For the ancient Egyptians the most crucial part of life was their posthumous travel to the beyond without dying a second death. Each dead individual had to pass several stages before s/he could become an Osiris himself and lead his/her life as a circumpolar star in the beyond, ¿sitting and standing up with the gods¿. In this option course we will be looking into to the mechanics necessary to guarantee a positive outcome of this rite of passage in order to successfully socialise the deceased into the world of the dead. Textual as well as archaeological sources will help to unfold a detailed picture of the various processes and concepts involved. Among many other topics, we will look into several necropoleis in detail, discuss children-burials, listen to recitations performed by priests in the embalming chambers and learn to understand how the Book of the Dead worked. The focus of this option course will be on funerary belief offering a complete picture of how a burial procession leading from the embalming chamber to the tomb was organised, including all rituals and personnel involved. It will enable you to understand ancient Egyptian funerary rituals and religion and will give you an integral picture of the complexity of ancient Egyptian ritual practice.
In the 2010-11 and 2011-12 Sessions the module will additionally benefit from the exhibition of ancient Egyptian art ¿SACRED AND PROFANE: TREASURES OF ANCIENT EGYPT FROM THE MYERS COLLECTION, ETON COLLEGE, AND THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM".