ATS2351 - The archaeology of death in ancient Egypt - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Centre for Ancient Cultures

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Anna Stevens


Dr Anna Stevens

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.




This unit focusses on archaeological approaches to studying how the ancient Egyptians engaged with death during the period of the great pyramids. We examine the phenomenon of the pyramids as the architectural manifestation of beliefs in the afterlife of the king, as well as the tombs of royal dependents and workers. We look at the beliefs that prompted such complex burial arrangements including the Egyptians' expectations for the afterlife and the importance of preparing for that transition. We also chart the developments in Egyptian culture from 3050 BCE to 1750 BCE, using a wide range of material evidence and exploring the range of modern theories available to understand the processes involved.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. understand archaeological methods and theories to studying the customs and practices involved in death;
  2. distinguish the main textual and archaeological sources for the reconstruction of Egyptian culture and critically assess the theories used to interpret them;
  3. identify the main features of Egyptian culture from the emergence of a unified state to the end of the Middle Kingdom;
  4. be aware of the Egyptian perception of their world.


Within semester assessment: 80% + Exam: 20%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study