Professor Marjorie Venit
4214 Art Sociology Building
(301) 405-1489

Office Hours:
Tuesday and Thursday, 10:00 - 11:00 and by appointment



University of Maryland
Art History & Archaeology
UMD Libraries

Websites & Bibliography
Perseus Project
WAG Catalogue
Beazley Archives

American Academy in Rome
Egypt Exploration Society

Archaeology Magazine


This course is interdisciplinary, investigating varied material remains from ancient Egypt — texts (in translation); tombs and their imagery; and papyri, objects, and mummies deposited in tombs — and their interpretation in secondary sources in order to seek an understanding of Egypt’s negotiation with death. It is intended as a broad survey of Egyptian eschatological beliefs and practices, their mutability and their material manifestation, from earliest times (ca. 3500 BCE) through the period of Roman rule (ca. end-second century CE). It will include funerals, mummification, and ritual, as well as how Egyptians negotiated the journey after death.

These practices can be viewed within the larger context of those of contemporaneous neighboring peoples, but must be independent of modern views of the hereafter (about which the Egyptians, obviously, knew nothing). In this course, we shall walk like an Egyptian and, concurrently, we shall determine why the ancients were in awe of Egypt’s management of death and the afterlife.


1) to become familiar with the chronology, development, and iconography of ancient Egypt from late prehistoric times through the Roman period.

2) to understand the mutable concept of the afterlife in ancient Egyptian thought and imagery from earliest times through the Roman period.

3) to hone presentation and writing skills


Requirements for completion of the course with credit:

1) a number of in-class illustrated presentations and participation in class discussions.

2) a term project to design an Egyptian's tomb complete with architectural embellishment, imagery, appropriate texts, tomb goods, and proper disposition of the body. The project should involve extensive research. The form the final project takes is variable, but it must contain both sizable written and visual components.

3) Final Exam, the questions for which will be made-up during the last class of the semester.


Your semester grade is calculated as follows:

1/3 The quality of your classwork, including the presentation of your short reports and your participation in discussion.

1/3 The quality of your term project and its presentation to the class.

1/3 The quality of your Final Exam.


Academic Integrity
The University of Maryland , College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity visit the Student Honor Council web site: http://www.shc.umd.edu .

Plagiarism, in any form, will not be tolerated.

To further exhibit your commitment to academic integrity, remember to sign the Honor Pledge on all examinations and assignments: "I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this examination (assignment)."

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
If a student has a documented disability and wishes to discuss academic accommodations, please contact the professor as soon as possible. The rules for eligibility and the types of accommodations a student may request can be reviewed on the Disability Support Services web site: http://www.counseling.umd.edu/DSS/receiving serv.html .

Disability Support Services requires that students request an Accommodation Form each semester . It is the student's responsibility to present the form to the professor as proof of eligibility for accommodations.

Religious Observances
The University System of Maryland policy states that students should not be penalized in any way for participation in religious observances. Students shall be allowed, whenever practicable, to make up academic assignments that are missed due to such absences. It is the student's responsibility to contact the professor, and make arrangements for make-up work or examinations. The student is responsible for providing written notification to the professor within the first two weeks of the semester. The notification must identify the religious holiday(s) and date(s). For additional information, please visit the University of Maryland Policies and Procedures at http://www.president.umd.edu/policies/iii510a.html .

Last modified: January 18, 2009