The Pyramids, Sphinx, tombs, and temples at Giza (ca. 2500 BC) still pose major questions about ancient Egyptian history, art, architecture, religion, and language. The Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition excavated much of the site (1905 to 1942), and Boston is home to the Giza Project at Harvard. Open to undergraduates and graduate students, this class examines Giza in the context of ancient Egyptian history, art, and (digital) archaeology and visualization (our classroom is a 3D-immersive theater). After a series of introductory lectures by the professor, student presentations and discussions in class and in section will fill the remainder of the semester. In addition to topics ranging from tomb and temple architecture, to settlement archaeology, to portraiture in Egyptian art, we will also consider the technological challenges facing archaeologists today in processing excavation records both old and new. We will touch on issues of ownership, repatriation, and cultural nationalism. One class will meet in the unparalleled Giza galleries at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The Giza Project at Harvard an international collaboration that assembles and presents materials online about the site of Giza, serves as the research backbone to the course. Students may contribute directly this real-world project. No technological or Egyptological prerequisites are required to take the course.