Recordings will be made available for those unable to attend the live sessions!

Created to endure for eternity, Egyptian sculpture often has interconnected stories to tell about their makers, users, and admirers. Representations of gods, kings, and important members of society often provide important insights into how the Egyptians viewed the world around them, and the wider ideological and religious connections of such objects.

This five-week course will consider a wide-ranging set of statues from multiple ancient contexts across Egypt and explore their stories by considering how such objects functioned, why some images were deliberately damaged or reused, and what kind of artistic trends we can observe in royal and elite sculpture. This course will provide a deeper understanding of Egyptian sculpture by delving into fascinating representations and themes that span over three millennia, attesting to the power and intrigue of these ancient objects which still prevails today.

No prior knowledge of Egyptian sculpture or history is required, as we will cover the key concepts of sculpture in the initial session. The course will also be of interest to those who are already familiar and interested in Egyptian art and material culture more widely, but are looking to gain further knowledge on the subject.



Jen Turner studied Classics at the University of Glasgow and Egyptology at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests include ancient biographies and elite statuary of the first millennium BC, and her MRes dissertation focused on a selection of Third Intermediate Period statues from the cachette within Karnak temple. She has previously worked with the Eton Myers collection of Egyptian objects on loan to the University of Birmingham, and is now a Project Curator at the British Museum working on a cataloguing project for stone statuary within the Egyptian collection.

Course Outline

Thursday 29th September, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week One - Getting to Grips with Statues
For our introductory week, we will cover the key concepts of how statues functioned and where we typically find them – we’ll look at some of the earliest surviving examples through to the Graeco-Roman era of Egypt to establish how we can spot a god, a king, and so on.

Thursday 6th October, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week Two - Tradition versus Innovation
This week we’ll explore some examples of conventional sculpture versus innovative trends (and some ‘anomalies’) from several periods of Egyptian history. This includes changing body shapes and faces that develop over time as part of wider political, social and/or religious change, as well as completely new styles of monuments that pop up in later periods.

Thursday 13th October, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week Three - Speaking as a Statue
What do statue inscriptions tell us? For this week we will delve into some iconic statue biographies from various sacred or funerary spaces. We’ll explore what insights we can glean from carefully composed inscriptions of some key elite figures from the late New Kingdom onwards, and how these texts interact with the statue and wider context.  

Thursday 20th October, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week Four - Interacting with a Statue
How did the ancient Egyptians engage with these monuments? Here we’ll not only consider some practical issues like access, visibility, and literacy, but we’ll also encounter some interesting examples of statues from temples and tombs that demonstrate engagement with the living.

Thursday 27th October, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week Five - Damage, Recycling and Reuse
How do we spot a deliberately damaged statue, and why does this happen? This week we’ll look at examples of ancient interactions with statues that involve destruction, erasure, and usurpation of earlier monuments. This will include famous pieces from Amarna, but also wider examples from other periods to assess this practice found throughout Egypt.


20% of your ticket fee will go toward the Society’s Collection FundThank you.

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, then please ensure that you have already joined here. Subscriptions from members include a donation to support and promote Egypt’s cultural heritage. 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.

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