nl en

Archaeology of Private Religion in Ancient Egypt


Admission requirements

Archeologie van het Oude Nabije Oosten

BA3 Students of the Bachelor Archeology of the University Leiden are eligible for this course, without the admission requirement Archeologie van het Oude Nabije Oosten, if places are available.


The topic of this class will be the archaeology of household and community cults and rituals throughout ancient Egyptian history. By discussing the various definitions of private, popular and household religion, the student will become familiar with the difficulties of the field and recent approaches from an anthropological perspective. This course will further assess the dialectic between ritual and religion. Throughout the seminar, the physical remains of ritual will be studied and examined first-hand in light of recent theoretical developments. We will discuss evidence for official and private religion and its interplay in a broad range of examples. Landscapes and mortuary assemblages will play vital roles in evaluating the archaeological evidence and artistic expression of ritual and religion.

During a class visit to the Rijksmuseum in Leiden, various objects related to private religion will be studied. Readings of different text types such as prayers, petitions and letters, in addition to discussions of translations, will furthermore contextualize the archaeological evidence and lead to a comprehensive understanding of private religion in ancient Egypt.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students will have acquired further knowledge of the archaeology and material culture of ancient Egypt and they will be able to examine and interpret archaeological data within its various contexts. They will be experienced in approaching a specific research topic through the study of objects, archaeological remains in combination with textual evidence.

Also this course corresponds with the following learning outcomes of the BA Ancient Near Eastern Studies:

I.1a, I.1b, I.1c, I.1d, I.1e, I.2a, I.2b, I.2c, I.3a, I.3b, I4a, I.4b, I.5a, IV.1a, IV.1b

General (Departmental) Academic Skills: I 1t/m 6, II.1 en 2, III.1 en III.2, IV 1 t/m 3


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

Preparation of a discussion in class, translation of short texts, oral presentation in class with proposal and bibliography and research paper.

Partial Grade Weighing
Class participation and attendance 10%
Leading one or two discussions 30% (15% each)
Class presentation (20 minutes presentation) 20%
Final paper - Proposal and bibliography 10%
Final paper (15 pages including bibliography) 30%


The final paper can be retaken.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

The literature for each class will be advertised on Brightspace before the start of the course.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory. General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website