2.5 hours







Tom Lawrence

Exploring the origins of Ancient Egyptian civilization and the first pyramid builders.

Expected learning & outcomes

In this course the students will learn the origins of Ancient Egypt and the founding dynasties of the Old Kingdom from circa 3,500 BC to 2,125 BC. This is part one of three courses covering the whole period of Ancient Egypt up to the end of the reign of the Ptolomies in 30 BC. The course will also help you to develop your research and analytical skills and lay good foundations for any future study in the field of archaeology and ancient history.

Skills you will learn

Analysis, Archaeology, Architecture, Arts, Book Writing, Development, Museum, Research, Writing

About this course

An informative and encompassing course on life in early Ancient Egypt with location filming and lectures at the Giza Pyramids, Saqqara, Dashur, Memphis and the Egyptian Museum. Over 5,000 pages of bonus material are included in this course.

The Formation of the Land and its people

The first part of this course looks at the physical creation of Ancient Egypt with the encroaching desert forcing people to live closer to the Nile and how the change in climate impacted on the environment. It also gives the background to the establishment of the early centres in the, then divided areas of Upper and Lower Egypt.

Though much simpler than the later great dynasties the early people had developed skills and living techniques that were to lay down the foundations for the great empire.

Predynastic Egypt – Before the Pharaohs

 In the second we begin to outline the chronological history of ancient Egypt. This module covers the prehistoric roots of the land leading up to the Predynastic period and explores the settlement of the Nile Valley by human beings and the evidence for the first agricultural settlements in Egypt. The early principles of the Egyptian late stone age which included the Badarian and Naqada cultures are discussed and we see the advent of an actual state and the founding of the primary period of Dynastic rule.

In this section we will also discuss some important artefacts such as the Macehead of King Menes and also the Narmer Palette (sometimes known as the scorpion king)  which is a key piece. We will also examine the archaeological sites of Saqqara Abydos and Hierakonpolis, and conclude the section with the early art, writing and architecture that established the beginnings of an empire.

Old Kingdom Period – The beginning of the civilization

In the final part of the course we will cover the Old Kingdom that began the extravagance of ritual burial and we will look at the development of mastaba tombs to the step pyramid to the great pyramid as well as the people behind the building and the Kings behind the funding. We will also study the progress in lifestyle up to the 5th and 6th dynasties.

From around the end of the 6th dynasty the concept on Kingship was questioned and with thee rise of the nobles the first Intermediate period began and is often referred to as Egypt's 'Dark Ages.  By the end of the First Intermediate Period (Dynasty 11) the Theban kings had taken power and the reconsolidation of Egypt began.


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