The Secret of the Pharaoh’s Treasure, Part 1

Alexandria JonesAlexandria Jones stood outside her father’s tent. The glare of the sun on the rocky desert hurt her eyes. Holding up a hand to shield her gaze, she spotted her dad (the world-famous archaeologist) arguing with the foreman.

Poor Dad, she thought. He was sure this was the right site, but so far he’s found nothing.

She looked down at her feet, where her faithful dog Ramus waited, panting. “Well, Rammy, it looks like Dad will be busy for while. What do you say? Shall we go exploring?”

Alexandria ducked into the tent for her backpack and canteen.

Thump! Something bounced against the side of the tent. Ramus barked.

Alex stepped outside and looked quickly around. No one was in sight. She saw a fist-sized rock beside the tent, with a note tied to it. She picked it up and read:

Ha! The real Pharaoh’s Treasure lies under a pyramid of stones, and it’s mine. You can’t stop me this time! —Simon Skulk

“Find him, Rammy. Which way did he go?”

Growling, the dog ran down the trail to the valley. Alex followed him, but pulled up short when Ramus started into a dark cave. She swung her backpack off her shoulder and drew out a flashlight.

“The treasure must have been buried in a cave, as some of the later pharaohs were,” she said. “Okay, Rammy. Lead on.”

The cave ended at the foot of a head-high pyramid of small, rough-cut stones. Her father’s enemy was just setting his lantern on the ground.

“You creep!” Alex shouted. “That treasure belongs in a museum.”

The man laughed and reached for a stone. “Not if I find it first. The Pharaoh’s Treasure should bring me a pretty profit!”

Alexandria Jones ran to grab a stone from the pyramid. If she could just uncover the treasure before he did…

Can You Find the Pharaoh’s Treasure?

The Pharaoh’s Pyramid game (pdf, 35.9 KB)

The Pharaoh’s Pyramid is a strategy game for two players. You may print out the pdf game board, which is simply a page scanned from my old math newsletter, or you can draw your own pyramid of stones.

If you draw your own game, experiment with different sized pyramids. How does changing the number of stones affect the strategy of the game?

  • Each player will need a pencil or colored marker. Youngest player gets the choice of going first or second.
  • On your turn, draw an “X” on one or two stones, to remove them from the pyramid. You do not have to work from the top down; you may mark any stones you wish. But if you want to mark two stones on the same turn, they must be touching each other.
  • Take turns marking stones until they are all gone. Whoever marks the last stone uncovers the Pharaoh’s Treasure and wins the game.

To Be Continued…

Read all the posts from the May/June 1998 issue of my Mathematical Adventures of Alexandria Jones newsletter.


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17 thoughts on “The Secret of the Pharaoh’s Treasure, Part 1

  1. Thank you for this! I needed a way to get some life, excitement and kystery back into our math and this looks PERFECT. Especially since my daughter is an ancient Egypt nut.

  2. Hi, Dawn,
    Mine, too! I hope your daughter enjoys the series. There won’t be a whole lot of Egyptian math in this story, but hieroglyphs are coming soon…

  3. This looks great! I am going to blog about this to perhaps bring this to a few more folks who might like it. I can’t wait to intoduce this to my son!

  4. Theresa, Dawn, thank you for the links!
    As I mentioned in the intro article, these stories come from an old newsletter. If I can keep up with it, they should come semi-regularly for at least a couple of years. The newsletter was quarterly, and the stories reflected the seasons (especially around Christmas), so I need to post the articles on approximately the same schedule if I want the timeline to make sense. My goal is to post a story each week, which should keep it all in line—but I know how bad I am at hitting goals!

  5. No promises on the weekly goal, but we should get to hieroglyphs this summer—including how the Egyptians were able to multiply any two numbers using only the times-2 table.

  6. Oh, this looks like so much fun! Thank you for doing this!!! I can’t wait for my dd (Alexandra who used to go by “Alex”) to wake up and read it and play the game. I’ll be posting a link on my blog, too. Thanks again!!!

  7. Thanks, Dana! I hope your “Alex” enjoys it. Looks like she’s a bit of an adventure lady, too, swinging that bo around in karate.

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