Hello fellow ambassadors, and season’s greetings!

In this month’s blog Ildiko Kalnoky reports back after delivering the first EES school workshop on the theme ‘Egyptology and Exploration’, one of a set of exciting new interactive workshops designed by Carl for use in schools. Based on our own talks to local schools and colleges over the years, we knew there was certainly the demand and need for such workshops, whose timely launch prepares the way for the society’s Young Explorers Club available in the New Year.

Exciting times indeed!

Jo Fletcher

The EES goes back to school!

Local Ambassador for Leeds Ildiko Kalnoky delivers the first EES school workshop     

I have always been keen to promote and encourage Egyptology in educational settings, especially with regards to younger audiences. By inspiring children about Egyptology and the EES, we might just be able to contribute towards shaping and nurturing the Egyptologists of the future.

Ever since the inception of the Local Ambassador Programme, this has been a point that I have been passionately advocating. Carl was immediately on board and asked me to assist him in producing educational material, such as designing lesson plans for a series of interactive workshops which we were then hoping to hold in schools across the country. And since Jo was also continuing to receive regular requests and enquiries from interested parents and teachers, one such request provided the opportunity to deliver our very first interactive workshop ‘Egyptology and Exploration’ for Year 3 pupils at a primary school in York at the end of November.

The workshop itself consisted of a brief introductory presentation, followed by an activity - making a timeline - with questions at the end. I am ever so grateful that I had the privilege of delivering this. It was such a delight to see the children’s enthusiasm, passion and curiosity for ancient Egypt. They were incredibly eager to share their already existing knowledge on that front, which was often quite considerable: one girl even knew the names of nearly all of the known types of canopic jars (apart from Qebehsenuef). They were extremely focused and receptive towards the content of the workshop and, incredibly, managed to retain a remarkable amount of the new information that they were given during the session, e.g. that Giovanni Belzoni cleared the temple of Abu Simbel, that Flinders Petrie was a significant archaeological figure, especially due to his focus on smaller, every-day items and for having developed his sequence dating method; etc.

I was also impressed by the questions the children had prepared prior to the workshop:

  • How did you get into your job?
  • What is the most interesting fact about Egypt?
  • If you could be an Egyptian god, which one would you be and why?
  • Have you been to Egypt? What did you see?
  • Why did you choose to study the Egyptians?
  • What do you think the most interesting discovery about ancient Egypt was?

All of these are valid and relevant today in the context of both the study of ancient Egypt, and for Egyptology as a profession. I believe that the EES can create a powerful and lasting impact on the younger generation, by inspiring and encouraging them to explore the wonders of ancient Egypt and archaeology, as well as giving them an insight into professional Egyptology.