Institute of Archaeology


Language and Script in the Archaeology of Egypt and Sudan

This module explores the material evidence for diverse languages in a changing Nile environment, with a focus on ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the earliest script of Africa.

Language and script image

This module introduces students to the diverse environments of language and script in the Nile Valley, accessible to us through the archaeological record. Starting from class discussion of our own languages, we will assess how different traditions have described language, and then meet the sounds and forms of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing through its African horizons in fauna, flora and material culture. The direct encounter with objects in the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian and Sudanese Archaeology will provide inspiring ground for understanding the principles, materials and histories of Egyptian hieroglyphic and cursive scripts. Alongside these, we will explore the archaeological evidence for the Sudanese languages Meroitic and Nubian and their scripts, and later use of Greek and Arabic in the Nile Valley.

Module information

For registered students

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  • Runs every year