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This page shares brief descriptions of the educational questions and directives that guide each of the course modules. The syllabus can be found in the Course Description.

Module 1: Introduction to Giza— Its History and Significance

This module introduces the key concepts and questions of the course: Where is Giza? When did Ancient Egyptian rulers and architects direct the construction of the pyramids? How were the first pyramids built, and what historically made possible the construction of the magnificent pyramids at Giza and the Giza Necropolis? You will also be introduced to the course's lead instructor, Dr. Peter Der Manuelian, as well as receive a preliminary introduction to the ancient documentation and artifacts pertaining to Ancient Egypt that archaeologists study museums exhibit.

Module 2: The Age of Great Expeditions

In this module, the course examines the age of western explorers and expeditions into the archaeological sites of Egypt. It includes an overview of early explorers, and then a closer inspection of later expeditions, specifically the Harvard-Boston MFA Expedition to Giza, which attempted to preserve the integrity of the site and document it carefully. Special attention is given to George Andrew Reisner, the head of the Harvard-MFA expedition.

Module 3: Digital Giza

The third module of the course showcases recent methods of digital preservation and publication of the valuable finds and sites at Giza, including Giza 3D and Digital Giza: The Giza Project at Harvard University.

Module 4: Pyramids— What are they and why were they built?

Module 4 returns to the question of Ancient Egyptian culture, asking about how pyramids and mastaba tombs were constructed, and with what (religious, cultural, and political) goals they were designed. Moreover, attention is given to dispelling myths about the pyramids' builders.

Module 5: Dating and the History of the Giza Site

The true 'meat' of the course begins with Module 5. Here participants will learn about common archaeological methods for dating tombs. Moreover, several interesting cases involving archaeologically puzzling tombs (and their dates) will be discussed, demonstrating the rich and multifaceted problem of archaeology in a site such as Giza. Finally, later-Egyptian developments of Giza are explored.

Module 6: "The Walls Speak"— Ancient Egyptian Scripts

In this important module, the course teaches some of the fundamentals of reading and writing Egyptian scripts, as well as how they were originally deciphered. Then a number of fascinating instances of Giza-era writing are interrogated, including a chronicle of a special Ancient Egyptian dog.

Module 7: Case Studies on Egyptian Art on the Giza Plateau

Here, Professor Manuelian and the other course staff explore a number of the detailed and beautiful statues, inscriptions, paintings, and other artwork on the Giza Plateau. Special attention is given to recently developed methods of carpentry and their use for recreating pieces of Ancient Egyptian furniture, such as in the case of the pieces in the tomb of Queen Hetepheres I.

Giza Roundtable Discussion

In this module, Professor Manuelian is joined by Rachel Aronin and Nicholas Picardo of the Giza Project at Harvard University. The three Egyptologists discuss how they got into the profession, as well as its challenges and future.

Course Conclusion

This short concluding module reviews the key points of the course, and offers an optimistic note about future discoveries in the age of a Giza rendered in the digital age.