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.

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.

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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.

Course Outline

Please note that main content will be delivered between 18:00-19:30, though some optional participation (quizzes, Q&A, etc.) may continue beyond that time. 

Tuesday 28 May 2024, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week One - What, where and how the ancient Egyptians wrote
In our first class, we will learn about the different types of text, writing surfaces and different scripts used by ancient Egytians. Plus, an introduction to the Egyptian “alphabet” and how to write it.

Tuesday 4 June 2024, 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 11 June 2024, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week Three - Cartouches and kings
We will examine the names of the Middle Kingdom kings and their royal titles in hieroglyphs. You will also learn how to look up signs.

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Tuesday 18 June 2024, 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 25 June 2024, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week Five - Offering to the dead
In our final class, we will translate the offering formula, which can be found on many private funerary monuments. Basic prepositions will also be introduced. 

Booking and information

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Register for your place in advance using the link below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about your booking. 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.

Dr Joseph Clayton

Dr Joseph Clayton

Ancient Egyptian language specialist

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