it. I especially like the poor young men falling into the chasm where underworld creatures are waiting to gobble them up.

25 July 2011

Experiments with Cylinder Seals

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Mesopotamian cylinder seals were usually rolled across wet clay, leaving an impression that served as a seal or a “signature” of an individual or a family. Clay seemed easier for us to carve than stone, so we made our own seals, using chopsticks and toothpicks to etch them.

Etching the clay

Completed seals

One of the seals had a number of ankhs carved into it. I’m not sure what the ancient Mesopotamians would have thought about that.


However, our seals were made from inferior, modern clay–you know–the kind that doesn’t harden so that children can sculpt with it over and over again? Very easy on Mom and Dad’s pocketbook but not so good for rolling in paint or across a stamp pad.

So we got creative. And more modern. We switched to foam. Using a pencil, Sam etched her cylinder signature onto a piece of craft foam.

Etching onto foam

Then we rolled the foam into a cylinder.

Foam cylinder seal

And rolled the cylinder across wet paint.

Wet paint

VoilĂ :
The printed result
Not so recognizable by modern or ancient standards, but it was an interesting craft experiment. For next time I’ve promised Sam that I’ll shell out for some proper hardening clay and we’ll try again.

18 July 2011

Cylinder Seals

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Mesopotamia– Cylinder Seals

They used the seals to mark their property.

MESOPOTAMIA, Eyewitness Books (Dorling Kindersley), p. 12-13


Monday, July 11th, 2011



Monday, July 11th, 2011

GILGAMESH THE HERO by Geraldine McCaughrean

We’ve just read the first chapter of McCaughrean’s version of Gilgamesh–the oldest story. Here is Gilgamesh in all his hairy greatness:


Gilgamesh’s dream and the man-beast who keeps spoiling the hunter’s traps.

Gilgamesh's dream and the man-beast

7 July 2011

Pepi and the Secret Names

Monday, July 11th, 2011

PEPI AND THE SECRET NAMES by Jill Paton Walsh and Fiona French

The tabby cat always came and got drawn in the picture. The prince promised to give Pepi the first kitten from Lady Tmiao’s litter.

11 July 2011

Daily Life

Monday, July 11th, 2011

The Sumerians 3300-2000 BC

Sumer did not have any metal. We should grow some reeds because it was handy in the Ancient World.


5 July 2011

The First Great Civilization

Monday, July 11th, 2011

The Sumerians 5000-2000 BC

That they built reed houses. I think we should build reed houses.


5 July 2011