The Pyramids of Egypt

Ancient Egypt

Introduction to Egyptian History

‘Introduction to Egyptian History’ offers students a broad overview of Ancient Egyptian History, introducing some colourful characters and political scandals!

Learning Objectives

  • Study a defined period of ancient history in greater detail.
  • Become familiar with key figures and their role in a defined period of ancient history.
  • Acquire an appreciation for the different sources modern historians can use to study the ancient world.

Session 1: The Old and Middle Kingdoms

Learn about Egypt’s unification from groups of hunter gatherers into one nation, capable of building super structures such as the Great Pyramid. Explore how the Old Kingdom collapsed, throwing Egypt into a period of chaos which ended with the dawn of the Middle Kingdom, known as the golden age of art and literature. Students will be introduced to amazing art and famous Egyptian stories written at this time.

Session 2: The New Kingdom

Students will be introduced to the famous historical characters who ruled Egypt during the New Kingdom, from Ramesses the Great who built colossal temples which can still be visited today, to the heretic Akhenaten and his beautiful wife Nefertiti, and of course the most famous of all, boy-king Tutankhamun, whose tomb was the only one to be found intact in the Valley of the Kings. Discover how the New Kingdom descended into chaos, with evidence of strikes, tomb robberies and foreign invasions.

Session 3: Presentations

Students will give a group presentation to the class focused on any element of their favourite period of Egyptian history. This could take any form, including Powerpoint, drama, posters or other mediums, presenting what they have learnt and any additional research they have done.

Women in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian history is full of strong, powerful women. Learn about some of the most important characters.

Learning Objectives

  • Become familiar with key figures and their role in a defined period of ancient history.
  • Analyse artistic interpretation of different female figures over time.
  • Acquire an appreciation for the different sources modern historians can use to study the ancient world.

Session 1: Queens and Pharaohs

Students will learn about powerful royal women such as Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt in her own right as pharaoh, but portrayed herself as a man, justifying her right to rule by claiming she was the daughter of the god Amun. We will also discover the truth about other famous royal women including Queen Nefertiti, Queen Nefertari, the female pharaoh Tausert, and of course the last pharaoh, Cleopatra. Non-royal women also held important roles in society, so we will also be learning about them.

Session 2: Goddesses

An introduction to the goddesses worshipped in Ancient Egypt. We will be looking at their imagery and the myths behind them, including goddesses such as Isis the mother, the cow goddess Hathor, the fierce lioness Sekhmet and the cat goddess Bastet, among others. Group work will include analysis of the images of these goddesses, interpreting the clues they provide about their role, and images of royal women associating themselves with these female deities and discuss the reasons behind this. Students will then be able to design their own goddess and create their own myth.

Session 3: Debate

Who was the most powerful female figure in Ancient Egypt? Students will be invited to take part in a debate, presenting arguments for and against the importance of different women or goddesses.


Death in Ancient Egypt

‘Death in Ancient Egypt’ offers students an introduction to the funerary beliefs of both kings and the ordinary people of Ancient Egypt.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a basic knowledge of the funerary beliefs of Ancient Egyptians.
  • Learn about ancient artefacts and their purpose.
  • Acquire an appreciation for the different sources modern historians can use to study the ancient world.

Session 1: Royal Afterlife

Why did Egyptian kings build pyramids and beautifully decorated tombs? An introduction to the afterlife of kings and the religious beliefs behind them. Discover amazing royal tombs and their function, from colossal pyramids to hidden burial chambers full of gold in the Valley of the Kings.

Session 2: Non-Royal Afterlife

What happened to ordinary Egyptians when they died? Why were Egyptians mummified? Learn about the funerary beliefs of ordinary Egyptians and what their tombs were like. Group work and discussion will focus on the study of tomb decoration, scenes from the Book of the Dead, and items of burial equipment and their uses. Students will have the opportunity to design their own tomb.

Session 3: Garstang Handling Session

An opportunity for students to have a tour of the Garstang museum, focusing on the Death gallery, and even coming face to face with the Garstang mummy! Students will then be able to handle a range of ancient burial goods. Each group will have the opportunity to discuss each object and its purpose. Objects to be discussed will include shabtis, scarabs, headrests and extracts from the Book of the Dead. Each student will choose their favourite object and present it to the class.


Introduction to Hieroglyphs

The aim of this three-week short course is to introduce students to hieroglyphs using the same methods and support material used for first year undergraduates at the University of Liverpool.  Over the three weeks pupils will be introduced to the signs, sign order, and be provided with the tools to be able to read a very common motif found on objects in museums.  The use of How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs introduces pupils to an accessible and readily available resource that following this course they will be able to use to continue their study of this fascinating ancient language.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognise key groups of signs and phrases.
  • Understanding of the right direction to read signs and some words.
  • Communicate the offering formula and regnal years of kings of Egypt on ancient objects found in museums.
  • Have gained the basic skills to continue the study of this language with the support materials provided.

Session 1
General introduction to the language and using the support material and vocab provided to be able to make a start of reading scenes found in tombs.  They will be taught how to speak the words they are translating in ancient Egyptian as well as English.

Session 2
Building on the skills developed in session 1, students will be introduced to reading the names of the kings and their regnal years as well as key phrases commonly found on ancient objects.

Session 3
Using what they have learned in session 1 and 2, students will be introduced to the offering formula.  An example of this will be gone through in class and then they will be provided with the necessary vocab and an example from an object to have a go at translating it.
Associated activity: Trip to the Garstang Museum to see the objects and to read the offering formula from the ancient coffin on display.


Egyptian Religion and Afterlife

This three-week short course will give pupils a glimpse into the religion and afterlife beliefs of the ancient Egyptians.  Pupils will be introduced to the various gods and goddess of ancient Egypt before learning of key changes in the beliefs that occurred during the Amarna Period and the rise of Amun during the New Kingdom.  They will then examine a ‘typical’ Egyptian temple and aspects of the sacred landscape.  Following this they will then learn of the changing aspects of the Egyptian afterlife over its long history, the role of Osiris and the journey of the sun god through the underworld before learning of the perils awaiting the deceased as they made their way to the judgement hall of Osiris for their heart to be weighed against the feather of Maat.  Sessions will include images of real objects and structures to enable students to recognise what they are being taught in the actual setting of the ruins and objects recovered.

Learning Objectives

  • Acquire a knowledge of the changing nature of Egyptian religion over the vast time the civilisation existed.
  • Recognition of the more prominent gods of the Egyptian pantheon and be able to communicate the key features of them.
  • Understanding of how aspects of religious life in Egypt can be seen in the landscape and how the Egyptians interacted with it
  • Cultural awareness

Session 1
Introduction to the numerous gods and goddesses of Ancient Egypt and then a focus of the Amarna Period with its promotion of a single god and then how they attempted to erase this era from history and the rise of Amun.

Session 2
Having looked at the gods and their connection to the king pupils will now learn about life in a temple and its significance as the house of the god as well as aspects of the sacred landscape of Egypt.

Session 3
Session 1 and 2 examined the aspect of belief associated with the living world. Session 3 will then look at the afterlife, the changing nature of who could reach the afterlife over Egypt’s ancient history, the role of Osiris, and finally the weighing of the heart ceremony.
Associated activity: Garstang museum handling session to see objects with depictions of various gods and afterlife themes to be able to communicate what they have learned about these aspects of Egyptian religion and myth.


Egyptian Artefact Analysis

During this three-week course pupils will be introduced to a selection of the different types of materials used to make artefacts found in the ancient world – ceramic, faience and glass, ivory and wood, and metals.  They will learn how these materials are found/made and the tools material scientists use to identify them and even track them across the ancient world.  With this course pupils will be given a brief glimpse of another side of archaeology and ancient history that uses modern scientific methods to give these ancient artefacts and the people who made them a voice.

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding of the different materials and potential to recognise them
  • Introduction to how scientific methods can be employed in archaeology
  • Appreciation of the information that can be taken from even the smallest archaeological object.
  • Awareness of the linked nature of cultures across the ancient world.
  • Thinking more critically about what method(s) can be used for analysis dependent on the material the object and begin to communicate why such methods would be employed.

Session 1
Introduction to the different materials (organic and non-organic) and methods for analysis (non-destructive and destructive).

Session 2
Organic materials, where they come from, how they are made and how archaeologists use different scientific methods to identify them and what they can tell us about the ancient culture.

Session 3
Non-organic materials, how they are made, analytical methods for analysis and how they can differ to those used for organic materials, tracing their origins across the ancient world, and recycling.

Associated activity: Visit to Garstang museum to examine a selection of organic and non-organic objects to solidify what can be understood from examining an object by the eye and to discuss what methods could be used to examine the objects on a microscopic scale.



Meet Egypt’s most famous female pharaoh. Follow Hatshepsut’s journey from pharaoh’s wife to queen regent to pharaoh and discover her 3500-year legacy.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a broad understanding of the life of Hatshepsut.
  • Use a range of ancient source to gain insights into the life and times of Hatshepsut.
  • Critically analyse the changes which occurred in Hatshepsut’s imagery.

Session 1: Hatshepsut the Queen
Find out about the early life of Hatshepsut as the daughter, sister and wife of pharaohs. Learn about her roles as wife of the god Amun and later as regent to her stepson (and nephew) Thutmose III.

Session 2: Hatshepsut the Pharaoh
Continue to follow Hatshepsut’s journey and see her become pharaoh in her own right. Examine the changes in her iconography from feminine queen to masculine pharaoh and discuss why she would have chosen to be portrayed in this way.

Session 3: Ancient Views of Hatshepsut
Explore the Egyptian’s views of Hatshepsut through a range of ancient sources. Find out how her successors tried to erase her from history and, using materials and knowledge from sessions 1 and 2, discuss why.