93016 - Egyptian Archaeology (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The student will acquire a general knowledge of the methodologies and the most important problems of pharaonic Egyptian archaeology, the countries culture and the diachronic development through the millennia. He/She will be able to critically analyze archaeological documentation, architecture and monuments. Students will have been confronted with the most important elements of its material culture and the contextualization of archaeological data in its chronological, historical-political, economic and religious setting.

Course contents

The course consists of a general introduction into Egyptian archaeology from the 4th millennium B.C.E. until the conquest of Alexander the Great (332 B.C.E).

  • Geography and geology of pharaonic Egypt
  • Taphonomy and preservation conditions of archaeological  materials and features
  • Sites and their use of and adaptation to natural conditions
  • Natural resources


  • Types of archaeological contexts
  • Tombs
  • Temples
  • Settlements


  • Material culture: Materials
  • Ceramics
  • Fayence
  • Glass
  • Wood
  • Stones
  • Metals


  • Material culture: Objects
  • Objects of daily life
  • Funerary objects
  • Imports


  • The history of Egyptian archaeology and its influence on modern research
  • The 18th and 19th centuries: The beginnings and the first expeditions.
  • The late 19th and the early 20th centuries: The heydays of   colonialism and large-scale excavations.
  • From the Second World War until today: New methods.
  • How to use and value the results today?


Mandatory literature for all:

  1. K. BARD, An Introduction to the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt (2aedizione), Cambridge 2015 (anche disponibile la versione Italiana della 1° edizione: K. Bard, Archeologia dell’antico Egitto, Roma 2013).

For the students who regularly visit the class one book out of the following has to be chosen:

  1. W. GRAJETZKI, Burial Customs in Ancient Egypt, London 2003.
  2. N. MOELLER, The Archaeology of Urbanism in Ancient Egypt, Cambridge 2016.
  3. B. KEMP, Ancient Egypt. Anatomy of a Civilization (3a edizione), Cambridge 2018.
  4. I. SHAW/P. NICHOLSON, Materials and Technologies in Ancient Egypt, Cambridge 2000.
  5. D. WENGROW, The Archaeology of Early Egypt. Social transformations in north-east Africa, 10,000 to 2650 BC (= Cambridge world archaeology.), Cambridge 2006.

Those students who do not visit the class two books from the list have to be chosen for the exam.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons

Assessment methods

The exam will be conducted as oral test in order to verify the knowledge acquired by the student during the course. The first part of the exam will be dedicated to some general aspects of Egyptian Archaeology.

Students who demonstrate a wide knowledge of the material culture, the types of archaeological contexts and the history of Egyptian archaeology will receive excellent grades. This includes the ability to identify from photos types of objects, materials, and individual archaeological contexts which were subject to the teaching. Moreover, chronological aspects and the critical analysis following recent research, is relevant.   

Students passing the exam with less than excellent grades need to be able to identify object types, materials, and relevant types of archaeological contexts. They have also to be able to draw a general overview of the history of Egyptian archaeology.

Students who cannot demonstrate an appropriate knowledge of the material culture, the materials etc. will not pass the exam successfully.

Teaching tools

Powerpoint-lectures and web-resources. In addition useful sites for the study of Egyptian archaeology will be presented. 

Office hours

See the website of Henning Franzmeier