KS2 History: Ancient Egypt. Hussein - The Water Boy

This story - based on fact - follows Hussein, a young water carrier working at Howard Carter's excavations in the Valley of the Kings in 1922.

Hussein - The Water Carrier

This story follows 12-year-old Hussein, a water carrier working at Howard Carter's excavations in the ‘Valley of the Kings’ in 1922.

It tells us of Hussein’s role in discovering the tomb of King Tutankhamun. We hear how Hussein uncovered a stone which was the first of a number of steps leading to the entrance of the tomb.

Our character Hussein is based on the real-life figure Hussein Abdul-Rasoul. There is a photograph of Hussein wearing a necklace from Tutankhamun's tomb and in his diaries Carter wrote that the child had been chosen as the model for the photograph in recognition of his important role in the discovery of the tomb. Hussein maintained in later life that his contribution was to uncover the very first step leading to the tomb and, although Carter's diaries do not confirm this be the case, it has been widely accepted as most likely true.

We explore how exciting and important this particular discovery was. Hussein shows us inside the excavated tomb and tells us how it felt to be a part of such a special discovery which found the majority of items and artefacts untouched for 3000 years.

We learn about Howard Carter and his team and their dedication and persistence in uncovering this tomb and all its riches.

Pupils will gain an understanding of what it felt like to be involved in discovering this important tomb as well as practical information about what they uncovered during their excavation.

Teacher's Notes

This video helps pupils to explore the discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamun from a different perspective. It tells the story through the eyes of a local 12-year-old boy who worked with the discovery team carrying their water.

As the video progresses it helps pupils to consider the roles of others within the story. The story highlights how all members of a team have a valuable role which contributes to the overall achievements.

This resource provides an opportunity for pupils to learn about the importance of historical sources and how these are used to help us to learn about the past.

After watching the animation there are opportunities to explore and develop creative writing, oracy, comprehension, capacity and measuring with activities based on life at the excavation site in 1922. They can also begin to explore through ‘Personal and Social Education’ the importance of a team and its members.

Points for discussion (History Linked)

  • How did Hussein feel during his daily work?
  • Do you think his thoughts and feelings changed when he discovered the tomb?
  • How would you feel if you had been Hussein and made this discovery?
  • Why was King Tutankhamen’s tomb so special?
  • How many items did Howard Carter believe they had to catalogue from the tomb?
  • What kind of things did they find in Tutankhamun’s tomb?
  • Why are sources important to help us to find out about the past?

Suggested activities (Cross curricular opportunities):

Creative WritingDevelopment of a diary entry or journal as various characters from the clip. Pupils can take the role of Hussein, Howard Carter or others involved. Through their writing, they can explore how the characters felt, what happened during their time and the impact of the discoveries on them.

Role PlayPupils to develop a role play activity to re-create the scenes from the animation taking the roles of various characters. Using freeze frames to explore the feelings and emotions of the characters in more detail throughout the performances.

Designing a Ushabti- Pupils to develop designs on a ushabti in the style that they found in King Tut’s tomb. Pupils to research Ancient Egyptian art and artefacts to encompass this into their work. Pupils can explain their designs orally to their peers.

Exploring Sources - Pupils to be presented with illustrations of various items from the excavation. (Photographs, artefacts, diary entries etc). They must match these to whether they are a visual, physical or written source.

Where is Egypt? - Pupils to use a base map of Egypt and atlases (pitched at the correct level) to plot key parts of Ancient Egypt (the River Nile, key cities, Valley of the Kings etc). Can pupils use coordinates to specify the location of these points correctly?

Volume and CapacityPupils are given a variety of images of measuring jugs, marked with varying scales. Can pupils add the waterline to show the amount that would be in each jug from the labels? Can the pupils convert the ml to litres. Could the pupils read scales from the jugs and note the volume of liquid contained in each jug? Could the pupils explore and compare units between ml and litres to find out which volumes are larger? Can they order jugs in terms of volume mixed between ml and litres?

Curriculum Notes

This film is relevant for teaching History at KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 2nd Level in Scotland.

More from this series

Nanu - The Farm Girl
Society and culture
The River Nile

See also...

KS2 Music: Ancient Egypt
Song: 'Out of the gloom, Tutankhamun'