The Challenge - 'Making Sense'

The ancient Egyptians did not use vowels when they recorded information in writing. Thus, two words with the same consonants but different meanings could be spelt the same way.

These signs written together could mean either' boat' or 'taste'.

So, to avoid confusion there are certain hieroglyphs which were used to clarify what a word meant. These signs are called 'sense signs' or 'determinatives'.

By adding the 'sense sign' to the end of the word means 'boat'. However, by adding the 'sense sign' (an ox tongue) at the end of the word means 'taste'.

You are the head scribe at a workshop in a large village in ancient Egypt. Your job is to check the work of the other scribes for errors. The youngest scribe in the workshop has just given you a papyrus to check over.

'Djedi and the Goose'

One day, as the pharaoh sat in his palace, he became bored. His advisors tried to entertain him, but he was still bored. Finally, a magician named Djedi, who was known for his fantastic magic tricks, was brought in front of the pharaoh.


Click on the hieroglyphs to read the story. A box with a question mark signals that the meaning of the word is unclear. Choose a 'sense sign' from the bottom of the screen to make the sentence make sense.