FRSEMR 30G - Digging Egypt's Past: Harvard and Egyptian Archaeology

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Prof. Peter Der Manuelian
Tues. 12:45 PM - 2:45 PM
Emerson Hall 318

Mysterious pyramids, colossal royal statues, tiny gold jewelry, decorated tomb chapels, temples, settlements, fortresses, and hieroglyphic inscriptions. This was the excavation legacy in Egypt and Sudan of Egyptologist George Reisner (1867–1942).

His remarkable career revolutionized archaeological method, as he directed the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) Expedition, putting Harvard Egyptology on the world stage, amidst British control of Egyptian politics, French control of Egyptian antiquities, and Egyptian yearning for independence. This course explores modern archaeology and Egyptology, colonialism, Harvard and MFA history, and artifact repatriation. In addition, Reisner failed to escape some of the racist impulses of his era, and we must assess those too. Students will access unpublished archival documents at Harvard and elsewhere, and will research important expedition sites, staff members and momentous discoveries.

Circumstances permitting, field trips to the Peabody Museum, the MFA, Harvard’s Visualization Center (Giza Pyramids in 3D), and the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East, will bring the HU–MFA Expedition to life.

Course open to Freshman Students Only.