Institute of Archaeology


Themes and Debates in Egyptian Archaeology

The module explores major themes and debates in Egyptian archaeology, aiming to expand them by relating Egyptian evidence to research agendas from wider archaeology, history and social anthropology. Topics include representations of society, agency and social structure, practices of ap­propri­ation and the multi-dimensional analysis of Egyptian burial practices.

We will review main categories of Egyptian evidence – tombs, temples, elite and non-elite settlements as well as other elements of material culture, imagery and writing – to investigate how and to which end they have been used in Egyptological interpretation. We will explore method­ological approaches as well as theoretical concepts of society and social dynamics which underlie these engagements. A focus on case studies from current research combined with a survey of the evidence in question will help to identify potentials and challenges for future research and open new perspectives on the material in question. Research-led throughout, the module aims to not only acquaint participants with current research in Egyptian archaeology, but to support them in developing their own interpretive frameworks, drawing on wider debates in social and cultural studies. The module is taught through a series of ten two-hour lectures and discussion-based seminars.

Aims of the course

  • To introduce Egyptian society and culture to students from a wide range of disciplines, including archaeology, history, and anthropology on an advanced level
  • To facilitate understanding of social-cultural mechanisms and trajectories of Egyptian society in a long-term perspective
  • To integrate Egyptology with debates in the wider social and cultural sciences
  • To define innovative research designs in the context of ancient Egypt


After successful completion of the course students should

  • Understand long-term developments and mechanisms in Egyptian society
  • Be able to combine texts, images, and material culture within coherent frameworks of interpretation
  • Be able to apply research models of the social and cultural sciences to data from ancient Egypt
  • Be familiar with analytical approaches relevant for understanding early complex societies
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the potential of Ancient Egypt for understanding early complex civilizations
  • Be able to produce logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, students should be able to

  • Assess reasonably and critically multiple sources
  • Use library/archival facilities independently and competently
  • Solve problems based on real data sets
  • Produce reasoned and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence
  • Make effective and appropriate use of various forms of visual presentation

Teaching Methods

The course is taught through a series of 10 weekly two-hour thematic seminar sessions. The teaching design is interactive including discussion, group work and short presentations by students.

Course information

  • Code: ARCL0147 (formerly ARCLG226)
  • Credits: 15
  • Coordinator: Claudia Naeser
  • Prerequisite: None
  • Handbook: open»

For registered students


  • Running in 2018-19