Ancient Egypt has been the subject of scientific, academic and religious study for many years. This branch of history is a more thematic branch of the larger and broader disciplines of ancient history and archaeology. Many mysteries still surround the ancient Egyptians which provided a lot of scope for research and excavation: Egyptian archaeology is constantly being questioned and even the chronology of events is disputed on a regular basis as many artefacts and relics have disappeared or been destroyed.
The civilisation of ancient Egypt lasted for over 3000 years and is divided into several different periods according to the dynasty of the ruling Pharaoh. This meant that the ancient Egyptians saw many changes in their beliefs and how they lived. It is thought that the first settlers arrived at the edge of the Nile in around 3500BC and that by 3100BC hieroglyphic script was in use, with embalming and the mummification process to aid transition into the afterlife following a few hundred years later. By 2700BC the first stone pyramid was built with the famous pyramids of Giza being built some years later. The most famous Egyptian ruler is undoubtedly, Tutankhamun, but his fame seems to have increased in death rather that anything notable he did while he was ruler of Egypt. However, things had begun to change dramatically by around 525BC. Egypt had been conquered by the Persians and then was conquered again 200 years later by Alexander the Great who had already conquered most of Greece.
Two main events over the last two hundred years helped to create the Egyptologist as we understand it today. The Rosetta Stone, a stone decree from Ptolemy V written in three languages including hieroglyphs which was written in around 196BC was found by French soldiers in Egypt in 1799. It was later deciphered in 1822 by Jean Francois Champollion which started a huge interest in ancient Egypt. A hundred years later Howard Carter discovered and opened the tomb of Tutankhamun which was in remarkable condition and many of the artefacts such as the famous striking gold funeral mask and other paraphernalia were recovered. The interest in ancient Egypt and the people, architecture and beliefs of the time means that Egyptology can now be studied as an undergraduate degree.
Example areas of study
Courses in Egyptology vary from institution to institution so it is advisable to check with them directly. The subjects listed below will give you a general idea of what you may study on an Egyptology course.
- Egyptian grammar
- Egyptian civilisation
- History and archaeology of ancient Egypt
- Middle Egyptian language and Hieroglyphic script
- Egyptian art
- Museum Studies
- Egyptian epigraphy
- Culture, Religion and beliefs
- Egyptian foreign relations
- Egyptian languages
- Middle Kingdom literature
- Languages: ancient Egyptian and Arabic for example
- Egyptian art
- Egyptian Town and Country
Some careers possibilities
Studying Egyptology may allow you to become and Egyptologist specialising in areas such as artefacts or translation. It may also be possible to become museum curator or teacher or lecturer. Postgraduate and research opportunities are also available in areas such as Egyptian archaeology and culture.
What do I need to get on a course?
Entry requirements for Egyptology courses vary between different institutions so it is a good idea to check with them first. These entry requirements listed below intend to give you an idea of what you will need to get on your chosen course.
- UCAS Tariff: 280 - 360 points preferably including a historical subject
- A-levels: BBC - AAA preferably including a historical subject
- SQA Highers: BBBBC - AABBC
- SQA Advanced Highers: BBB
- International Baccalaureate: 32 - 43 points
- Welsh Baccalaureate: AA
- Irish Leaving Certificates: BBBBB
- BTEC National Diploma: MMM - DDM
For your application or interview, evidence of the following may be useful:
- A solid interest in classical and ancient history and if possible evidence of previous study.
To find out more about the typical subjects you will study, potential career paths and further information useful for your application log-on to Course Discover at www.coursediscoveronline.co.uk*
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