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The origins of Egyptian civilisation


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Degree students (including Dutch BA graduates): BA degree (or equivalent) in Archaeology, Egyptology, Ancient History or other relevant discipline.

SAP and Exchange Students: BA degree. Admission only after formal application.


The course deals with the emergence of a unique culture and complex society in Egypt in the 5th-3rd millennia BC, through studying various topics such as the intensification of food production, the concentration of human population at specific sites, an emerging inequality in burials, specialisation in craft production, the expansion of an interregional exchange network, the appearance of symbolic items, the construction of monumental architecture, and the development of writing.

Course objectives

  • To understand the development of culture and society in the 5th-3rd millennia BC;

  • To gain awareness of the current state of research into the origins of Egyptian civilisation;

  • To become familiar with accessing study resources and to use them critically;

  • To give an oral presentation on your study topic and to lead a discussion afterwards;

  • To write a paper on your study topic, while assessing the literature critically and presenting your own opinion.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • Class attendance (0,5 ects);

  • Oral presentation (2 ects);

  • Essay (2,5 ects).


Course schedule details can be found in the MA time schedule.

Mode of instruction

The course starts with 3 or 4 introductory lectures by the lecturer, and is followed by class meetings for the student presentations. All students are asked to give at least 1 oral presentation on one topic and to lead a discussion, and to write an essay about the topic, by using the literature suggested in the reading list.

Assessment method

  • Class attendance;

  • Oral presentation;

  • Essay.

Assessment deadline

The deadline for submission of the essay is 1 week after the end of the course.

Reading list

Will be provided during the first meeting.


Register for this course via uSis.
Instructions for registration can be found in the uSis manual.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Contractonderwijs: all information (costs, registration, entry requirements, etc.) for those who are interested in taking this course as a Contractstudent is on the Contractonderwijs Archeologie webpage (in Dutch).

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact dr N. Shirai.