ACABS 291 - Topics in Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies
Section: 101 Sieving Sand and Scouring Texts: The Many Facets of Egyptian Archaeology
Term: SP 2008
Subject: Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies (ACABS)
Department: LSA Middle East Studies
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

This is an introductory course on the archaeology of ancient Egypt and is accessible to undergraduates with no previous background in either Egyptology or archaeology. Our journey spans almost 3,000 years of ancient Egyptian archaeology and history as we study Pharaonic Egypt in three parts:

First, we will discuss how the history of Pharaonic Egypt has been transmitted to us — from the ancient Greeks’ fascination with Egyptian religion to the frantic scribbles of Napoleon’s artists as they followed his troops through Egypt. We will read excerpts from the memoirs of famous (and infamous) 19th-century explorers and learn why scandalous pink pajamas form a part of the history of archaeology in Egypt. We will cover the essential elements of Egyptian mythological narratives and the most significant gods and goddesses, as well as the basic elements of hieroglyphs and their decipherment in the early 19th century.

In the second part of the course, we will investigate archaeological sites and monuments that illustrate how layer upon layer of human activity creates a landscape seeped in different meanings. Our discussions will include pyramid complexes and the evolution of the pyramid form; village life; the temples of Karnak and Luxor; and the city of Tell el-Amarna, the ancient home of Nefertiti and the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten. The instructor will draw on her excavation experiences in Egypt to illustrate everyday life and work on a variety of archaeological expeditions, replete with photos!

In the third section, we will focus on contemporary and challenging issues in ancient Egyptian archaeology, such as identity; sexuality in art and literature; the so-called “dark ages” of history; and the intersection of Egyptology and Biblical narratives.

The requirements for this class include three non-cumulative exams; two brief, 1-page, essays, and attendance at lectures.

ACABS 291 - Topics in Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies
Schedule Listing
101 (LEC)
TuTh 10:00AM - 1:00PM
102 (LEC)
MW 1:00PM - 4:00PM
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