BA Latin and Italian / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Art and Technology in Ancient Egypt

Course unit fact file
Unit code CAHE25762
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Perhaps the most impactful aspect of ancient Egyptian civilization are the thousands of pieces of sculpture, stela, fragments of temple decoration and monuments found throughout Egypt and in every major museum collection in the world. This unit will examine how these objects and structures were created. It will examine the use of materials in ancient Egypt (stone, pottery, textile etc) and the technologies employed by the ancient Egyptians both in their everyday work and life and in the creation of grand tombs, temples and works of art. It will examine what the ancient Egyptians understood by ‘art’ and what role was held in society by craftspeople and ‘artists’. It will utilise the Manchester Museum’s extensive collection of Egyptian artefacts to provide the students with extensive experience in handling ancient artefacts.


· to introduce students to the materials, techniques and object types which survive from ancient Egypt.

· to provide students with an understanding of how the ancient Egyptians perceived ‘art’ and ‘artists’.

· to provide students with the opportunity to handle, in a safe environment, ancient objects.

· to encourage students to critically assess ancient artefacts and determine their uses, function and manufacturing techniques.

Knowledge and understanding

· to show an understanding of how the Egyptian constructed monumental architecture.

· to demonstrate an awareness of the various object types which make up the majority of Ancient Egyptian museum collections.

· to provide a clear overview of the main methods of manufacture used by the Egyptians to create a wide range of object types from pottery, stone, wood and other materials.

Intellectual skills

· to effectively conduct independent research.

· to present a cogent argument in oral and written form.

· to critically analyse an ancient artefact and comment on its use and the techniques used in its manufacture.

Practical skills

· to safely handle and analyse ancient artefacts.

· to effectively and independently manage time.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

· to discuss problems and questions in a group setting.

· to engage critically with ancient artefacts and architectural remains.

· to construct and present a clear, reasoned argument in written form.

Employability skills

This course will be particularly suited for students wishing to undertake work or further study within the museum sector. It will focus strongly on archaeological materials from ancient Egypt ¿ objects and artefacts ¿ and aside from a theoretical background, will give students the opportunity to learn how to safely handle and visually analyse a wide range of ancient Egyptian objects.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 40%
Written assignment (inc essay) 60%

Feedback methods

Written feedback

Oral feedback in a dedicated seminar session and upon request during office hours

Recommended reading

· Hartwig, M. K (ed.). 2015. A Companion to Ancient Egyptian Art. Wiley Blackwell.

· Paice, P. 1997. The Pottery of Daily Life in Ancient Egypt. Benben Publications.

· Robins, G. 2008. The Art of Ancient Egypt. British Museum Press.

· Shaw, I. 2012. Ancient Egyptian Technology and Innovation. Bristol Classic Press.

· Shaw, I. and Nicholson, P. 2000. Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technologies. Cambridge University Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nicky Nielsen Unit coordinator

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