EES Language Courses will be taught on Tuesday evenings by Joseph Clayton. Recordings will be made available for those unable to attend the live sessions!

Whether you just want to impress your friends and family in a museum or on holiday in Egypt, or you want to learn the basics of the ancient Egyptian language with a view to further study, this is the course for you.

We will concentrate on the hieroglyphs of the Middle Kingdom (c. 2000-1600 BCE), but you’ll be able to apply what you have learnt to monuments from all periods of pharaonic history. We’ll start by learning to read the hieroglyphic signs, and when we’re comfortable with that, we’ll look at some kings’ names in cartouches and then continue to some simple inscriptions from funerary stelae. We’ll learn some very basic grammar as we go along.

Funerary stela of Amenemhat, (British Museum EA587).

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to read some of the most common inscriptions found on monuments and in museums as well as knowing other useful things for continuing your study of the Ancient Egyptian language.

This course requires no previous knowledge of Ancient Egyptian nor does it require any particular aptitude for languages. Having some knowledge of Ancient Egyptian history would be useful but is not essential. There are no tests or exams but each week, to practise what we have learnt, a simple task will be given to do at home. These tasks will be optional.



Joseph Clayton is a specialist in the Ancient Egyptian Language. He has a PhD in Egyptian Philology/Linguistics from the University of Liverpool and taught Ancient Egyptian language at Birkbeck College, University of London for nearly twenty years. He is the author of Mental Illnesses in the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Heart: a reassessment of §§854a–855z of the Ebers Medical Papyrus (2021).

Course Dates

Tuesday 6th June, 18:00-19:30 (UK) time
Week one – What, where and how the ancient Egyptians wrote - explore the different types of text, writing surfaces and different scripts used in ancient Egypt. Plus, an introduction to the Egyptian “alphabet” and how to write it.

Tuesday 13th June, 18:00-19:30 (UK) time
Week two – More signs and reading first words More sound-signs will be examined during our second week, alongside meaning-signs (determinatives). We will be reading our first words, and looking at our first real inscription.

Tuesday 20th June, 18:00-19:30 (UK) time
Week three – Cartouches and signs - We will examine the names of the Middle Kingdom kings and their royal titles in hieroglyphs. We will also discuss looking up signs.

Tuesday 27th June, 18:00-19:30 (UK) time
Week Four – Officials and family members - Job titles and words for family members will be the focus of this class, as well as possessives in Egyptian.

Tuesday 4th July, 18:00-19:30 (UK) time
Week Five – Offering to the dead - You will learn the offering formula, which is found on private funerary monuments. We will also learn basic prepositions.

Recordings of the live sessions will be made available to attendees following the weekly session for those unable to attend in person. 


Members of the Egypt Exploration Society can book at a heavily discounted rate. If you’re not yet a member but would like to join in order to receive this discount, please ensure that you have joined here. If you are a Cairo Associate, then please contact our Cairo Office to reserve your discounted tickets: [email protected] 

Register for your place in advance using the links below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the course. Links for joining the event will be sent by email. If you do not receive your email, then please check your junk folders before contacting the Egypt Exploration Society. The course will be held on our Zoom platform and attendees will be able to interact by asking questions, using the chat and polls. It is not necessary to have a working webcam or microphone for this course. The online course will be complemented by Google Drive, where resources will be uploaded.

Please ensure that you have read our guide to attending EES online events before the course begins.

Book a place

Ticket Quantity Price

EES member - 50% discount

Decrease Increase £60.00


Decrease Increase £120.00

EES student member - 75% discount

Decrease Increase £30.00