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Students learn to walk the Nile walk

SALISBURY — The subjects under discussion ranged from how best to remove body parts from a corpse, how much makeup should a Nile-style guy wear and why is it important to have a spare Eye of Horus around for emergencies.

Salisbury Central School sixth-graders oohed, ahhed and occasionally emitted a chorus of “ews” as visiting lecturer Paulette Morin took the group back 3,300 years to ancient Egypt.

In a rapid-fire delivery, Morin covered the details of everyday life.

“Both men and women wore wigs every day,” said Morin. “Why?”

The students offered some good guesses. “To shield them from the sun,” or, “To protect them from the sand.

“Intelligent answers,” said Morin. “But the correct answer is: to protect them against bugs!

“There were so many bugs in ancient Egypt that if the people went around without wigs their heads would be infested.

“It was important for the Egyptians to look beautiful. How beautiful would you look with a head full of bugs?”

“Ewww...,” said the sixth grade.

Men wore just as much jewelry and makeup as women, Morin continued. “They painted their lips, cheeks and the bottoms of their feet red.

“And they wore eyeliner — thick black lines around the eyes to absorb the rays of the sun, to reduce the glare, to see better. Who does that today?”

“Football players and baseball players,” said the sixth grade.

Morin described, with apparent relish, how Egyptian priests removed body parts from corpses for preservation and use in the next life, and how they stopped short of preserving the brain.

“They didn’t know what it was,” said Morin. “They thought it was just stuffing.”

And she took them through the mythology to explain why a small amulet with the Eye of Horus was considered as valuable a first aid treatment as a bandage.

Then it was time to try on some replica jewelry and shake the cobwebs out with some Egyptian dancing, including a version of the 1980s dance craze keyed to the Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

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