People often think that ancient Egypt never evolved over the course of its history. But as working Egyptologists know all too well, this ancient civilization changed constantly.
For more than 3,000 years, the people who lived along the Nile experienced dramatic changes, made extraordinary discoveries and inventions, created stunning monuments, and left fascinating records of their lives. Even today, our knowledge and understanding of how ancient Egyptians lived continues to change and grow.
It’s tempting to think that the ancient Egyptians were far removed from our own 21st-century lives. But once you take deep dives into ancient Egypt, you realize just how rich and deep this civilization is—and just how much of our thinking of it has changed over time.
In The Real Ancient Egypt, discover how modern research sometimes supports—but often refutes—what we thought we knew about the ancient Egyptians and their world. Working Egyptologists Betsy M. Bryan, Melinda Hartwig, Kate Liszka, and Kasia Szpakowska share their insights into this long and complex historical period. You’ll hear stories of kings, priests, and peasants; witness religious rituals, shocking crimes, and military conflicts; encounter extraordinary works of art and architecture; and so much more.
See Ancient Egypt like an Egyptologist
Egyptologists always reinterpret artifacts in light of new information. And even when they don’t have new information and evidence, they have new questions to ask and new ways to look at what we already know.
Part of the beauty of studying ancient Egypt is the room for nuance. Some interpretations are more likely to be correct than others. Some are downright incorrect. But part of what makes Egyptology so much fun is that there are always different ways of looking at and understanding ancient Egypt.
The Real Ancient Egypt puts you in the mindset of a working Egyptologist, reinterpreting artifacts and evidence in a new light and putting together the puzzle of ancient Egypt in new ways to come up with more accurate versions of history.
Gain Modern Insights into Ancient Lives
Throughout these lectures, Professors Bryan, Hartwig, Liszka, and Szpakowska offer fresh insights into over 3,000 years of ancient Egyptian history.
- The Truth about Cats and Gods. Contrary to popular belief, ancient Egyptians didn’t worship cats (an idea misinterpreted by foreigners in ancient Egypt—including the historian Herodotus). Still, cats and cat images did play a role in ancient Egyptian religious practices, such as pilgrimage rites and as manifestations of deities.
- Death—and Everything After. While most people think ancient Egyptians were obsessed with death, they actually were obsessed with the continuation of life. That’s why there are so many objects found in their tombs. These objects had the power to energize the dead for a new life after death. The more stuff, the more power that would be produced.
- Going through the Garbage. Egyptologists and archaeologists frequently find that ancient garbage can tell the most remarkable stories. Searching through the areas where ancient peoples collected their trash—called “middens”—can produce amazing finds. For example, figurines made of local Nile clay tell Egyptologists fascinating stories about the religious beliefs of a particular household.
- Lists to Keep People Safe. In the Third Indeterminate Period of ancient Egyptian history, oracular amulet decrees were used to protect people from harm. These decrees were essentially long lists of things God would protect you from, rolled up and placed in an amulet that would be worn by a child for the rest of their life.
If you think you know everything there is to know about these and other fascinating aspects of ancient Egyptian civilization—well, think again. There’s still so much to learn about even the iconic ancient Egyptians most of us are already familiar with, like King Tut, Cleopatra, and Akhenaten.
Adventure with the Experts
Your four guides in The Real Ancient Egypt bring a range of experience with them to leading this course:
- Betsy M. Bryan has excavated in Egypt for more than 40 years and has led the Temple of Mut project at South Karnak;
- Melinda Hartwig has led tomb projects in Egypt for more than 35 years;
- Kate Liszka directs the Wai el-Hudi Expedition in Egypt’s Eastern Desert; and
- Kasia Szpakowska directed the Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: Second Millennium BCE.
What all four experts have in common is their shared passion for this ancient civilization—a passion forged from years of field experience and a passion they’re eager to share with laypeople who want to know more about this great ancient civilization.
Join them for eye-opening adventures into the past, which make history more real for you than ever before.