Postgraduate Course: Themes in Egyptian archaeology: the foundations of the state to the end of the Middle Kingdom (PGHC11463)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course introduces students to the study of the archaeology and history of ancient Egypt from the start of the 1st Dynasty at c. 3000 BC, and through the two Pyramid Ages of the Old and Middle Kingdoms, ending at c. 1650 BC. The course will focus on providing a basic solid grounding on the chronology, geography, society and political organisation of Egypt during this period. It will furthermore look to aspects of religion, daily life, and provide some insights into art and literature, particularly pertinent for the Middle Kingdom, the classic period of Egyptian literature. Discussion of recent theories and debates will be a key part of the MSc seminar that is additional to the lecture/seminar attended by MA students as well.
The content of this course will reflect scholarly research into Egyptian religion from the earliest times right up until today, and discussion of changing scholarly opinion and interpretations will be flagged up during the weekly meetings, with particular debates forming a focal point of the MSc weekly seminars which will be related to the main theme of the week's lecture. The course will also promote familiarity with archaeological sites, and the history of their excavation, as well as bringing students into contact with artefacts through images, publications and museum collections online.
Proposed course syllabus:
1) Introduction to course aims and weekly topics. Overview of the natural and political geography of Egypt, her environment, and its importance for studying ancient Egypt. The origins of the Egyptian state. (The chronological framework - sources and limitations of the historical chronology. Presentation of key resources to be used during the course.)
2) Unifying and controlling Egypt: the foundation of a capital of Upper and Lower Egypt and its effects on the country during the 1st and 2nd Dynasty.
3) Consolidating Egypt: foundation and administration in the Old Kingdom. Provinces and their governors.
4) Mortuary landscapes of the Old Kingdom: royal and private funerary traditions. Pyramid texts for the kings and the appearance of coffin texts.
5) Providing for a State: provisioning for state projects.
6) Beyond Borders: foreign relations in the Old Kingdom.
7) Decline and disaster?: the 'collapse' at the end of the Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate Period.
8) The re-unification of Egypt and the later 11th Dynasty.
9) Protecting Egypt: the royal focus on the Fayum and safeguarding of Egypt's southern borders.
10) Daily life in Middle Kingdom Egypt: production as seen through texts, images and archaeological examples.
11) Realism and pessimism in Middle Kingdom art and literature.
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Presentation: submission of voice recording over slide presentation (20%)
3,000 word Book or Article Review Essay (80%)
||Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours for this course or by appointment.
Formative feedback will be given midway through the semester on a plan of the book/major article review.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate a clear understanding of archaeological data, including sites, artefacts and chronology from the Old Kingdom, First Intermediate Period and Middle Kingdom;
- demonstrate familiarity with the ability to locate sources relating to Egyptological research, both in print and online;
- have a good appreciation of some of the outstanding problems in research into Old Kingdom-end of Middle Kingdom Egypt, and the ability to locate and weigh up a range of sources to assess the suitability of researchers' publications both today, and in the past;
- clearly present synopses of articles/book chapters, drawing out key points to lead a structured discussion on key themes.
|Bourriau, J. 1988. Pharaohs and Mortals: Egyptian Art in the Middle Kingdom. Cambridge: Fitzwilliam Museum.|
Moreno García, J. C. (ed.), Ancient Egyptian administration, 341-392. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
Grajetzki, W. 2006. The Middle Kingdom of ancient Egypt: history, archaeology and society. Duckworth Egyptology. London: Duckworth.
Kemp, B.J. 2006. Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization. London: Routledge.
Lehner, M. 1997. The Complete Pyramids. London: Thames and Hudson.
Lichtheim, M. 1976. Ancient Egyptian Literature. Vol I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Miniaci, G. and Grajetzki, W. (eds). 2016. The World of Middle Kingdom Egypt (2000-1550 BC). Vol. I. London: Golden House.
Miniaci, G. and Grajetzki, W. (eds). 2016. The World of Middle Kingdom Egypt (2000-1550 BC). Vol. II. London: Golden House.
Oppenheim, A, Arnold, D., Arnold, D. and Yamamoto, K. (eds). 2015. Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Parkinson, R. 1991. Voices from Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Middle Kingdom Writings. London: British Museum Press.
Richards, J. E. 2005. Society and Death in Ancient Egypt: mortuary landscapes of the Middle Kingdom. Cambridge.
Szpakowska, K. 2008. Daily Life in Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Blackwell.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||- Fine tuning an understanding of the methods and skills involved in academic research
- Bibliographical skills for Egyptological research, largely transferrable to other research areas
- Developing the skills to examine and evaluate textual (in translation), pictorial and other archaeological sources
- Developing the ability to identify, define and analyse archaeological problems, and to present alternative viewpoints
- Confidence in critical review of articles through discussion in MSc seminars and written report
- Clear understanding of the history of Egyptological research from the Early Dynastic until the end of the Middle Kingdom
- Knowledge of key themes in Egyptology today
- Balanced research perspective, taking into account written sources in translation, artistic representation, architecture, mortuary practices, site data, and climatic and environmental research
|Course organiser||Dr Joanne Rowland
Tel: (0131 6)51 1925
|Course secretary||Miss Annabel Stobie
Tel: (0131 6)50 3783