Ancient Egypt: a history in six objects

This course provides a general introduction to the history of ancient Egypt

4.60 (541 reviews)
3 hours
Dec 2017
last update
regular price

What you will learn

At the end of this course students will be able to identify the main periods of ancient Egyptian history, and refer to evidence key to our understanding of this time.


This course provides an introduction to ancient Egyptian history, using six items from the collections of the Manchester Museum. These items have been carefully chosen to reflect the development of the Dynastic Age through their origin, manufacture, decoration, and use. Week by week we will examine a different artefact and place it in its social and historical context. This will allow us to journey from Predynastic Egypt and its first king, Narmer, to Greco-Roman Egypt and its final queen, Cleopatra VII.

Since this is an introduction to ancient Egypt, no prior knowledge of the history, geography, religion or society of ancient Egypt is needed - all that we ask is that learners are open minded, tolerant and polite at all times.

The course largely consists of video guides and discussions, accompanied by recommended reading either provided in PDF format or by way of links to curated external sites.


Ancient Egypt: a history in six objects - Screenshot_01Ancient Egypt: a history in six objects - Screenshot_02Ancient Egypt: a history in six objects - Screenshot_03Ancient Egypt: a history in six objects - Screenshot_04



What to expect from the course
Introduction video

Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt

Introduction (text)
Historical Overview (text)
Egypt and its River (video lecture)
Section 1 Object: Decorated Predynastic Pot (video discussion)
Stone Working in Ancient Egypt (video discussion)
Writing Egyptian Hieroglyphs (video lecture)
History of Egyptology at the University of Manchester (video lecture)
Additional Reading (text)
Early Egypt: the Land and its Resources
Summary (text)

Old Kingdom Egypt

Introduction (text)
Historical Overview (text)
Section 2 Object: Old Kingdom 'False Door' (video discussion)
First Intermediate Period Stela (video discussion)
Old Kingdom Pyramids (video lecture)
The Purpose of the Old Kingdom Tomb (video lecture)
Ankhtifi (video lecture)
Additional Reading (text)
Old Kingdom Funerary Architecture
Summary (text)

Middle Kingdom Egypt

Introduction (text)
Historical Overview (text)
Section 3 Object: 'Spinning Statue' (video discussion)
Objects from Kahun (video discusssion)
The Pyramid of Senwosret II and the town of Kahun (video lecture)
The Two Brothers (note: contains brief images of human remains) (video lecture)
Ramesseum Tomb Group (video lecture)
Additional Reading (text)
Life and Death in Middle Kingdom Egypt
Summary (text)

New Kingdom Egypt

Introduction (text)
Historical Overview (text)
Section 4 Object: Ramesside Column (video discussion)
The Nefertiti Bust (video discussion)
Ahmose Son of Ibana (video lecture)
Amenhotep II Chariot Piece (video discussion)
The Reign of Hatshepsut (video lecture)
Additional Reading (text)
The 18th Dynasty Royal Family
Summary (text)

Third Intermediate Period and Late Period Egypt

Introduction (text)
Historical Overview (text)
Section 5 Object: Cartonnage Coffin (video discussion)
The Coffin of Perenbast (video discussion)
The Myth of Isis and Osiris (video lecture)
Temple Statues (video lecture)
Burial Practices in the Third Intermediate and Late Periods (video lecture)
Additional Reading (text)
Towns, Cities and Cemeteries of the Dynastic Age
Summary (text)

Greco-Roman Egypt

Introduction (text)
Historical Overview (text)
Section 6 Object: Figurine of the God Bes (video discussion)
Two Greco-Roman Mummy Portraits (video discussion)
Animal Mummies (video discussion)
Snakes and the Death of Cleopatra (video discussion)
Mummy Masks (video lecture)
Additional Reading (text)
Graves, Tombs and Mummies
Summary (text)


April 29, 2022
This was a great class. I learned a lot of stuff I didn't know and it really interested me to learn more!
January 24, 2022
Very interesting course with additional resources which further enhance the knowledge of the person completing the course.
August 2, 2021
I must start by saying it's free which is always a great thing, though most free courses wouldn't be that great this course has great quality videos and the explanations are great. 5/5
December 30, 2020
Very nice free course showing the history of Egypt using objects of the Manchester Museum. Maybe some slides with keywords or short summaries would have been good due to the specific vocabulary. Thanks to the team of Manchester University.
January 24, 2019
So far its easy to follow and understand. I particularly like that video with the pot. It would be nice to be able to download and print off something to say that you have finished the course.
January 9, 2019
It has been many years since my last classroom experience, so this has been a bit of a challenge. But it has been a great pleasure so far. My only issue to this point is how to pronounce some of the names and location in the texts
January 6, 2019
Ive always been interested in ancient egypt......I should of studied it a long time ago instead of my Bach of Science.....
January 3, 2019
I have dived into subject very ambitiquos, as the matter is and presented in a same manner. Furthermore, presentation has been represented, as if listener has been insorted into field of gold, in a point of well-schooled course.
December 23, 2018
Given it is an online course, it is very good. I've expected to have this kind of experience since there is no interactive way communication in an online pre-recorded video class. Thank you!
December 11, 2018
Really enjoyed this. Videos were well produced and the presenters both likeable and credible. I've done about 10 online courses and this sits at the top. Highly recommended.
November 15, 2018
Have been reading about these things and times already so much, that its like it turns happily in to big circus in own head! So this info here gave me tools to put things in some kind of order!
July 2, 2018
Yes, as I am interested in advancing my knowledge and trying to decide whether or not to take the University's 2 year course. Priscilla St.Germain Lafayette, Louisiana U.S.A.
June 3, 2018
this tells me more about what ancient times were like. i love it how architects bring up more pieces of evidence about our past.
April 20, 2018
I love that it is not only videos, but it also incorporates readings and graphics to see and interact after watching videos. This course seems to be very well put together. I appreciate that the people who made the course are experts in their field.
April 19, 2018
Easy to understand, not over complicating issues that may cause confusion and support materials are good quality.



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