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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Daily life in New Kingdom Egypt (online) (PGHC11549)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWhat did ancient Egyptians do in their spare time? How did they deal with physical or mental health problems? What recourse did they have to justice if they were robbed? The course will focus on various aspects of daily life in New Kingdom Egypt (1550-1069 BCE), as it appears in the archaeological material and/or as represented in literary sources.
Course description The lived experience of a peasant working on the field and of a high official belonging to the royal entourage differed widely from each other. For the latter, there is an abundance of written and pictorial sources: there are for example texts discussing the appropriate behaviour in the royal court and tomb scenes showing the tomb owner at a banquette or fulfilling his official duties. Elite tombs may also contain idealized depictions of peasants engaged in agricultural work or craftsmen producing various goods. Such scenes carry important information on some of the technical aspect of ancient Egyptian agriculture and craftmanship, but to reconstruct the day-to-day experience of commoners in the second half of the 2nd millennium BCE, a critical reading of the Egyptian literary sources as well as the study of the excavated settlements, e.g. Deir el-Medina, Amarna, Pi-Ramesse or Elephantine is essential.

In this course we will work with the archaeological material, the pictorial representations as well as with written sources that we will read in translation. Students will have the opportunity to enhance their skills of critically engaging with ancient sources the original language of which they might not command. We will discuss topics such as the ancient Egyptian conception of family life and kinship, domestic and urban architecture, integration and/or segregation of people with physical disabilities and mental health conditions, medicine and magic, justice system and criminal punishment or physical as well as social mobility. These discussions will allow students to reflect on the complex relationship between the individual and the society in ancient and modern times, on the different strategies of how a community integrates those living on the fringes, and on the differences between ancient and modern gender roles.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Archaeology courses at Grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Articulate and apply knowledge of various aspects of daily life in Egypt during the 2nd millennium BCE.
  2. Read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship.
  3. Locate sources relating to Egyptological research.
  4. Assess the varieties of approaches to understanding, constructing, and interpreting the past.
  5. Develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence.
Reading List
Budka, Julia 2015. Between Thebes and Elephantine: busy lives of Egyptian officials. In Jiménez-Serrano, Alejandro and Cornelius von Pilgrim (eds), From the Delta to the Cataract: studies dedicated to Mohamed el-Bialy, 12-23. Leiden; Boston: Brill.

David, Rosalie (ed.) 2014. Voices of ancient Egypt: contemporary accounts of daily life. Voices of an Era. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood.

Depuydt, Leo 2017. The science and the medicine of the ancient Egyptians: a synopsis. Bibliotheca Orientalis 74 (5-6), 473-491.

Eyre, Christopher 2013. The use of documents in pharaonic Egypt. Oxford Studies in Ancient Documents. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kilroe, Loretta (ed.) 2019. Invisible archaeologies: hidden aspects of daily life in ancient Egypt and Nubia. Access Archaeology. Oxford: Archaeopress.

Laes, Christian (ed.) 2017. Disability in antiquity. Rewriting Antiquity. Abingdon; New York: Routledge.

Meskell, Lynn 2002. Private life in New Kingdom Egypt. Princeton; Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Müller, Miriam (ed.) 2015. Household studies in complex societies: (micro) archaeological and textual approaches. Oriental Institute Seminars 10. Chicago: Oriental Institute, University of Chicago.

Olabarria, Leire 2020. Kinship and family in ancient Egypt: archaeology and anthropology in dialogue. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Shaw, Ian and Elizabeth Bloxam (eds) 2020. The Oxford handbook of Egyptology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rocha da Silva, Thais 2018. Reassessing models in gender and domestic space in New Kingdom workmen's villages. In Budin, Stephanie Lynn, Megan Cifarelli, Agnès Garcia-Ventura, and Adelina Millet Albà (eds), Gender and methodology in the ancient Near East: approaches from Assyriology and beyond, 299-312. Barcelona: Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Producing logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence.
Mastering bibliographical, library and IT-based online research skills.
Ability to design and execute a sustained piece of written work.
Ability to question cultural assumptions.
Gaining an understanding how human beings have shaped and been shaped by social, cultural and environmental contexts.
Ability to critique texts by scholars in light of the time and social circumstances of their writing.
Ability to evaluate critically one's own and others' opinions, from an appreciation of the practice of archaeology in its changing theoretical, methodological, professional, ethical, and social context.
Ability to critically work with texts in translation.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Zsuzsanna Vegh
Tel: (0131 6)50 4620
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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