Death in Ancient Egypt

Explore the development of the Egyptian state, evolving tomb architecture, the preparation of the dead, and the impact of Egyptian religion.


Course outline:

Join us as we open a discourse on the ancient Egyptians preparation for the afterlife. Using the concepts of death and burials as a lens to reflect societal changes and trace the historical development of Egyptian culture from the Early Dynastic Period (3150 – 2686 BCE), the earliest period of Pharaonic history, through to the Middle Kingdom (2055 – 1650 BCE). We will focus on the development of the Egyptian state, evolving tomb architecture, the preparation of the dead, and the impact of Egyptian religion.

Attendees will be guided through the unique changes of Egyptian history through the different time periods. Focusing on the people who shaped this period of history, looking at architecture, writing, and the socio-political evolution within the Nile Valley to create the administration and economic development to construct those ancient wonders, the Pyramids.

Who should attend?

This course is designed for those who are interested in the culture of ancient Egypt, through a historical and chronological narrative of the Early Dynastic period, Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom. No prior knowledge on the topic is required. The course provides content that is accessible for beginners or advanced students. 

Learning outcomes:

On completion of this course participants will have gained a better understanding of the following; 

  • Changes in burial practices of the ancient Egyptians
  • the impact of religion on Egyptian society as reflected through archaeology and literature
  • the differences in the preservation of royal, non-royal, and foreign burials in Egypt
  •  appreciation of the history of Egypt from the Early Dynastic period, Old Kingdom, and Middle Kingdom.



  • 4 x Tuesdays, 2 - 23 February 2021, 6:00 - 8:00pm
  • $145.00 incl. GST
  • The University of Auckland, City Campus
  • Presented by Caleb Hamilton

Seminar presenter

Dr Caleb Hamilton

Dr Caleb Hamilton

Honorary Academic

Caleb Hamilton is a University of Auckland alumni, with a BA, BA Hons, and MA all from this institution. He gained his PhD from Monash University, where he undertook research on the foreign interactions in Egypt during the Early Dynastic period. He has taught at the University of Auckland and Monash University, including courses on the material culture and history during the Early Dynastic period and Old Kingdom, focusing on death and burial practises, the New Kingdom, as well as the Third Intermediate Period to Ptolemaic Period. He has also taught ancient Egyptian language, and Greek and Roman history.

Caleb is currently an Honorary Research Fellow in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Auckland and a Teaching Associate at Monash University. This is his third Public Programmes course, touching on various topics of Egyptology, archaeology, history, and the reception of ancient Egypt in modern society.

He was a member of excavations in Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt. Recent publications include a discussion of serekhs of early Egyptian kings, the Egyptian presence in the Western Desert during the Early Dynastic period, and foreign interactions from this time. He is currently preparing a monograph based on his doctoral research.

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