MA Egyptology

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Identity and the Individual in Ancient Egypt

Course unit fact file
Unit code CAHE66411
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


Overview: This 15-credit module is an optional part of the part-time online master’s in Egyptology and will be taught during the first semester of the second year. The first part of the module addresses the various historical biases in the study of ancient Egyptian women before it progresses to discuss significant aspects in the life of women in ancient Egypt (pregnancy and child-birth, work and the role of women in religion). The module focuses predominately on the role of non-royal women but will also address specific historical characters such as the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut and their significance in the development of ancient Egyptian society. A portion of the module addresses the role and societal view of alternative sexualities in ancient Egypt and also other marginalised communities, by addressing slavery in pre-Hellenistic Egypt.



Historical Studies of Ancient Egypt; Urbanism in Ancient Egypt; Art and Artists in Ancient Egypt.



The unit aims to:

1. provide the students with a comprehensive overview of the role and influence of women in Pharaonic Egypt.

2. assess the degree to which the study of women in ancient Egypt has been hampered by attitudes of past male scholars.

3. provide the students with the ability to select and assess textual sources in translation to formulate an academic argument.

4. study aspects of female life in ancient Egypt including childbirth, work and power, as well as ownership of property and inheritance rights.

5. provide the students with an overview of other classes of society in Egypt than the heteronormative male aspect which is most commonly discussed including the presence and societal attitudes to alternative sexualities in ancient Egypt?

6. assess the differences and similarities between the role of women in Graeco-Roman Egypt and the rest of the Graeco-Roman world.


Teaching and learning methods



Knowledge and understanding

Demonstrate an understanding of the historical biases in the study of women and gender within Egyptology. 

Show knowledge of the different types of source material which evidence the daily life and roles of women in Pharaonic society.

Intellectual skills

Demonstrate the ability to address issues of gender, sexuality and identity in an ancient society without including modern perceptions and biases. 

Construct a cogent academic argument on the basis of assemblages of textual, iconographic and archaeological data.

Practical skills

Understand various types of bias in the historical record and address these in research projects.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Discuss controversial topics in a friendly and respectful manner in a written format. 

Demonstrate the ability to interpret and disseminate fragmentary data assemblages.

Assessment methods

Discussion Board 0%

Essay 65%

Case Study 35%

Feedback methods

Discussion board - ongoing feedback

Essay - written feedback within 15 working days

Recommended reading

Budin, S. L. and J. M. Turfa (ed.) 2016. Women in Antiquity: Real Women Across the Ancient World. Routledge: New York. 

Chapel, A. K. and G. E. Markoe (ed.) 1996. Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven: Women in Ancient Egypt. Hudson Hills Press: New York.

Hamilton, S., R. D. Whitehouse and K. I. Wright (ed.) 2007. Archaeology and Women: Ancient and Modern Issues. Left Coast press: Walnut Creek.

Lion, B. 2016. The Role of Women in Work and Society in the Ancient Near East. De Gruyter.

Robins, G. 1993. Women in Ancient Egypt. British Museum Press.

Tyldesley, J. 1994. Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt. Viking: Harmondsworth.

Tyldesley, J. 1998. Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh. Penguin: London.

Tyldesley, J. 1998. Nefertiti: Egypt’s Sun Queen. Viking: London.

Watterson, B. A. 1998. Women in Ancient Egypt. Wren’s Park: Thrupp.

Wilfong, T. G. 1997. Women and Gender in Ancient Egypt: From Prehistory to Late Antiquity. Kelsey Museum of Archaeology: Ann Arbor.

Youngkin, M. 2016. British Women Writers and the Reception of Ancient Egypt, 1840-1910: Imperialist Representations of Egyptian Women. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Joyce Tyldesley Unit coordinator

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