Introduction

Where is Giza? How were the Pyramids built? How did the cemeteries and hundreds of decorated tombs around them develop? What was Giza’s contribution to this first great age of ancient Egyptian civilization, the Old Kingdom?

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The Giza Plateau and its cemeteries — including the majestic Pyramids and the Great Sphinx — are stirring examples of ancient Egyptian architecture and culture. They provide windows into ancient Egyptian society, but also contain mysteries waiting to be solved. The Egyptian Pyramids at Giza provide an opportunity to explore the history of archaeology and to learn about some of the modern methods shaping the discipline today.

This introductory course will explore the art, archaeology, and history surrounding the Giza Pyramids. We will learn about Egyptian pharaohs and high officials of the Pyramid Age, follow in the footsteps of the great 20th-century expeditions, and discover how cutting-edge digital tools like 3D-modeling are reshaping the discipline of Egyptology.

Join us on this online journey to ancient Egypt’s most famous archaeological site as we uncover the history and significance of Giza, and use new digital techniques to unravel the mysteries of its ancient tombs and temples.

What you'll learn:

  • The history and significance of the Giza Pyramids and surrounding cemeteries
  • Who explored the Pyramids and how they documented their discoveries
  • The cultural and religious significance of the Giza Pyramids, tombs, and temples
  • The role of hieroglyphic inscriptions in the tombs at Giza
  • An appreciation for Egyptian art of the Old Kingdom, or Pyramid Age
  • How digital technologies allow us to visualize ancient monuments in new ways
  • What the future holds for our understanding and experience of Giza

Meet The Faculty

Peter Der Manuelian

Peter Der Manuelian

Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology, Harvard University.

Peter Der Manuelian is the Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology at Harvard University. He came to Harvard in 2010, after a decade at Tufts University. He has also been on the curatorial staff of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, since 1987 and held the position of Giza Archives Project Director there until 2011. In addition to Giza, his Egyptian archaeological and epigraphic site work includes New Kingdom temples at Luxor (Epigraphic Survey, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago), and the Predynastic site of Naqada.

His primary research interests include ancient Egyptian history, archaeology, epigraphy, the development of mortuary architecture, and the (icono)graphic nature of Egyptian language and culture in general. He has published on diverse topics and periods in Egyptian history, but currently focuses on the third millennium BC, and specifically on the famous Giza Necropolis, just west of modern Cairo.

Interested in both ancient and modern graphic design—publishing in the broadest sense of the word—he believes in bring new technologies into his research and into the classroom. Among his current projects are the publication of elite Giza tombs west of the great pyramid, a biography of Harvard archaeologist George A. Reisner, and the development of electronic tools to aid in teaching Egyptian hieroglyphic grammar.

Der Manuelian grew up locally but somehow escaped speaking with a Boston accent.

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