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MA Egyptology

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Art and Artists in Ancient Egypt

Unit code CAHE66132
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Classics, Ancient History & Egyptology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This 15-credit module is a compulsory part of the part-time online master’s in Egyptology and will be taught during the second semester of the first year. The module will equip the students with a fundamental understanding of ancient Egyptian materials and technologies, as well as the art and artists produced during by the Pharaonic civilisation. The first part of the module concerns the some of the methods and theories employed by Egyptology to address the concept of ‘art’ in an ancient Egyptian concept. It also focuses on the ancient Egyptian cannons and conventions of physical decorations and expressions. The second part of the module focuses on the management of art and artists; the procurement of specific resources, the infrastructure required to house workshops and artisans etc. The third part of the module provides in-depth studies of the main materials used by ancient Egyptian artisans and craftsmen (stone, pottery, wood, metals, faience, glass and linen) as well as the type of objects and ‘works of art’ produced using these materials.  


The unit aims to:


1. explore the concept of art with reference to the ancient Egyptian artistic cannons and conventions.

2. explore how the production of materials were organised within ancient Egyptian society.

3. focus on common materials worked by the ancient Egyptians and their uses.

4. provide the students with a basic understanding of the material culture of ancient Egypt and the uses of different objects within the contexts of daily life, religious ritual and funerary architecture.

5. provide the students with a detailed understanding of the tools and techniques employed by ancient Egyptian artisans to produce a variety of different materials (pottery, glass, stone objects, wooden objects, faience etc.).





Teaching and learning methods

effectively conduct research independently.


assimilate large amounts of data in various formats.


Knowledge and understanding

demonstrate basic understanding of the principles of art history and art historical analysis.


demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the concepts of art as it relates to ancient Egypt (cannons and conventions).


show knowledge of different materials and object types produced by ancient Egyptian artisans and craftsmen.



Intellectual skills

construct cogent academic arguments in a written form.


critically evaluate and analyse historical data.


display understanding of the theoretical framework employed in the study of works of art.


Practical skills

structure an academic arguments in a written format.


date a variety of object types by physical examination.


Transferable skills and personal qualities

effectively conduct research independently.


assimilate large amounts of data in various formats.


Assessment methods

Discussion Boards, 10%
Essay, 3500 words, 90%

Recommended reading

Barta, M. (ed.) 2006. The Old Kingdom Art and Archaeology: Proceedings of the Conference Held in Prague, May 31-June 4, 2004. Czech Institute of Egyptology: Prague.


Hartwig, M. K. 2015. A Companion to Ancient Egyptian Art. Wiley Blackwell: Chichester.


Meskell, L. 2004. Object Worlds in Ancient Egypt: Material Biographies Past and Present. Berg: Oxford.


Nicholson, P. T. and I. Shaw (ed.) 2000. Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.


Robins, G. 1994. Proportion and Style in Ancient Egyptian Art. University of Texas Press: Austin.


Robins, G. 1997. The Art of Ancient Egypt. Harvard University Press: Cambridge.


Schafer, H. 1986. Principles of Egyptian Art. Griffith Institute: Oxford.


Shaw, I. 2012. Ancient Egyptian Technology and Innovation: Transformations in Pharaonic Material Culture. Bristol Classic Press: London.


Smith, W. S. 1998. The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt. Yale University Press: New Haven.


Whitney, D. 1989. The Canonical Tradition in Ancient Egyptian Art. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.


Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Joyce Tyldesley Unit coordinator

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