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Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies


This handbook gives outline information about the BA course in Egyptology and ... which houses the principal collection of books on Egyptology

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									              FACULTY OF ORIENTAL STUDIES
                 UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD


A handbook for Undergraduates reading Egyptology
        and Ancient Near Eastern Studies

              ACADEMIC YEAR 2012–2013


     Introduction                                                   3
     Oriental Studies at Oxford                                     3
         The BA in Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies      5
     About Egyptian                                                 6
     About Akkadian                                                 7
     Outline of the Course                                          9
     Teaching                                                      10
         Further study resources, internships, and travel abroad   11
     Structure of the academic years                               12
         First year                                                12
         Second year                                               14
         Third year                                                17
     Examinations                                                  20
     Teaching and research staff                                   23
     Joint Consultative Committee                                  24
     Resources for EANES in Oxford                                 24
     Set texts (or Prescribed texts)                               28
     Appendix A: Faculty Information                               38


This handbook gives outline information about the BA course in Egyptology and Ancient
Near Eastern Studies. It is designed both as a source of information and as a guide to other
sources of information. We hope that it will be particularly useful to you as you begin the
course and when you start to study a second subject in your second year, but we also hope it
will be a valuable source of information throughout the whole three years of the BA.

Please read the booklet carefully.

Comments and criticism of the handbook are always welcome; they should be sent to Dr
Jacob Dahl, EANES Subject Group Co-ordinator, Oriental Institute, Pusey Lane.

Faculty handbooks are available on the Oriental Studies Faculty’s website; this one is at
http://www.orinst.ox.ac.uk/nme/eanes-hbk.pdf . Updates may be posted there; you can also
find a great deal of related documentation through the website.

Numbers on the course tend to be small and you see the teaching staff very frequently. You
are also welcome to come and discuss the course and your needs at other times. Because of
this frequent and close contact, the information in this handbook is kept quite brief. If you
need more information or help, come and see one of us.

You will receive much other documentation when you arrive at the University. A great deal
of what you need to know about the running of the University is contained in the Proctors’
and Assessor’s Memorandum. At all points, if you need information or advice, be prepared to
ask the teaching staff, fellows, and administrative staff in your college, or fellow students.


Oriental Studies embraces the study of Oriental cultures from prehistoric times to the present.
People are becoming increasingly aware of these civilizations through travel, publications,
and rising general interest. The faculty’s courses offer the opportunity to learn in depth about
the ancient and modern traditions of these cultures. Many students are able to apply methods
developed for the study of other languages, history, and literature to these challenging new
subjects. Some enter Oriental Studies from quite different backgrounds, including music and

The courses present the major traditions of the regions studied and, where appropriate, their
modern development. All courses include language, literature, history, and culture, and there
is a wide range of options in such fields as art and archaeology, history, literature,
philosophy, religion, and modern social studies.

Through its long-standing traditions and more recent gifts, Oxford has unparalleled resources
for Oriental Studies. The Bodleian Library has a magnificent collection of Oriental books
and manuscripts built up since the seventeenth century. The Oriental Institute, opened in

1961, is the centre where most teaching is done, acting as a focus for everyone working and
studying in the field; it has a lending library of some 80,000 books. There are associated
institutions for the Modern Middle East, for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, for Modern
Japanese Studies, and for Chinese Studies. Adjacent to the Oriental Institute is the
Ashmolean Museum, which houses superb collections of objects used in the teaching of most
branches of Oriental art and archaeology; and the Sackler Library of the Ancient World,
which houses the principal collection of books on Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern
Studies, as well as general archaeology, Classical civilization, and Western and Eastern Art.

The Griffith Institute (opened in 1939 and now housed in a wing of the Sackler Library
complex) has unique resources for Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, including
extensive archives and a publication series.

Most of the teaching and research in EANES is carried out in the Griffith Institute wing of
the Sackler Library complex.

Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Oxford: background
Egyptian civilization acquired its characteristic forms, including the hieroglyphic writing
system, by 3000 BCE, and continued to develop into the early centuries of the Common Era,
long after Egypt had been conquered by Alexander the Great and subsequently absorbed into
the Roman Empire. The latest written material in ancient Egyptian dates to the 4th and 5th
centuries CE.

In Oxford, Egyptology has been represented since the appointment of F. Ll. Griffith as
Reader, later Professor, at the beginning of the 20th century. Griffith subsequently founded
the Griffith Institute in his will; the Institute, which is a research body, opened in 1939.
Successors of Griffith in the professorship were T. Eric Peet, Battiscombe Gunn, Jaroslav
Černý, and John Barns. The current holder is John Baines. In 1980 a second post in
Egyptology and Coptic was created, and is held by Mark Smith with the title of Professor. An
additional post in Egyptology was created in 2005 and was taken up by Elizabeth Frood. A
further recent research appointment is that of Robert Simpson, who is a longstanding faculty
tutor, as Griffith Egyptological Fund Research Fellow. The BA in Egyptology was introduced
in the 1930s and revised successively from the 1960s. The current BA in Egyptology and
Ancient Near Eastern Studies, which absorbs and diversifies previous course offerings, was
introduced in 1998.

Ancient Mesopotamia (approximately modern Iraq) is the source of a wealth of texts in the
Sumerian and Akkadian languages and cuneiform script. The script system emerged in about
3350 BCE and was developed by the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. Akkadian
continued as a learned language in Mesopotamia under the Greeks and the Parthians until the
1st century CE.

Assyriology, the study of these ancient cultures, began at Oxford with the appointment of
Archibald Henry Sayce as Professor of Assyriology in 1891. Subsequent post holders with
the title of Professor have been Stephen Langdon, Oliver Gurney, and Marc Van De
Mieroop. Other post holders in the field have included Reginald Campbell Thompson as

Reader, and C. J. Ball and Peter Hulin as Lecturers. Two key posts were established in 1987,
a University Lecturership in Akkadian, filled by Jeremy Black (1987-2004), and a Shillito
Fellowship in Assyriology, filled by Stephanie Dalley (1987-2007). Frances Reynolds was
appointed to the long-term Shillito Fellowship in Assyriology in 2006, after holding a
Departmental Lecturership. The most recent appointment in Assyriology is that of Jacob
Dahl, who took up the University Lecturership in Assyriology in October 2008.

The BA in Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
The BA in Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies is a three-year undergraduate
degree course that offers a wide range of options in the civilizations, history, literature, and
material culture of Egypt and/or the Ancient Near East, approached in the first instance
through the medium of the ancient languages and writing systems. A range of routes through
the degree course are possible (the degree can be accessed through either of two UCAS
codes: Q400 BA/Egy or Q401 BA/EANES). Students begin with the study of either
Akkadian (the ancient Semitic language of Mesopotamia) or Egyptian. In your second year,
you add a second subject. This may be a language, which can be Egyptian or Akkadian
(depending on your choice of first language), or alternatively another language of the region.
Those normally available are Coptic, Sumerian, Old Iranian, Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew,
Aramaic and Syriac, Arabic, and Hittite. The last of those may not be available every year.
Depending on the languages chosen, different cultural and historical perspectives can be
emphasized, making the course adaptable to the interests of each student. Some combinations
of first and second languages are more suitable than others, and you should consult your
teachers before making a choice. In addition, the BA in Classics and Oriental Studies
(Oriental Studies with Classics) allows various combinations of EANES as a main subject
with Egyptian or Akkadian as the first language and Classical languages (mainly Greek).
This is a three-year course with the study of the Classical language(s) taking place in the
second and third years. Students can either apply for this degree or switch to it after EANES
Moderations at the end of the first year.

As an alternative to a second language, it is possible to take EANES with Archaeology and
Anthropology as a second subject (this is listed separately in the regulations because it is not
a language). This combination complements the main language and civilization in a different
way from the option of a second language, offering the opportunity to study in greater depth
disciplines which are closely related to those used for much work on Egypt and the Ancient
Near East.

For students who are reading the BA in Oriental Studies with Arabic as their main subject,
one of the options they can choose as an additional language is Akkadian; this is studied in
the third and fourth years. Students with Hebrew as their main subject can choose either
Akkadian or Egyptian as their additional language; the chosen language is studied in the
second and third years.

Students whose main subject is Classics can take Egyptology (Egyptian language) or Ancient
Near Eastern Studies (Akkadian language) as an additional subject. This degree is the BA in
Classics and Oriental Studies (Classics with Oriental Studies). Classical Moderations (after
five terms) are followed by Egyptology or Ancient Near Eastern Studies as a subsidiary in

the third and fourth years (four-year course). Students can either apply for this degree or
switch to it after Classical Moderations subject to acceptance by EANES tutors.


Where was it used?
Egyptian was the sole written language of ancient Egypt from the invention of the script until
after 2000 BC, and throughout Egyptian history it was overwhelmingly dominant. It is one of
the few languages that were regularly written in hieroglyphic script. The Egyptian language
and script were also used in ancient Nubia and Sudan, as far upstream as the confluence of
the Blue and the White Nile.

What is its history?
Egyptian is recorded in the form of continuous language from about 2700 BCE and
continued in use for about three millennia, developing through stages known as Old, Middle,
and Late Egyptian, and Demotic, directly into Coptic (the language of Christian Egypt, in use
from the early centuries CE). Coptic ceased to be a spoken language in about 1000 CE, but
survives in the liturgy of the Coptic Church in Egypt. During the second and first millennia
BCE the most prestigious form of the language was Middle Egyptian, which was retained in
use as a learned language (like Latin) long after it had given way to later forms for ordinary

What type of language is it?
Egyptian forms a separate branch of the Afroasiatic language family, which is represented by
hundreds of languages in five other principal branches, from Berber in North Africa, through
languages in West, Central, and East Africa, to Semitic in East Africa and Western Asia. The
structure of Egyptian underwent a transformation from Old Egyptian (third millennium BCE)
to Coptic (first millennium CE). It is not highly inflected, but changed during the second
millennium BCE from a ‘synthetic’ structure with verbal forms constructed through suffixes
to an ‘analytic’ form in which conjugations were placed before the verb. In Egyptian, as in
Semitic languages, most words are constructed around roots of three consonants.

How is it written?
The Egyptian script has two principal forms: hieroglyphs, used on monuments, and hieratic,
the cursive form written in ink for everyday purposes. The writing system is essentially
consonantal, with at most minimal indication of vowels. Hieroglyphic signs are pictorial, but
are used in several different ways: as phonograms (sound-signs) that may write one to three
consonants, as logograms (whole-word signs), and as determinatives (classifiers that come at
the ends of words). The pronunciation is fundamentally unknown, and words are pronounced
in discussion in a conventionalized form. Coptic used a fully alphabetic script written in
Greek letters, with the addition of half a dozen signs derived from Demotic, a further
development of hieratic that was the latest form of the indigenous cursive script.

What is written in Egyptian?
Inscriptions were integral to most works of art in Egypt, and there is an enormous range of
written material, mainly on stone. This includes captions to depicted figures, biographies,
historical and religious inscriptions, and extensive collections of compositions such as the
Pyramid Texts and the Book of the Dead. Cursive writing in ink on papyrus and other media

was dominant in ancient times but is much less well preserved; it includes large numbers of
administrative documents, letters, and literary texts. The genres of Egyptian writing do not
resemble closely those of the Western world; for example, many royal inscriptions might be
classified as literary tales rather than factual reports. This difference in character is one of the
many challenges offered by the study of Egyptian texts.

Research and discoveries
Egyptology is a very active field. Excavations and field survey relating to all the main
periods and types of site continue throughout Egypt and northern Sudan. The study of
material in museum collections is another major aspect of research and covers both artefacts
and texts. Increasingly sophisticated studies are devoted to topics ranging from language,
through technical fields such as medicine, to literature, art, and archaeology. Egyptology is
also becoming more and more integrated into the broader study of non-Western civilizations.

Egypt in the world beyond
Egypt was culturally influential in the Eastern Mediterranean from no later than the second
millennium BCE, and was also an important participant in the Graeco-Roman world. Its
religious cults in particular influenced the Roman empire. In Western tradition Egypt was
seen, through Classical writings, as a source of ancient wisdom and was significant in the
development of the Renaissance. The role of Egypt in European culture is a field of study of
its own, while archaeological work, together with looting, has created major museum
collections in many countries. In modern Egypt and Sudan, the ancient tradition is seen as
integral to history and is a major factor in economy and politics, especially in Egypt.


Where was it used?
Akkadian was the principal language of ancient Mesopotamia (approximately corresponding
to modern Iraq and much of modern Syria). It was spoken by the Assyrians in the north and
the Babylonians in the south and survived as a written language until the 1st century AD.
Akkadian was also used as an international diplomatic language in the Late Bronze Age in an
area stretching from modern Turkey to Egypt and from the Levant to modern Iran.

What is its history?
Akkadian is the world’s oldest written Semitic language and the first connected texts (in Old
Akkadian) date from about 2400 BC. Two main dialects of Akkadian developed in the
second and first millennia BCE, Assyrian and Babylonian. A purely literary dialect, called
Standard Babylonian, was also used for certain types of texts, including the Epic of
Gilgamesh. Peripheral Akkadian, found in texts from sites in Syria, Turkey and Egypt,
displays local influences. During the latter half of the first millennium BC Akkadian was
replaced by Aramaic as a spoken language but it continued to be used as a written language
until the 1st century AD.

What type of language is it?
Akkadian is a Semitic language and belongs to the Afroasiatic language family. Other
Semitic languages include Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew. Akkadian is the principal member

of the East Semitic language group. The structure of Akkadian is quite similar to Arabic
(e.g., case endings -u, -i, -a; verbal system with 12 different ‘forms’; regular construction of
nouns from roots of three consonants), but the range of consonants is simpler. Sumerian, an
early isolate language of Mesopotamia, influenced Akkadian (e.g., main verb regularly ends
the clause). Akkadian varied over its long history and across the wide area where it was used
but Assyrian and Babylonian were the main spoken dialects.

How is it written?
Akkadian was written in cuneiform (wedge-shaped) script which developed from an initial
pictorial stage from c 3350 BC. This script was used to write Sumerian, an unrelated
language, before it was adopted and adapted to write Akkadian. Most cuneiform texts were
impressed onto clay tablets with a reed stylus but other media include carved stone
inscriptions. Akkadian was written with a mixture of syllabic signs, logograms (whole-word
signs), and determinatives (classifiers, e.g., for the names of places and birds). Consonants
and vowels were indicated but the pronunciation is reconstructed.

What is written in Akkadian?
      A vast and varied textual record
      Literature, e.g., the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Babylonian Epic of Creation, Ishtar’s
        Descent to the Underworld, hymns, prayers, and incantations
      Historiographical texts, e.g., annals of the Neo-Assyrian kings Sargon, Sennacherib,
       and Ashurbanipal, chronicles of Babylonia under its kings Nebuchadnezzar and
       Nabonidus, and royal inscriptions
      Collections of laws, e.g., the Laws of Hammurapi
      Letters, both private and royal, e.g., the royal correspondence of Babylonian and
       Assyrian kings with the Egyptian kings Amenhotep III and IV (likely father of
      Legal and economic texts, including property sales
      Scholarly texts, e.g., omen collections, astronomical texts, medical texts, magical
       texts, ritual texts, and commentaries

Research and discoveries
Assyriology is still a relatively young subject and researchers are active across a wide range
of specialisms in fields including language and textual studies, iconography, history, ancient
medicine and astronomy. Much remains to be discovered about ancient Mesopotamia: from
excavation and from studying artefacts in museum collections, including the many cuneiform
tablets that are waiting to be read and sometimes even catalogued. There are key museum
collections in the Middle East, as well as Berlin, Paris, London, and the U.S.A. The
Ashmolean Museum in Oxford holds a significant Mesopotamian collection.

Legacy of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamian culture continued to develop throughout the first millennium BC including
the Persian, Hellenistic, and Parthian periods. Mesopotamia exercised a considerable
influence on the Classical world, and hence the West, as well as on cultures in the East.
Before the rediscovery of ancient Mesopotamia through excavation and the decipherment of
cuneiform in the 19th century AD, Western perceptions were shaped by Classical and
Biblical traditions. However, with a wealth of evidence now available from archaeology and

texts Mesopotamia’s fundamental role is being increasingly recognized in fields including
literature, astronomy, astrology and medicine.


The BA in Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies is designed to be both wide-ranging
and flexible. It is a three-year course covering all principal aspects of the study of the field
while allowing concentration on particular areas of interest. The skills involved are
comparable with those needed for other language-focused courses in the humanities, but their
application is rather broader. While the core of the teaching is in language and texts, the
objective is to penetrate the civilizations and to use written sources where appropriate as the
point of departure for studying a wide range of phenomena. It should also be borne in mind
that all the texts that are studied are preserved on ancient surfaces that were recovered
through fieldwork and are archaeological artefacts in their own right.

For those who have chosen Akkadian as their first language, the focus is on study of the
principal ancient language of Mesopotamia; emphasis is also placed on knowledge of the
literature, cultural and political history, and archaeology of the area. This is supplemented by
study of a second language, which may be Egyptian, Sumerian, Hittite, Old Iranian, Biblical
and Mishnaic Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac, Classics (generally Ancient Greek), or Arabic –
together with its associated literature, culture, and history. If Egyptian is chosen as the first
language, Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic and Syriac, Classics, Coptic, or Biblical and Mishnaic
Hebrew are the possible choices as second language. Both with Akkadian and with Egyptian,
Archaeology and Anthropology is available as an alternative subsidiary to the second

No prior knowledge of any ancient language is expected. In addition to the language classes,
there are lecture courses on all principal aspects of ancient Near Eastern civilization, as well
as regular essay writing. At all stages of the course, emphasis is laid on detailed familiarity
with the primary sources, textual sources being studied in the original languages and scripts
and non-textual sources in other media. A major objective is that you should become familiar
with the use of a range of historiographical, literary-critical, and other methods for
understanding these sources.

The core objectives of the course are that you should master the script, grammar, vocabulary,
and syntax of Egyptian or Akkadian, and should become acquainted over the three years with
several different phases of Egyptian (from Old Egyptian onwards) or Akkadian (from Old
Babylonian onwards); and that you should acquire a comparable, but naturally less extensive,
command of a second language, or of Archaeology and Anthropology. You should acquire a
good knowledge of the secondary literature, including the various aids to study (reference
works, bibliographies, dictionaries, sign lists, etc.), and how to make best use of them.
Opportunities are available to work with ancient artefacts in the Ashmolean Museum’s
collections, as well as to practise reading from original inscribed objects such as cuneiform
tablets or Egyptian stelae. At the same time, you should become familiar with a wide range
of cultural institutions of the civilizations you study. Your work on texts should be seen in
this broader context of understanding key features of the civilizations. Archaeology and

Anthropology bring cognate disciplines into the course; they are not focused specifically on
the Ancient Near East, although it is possible to take special subjects or dissertations that
bridge the different fields.


The teaching integrates the study of the languages, texts, cultures, histories and archaeologies
of these ancient societies. You will normally be sent a reading list in the August before the
start of your course, to encourage you to start some general reading and a little language-
based work. From the beginning of the course, you should expect to be engaged on academic
study for a very full working week during Full Term. You will also need to do a considerable
amount of work during the vacations. The course is taught by a mixture of lectures, classes,
seminars, and tutorials. Tutorials normally consist of a one-to-one or small-group discussion
with a tutor of written work produced by the student.

The teaching is shared among all the students in the University who are taking any particular
course; it is not college-based. Classes also often combine undergraduate and graduate
students. There is a considerable amount of preparation for almost all language-based classes
and consequently rather less essay work than in many humanities courses; intellectual
problems are approached through work on texts as well as through essays. Independent
secondary reading, both for the texts studied in class and for lecture courses, is vital if the
course is to have its proper value.

Because there are relatively few subject handbooks or other basic study aids in your fields of
study, and almost all language work is conducted in class, it is essential to attend lectures and
classes unless you are unavoidably prevented from doing so. If you cannot attend, you should
inform the teacher that you will be absent. This may be done by email, telephone, or letter.

Essays are written for most of the course at a rate of three or four per term. Vacations are
vital times for essay work and you need to ensure that you take away sufficient material to do
the necessary background reading and preparatory work during the vacations, as well as
getting ahead with language study or text preparation for later terms. It is very difficult to
keep abreast of work schedules if no text material has been prepared before the beginning of
term. It is also essential to set aside time to work over and revise notes made during text-
reading and other language classes: this time can be lost if you do not keep your other work

The vacation of the second year is also a crucial time for you to begin work on your
dissertation. The dissertation is a core component of the undergraduate degree and gives you
the opportunity to research independently a topic in which you have a particular interest,
under the supervision of a member of the academic staff. The dissertation should
demonstrate your ability to: identify an issue or problem; design and conduct a scheme of
work to explore that issue; work independently; assemble and analyse both primary evidence
and modern academic literature; and present a coherent set of data and cogent arguments
based on those data.

Further study resources, internships, and travel abroad
Students have access to the facilities of the Griffith Institute, including the purchase of its
publications at a student discount. In addition to the comprehensive collections of the Sackler
Library, the Peet Memorial Library in Queen’s College has a valuable small Egyptology
collection to which you have access and from which you may borrow books. Wolfson
College also houses the Jeremy Black Memorial Collection in Assyriology and a small
undergraduate library is being developed at St Benet’s Hall. Both the Sackler and the Peet
libraries are catalogued on OLIS, the University’s online catalogue, as are all the Bodleian
Library’s holdings, including many books on Egyptology and the Ancient Near East. While
Bodleian books must generally be ordered by readers in advance and read in one of the
rooms provided, they are useful if a book is borrowed from another library or there is other
pressure on resources. Many people find the Bodleian’s reading rooms congenial.

The course does not include a compulsory period abroad, but relevant travel is recommended
to all students during their degree. If doing Egyptology, you are encouraged to visit Egypt,
and if possible to take part in archaeological work either in Egypt (although this is very
difficult to arrange for undergraduates) or elsewhere. Most Egyptology students in recent
years have visited Egypt during their undergraduate careers. At present it is not really
possible to visit Iraq, but it is relatively easy to travel in Syria, Jordan, Turkey, and the Gulf.
From 2008, a number of undergraduate and graduate students in Egyptology and Ancient
Near Eastern Studies participated in excavation of the Bronze and Iron Age city of Zincirli in
south-east Turkey (run by the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago). It is hoped that
Oxford’s involvement in this project will continue. Ask your teachers for advice if you plan
to travel to Egypt or elsewhere during your degree or if you wish to participate in excavation
projects. Colleges also often provide financial assistance for relevant travel.

Students who take Archaeology and Anthropology as a second subject must undertake
archaeological fieldwork, either in the UK or abroad, during the summer of their second
year. This is arranged by the Institute of Archaeology.

Closer to home, a small number of undergraduate and graduate students each year take up
summer internships at museums and other organizations with Egyptian and Near Eastern
collections, including the British Museum, the Ashmolean Museum, and the Palestine
Exploration Fund. Again, talk with your teachers if you would like to apply for an internship.

It is possible to complete the course without reading secondary materials that are not in
English but much of the secondary literature on Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern
Studies is in French and especially German. A reading knowledge of these languages
increases range and options and, if you do not already have this, then you are encouraged to
acquire it. The University’s Language Centre at 12 Woodstock Road offers courses and self-
study options in French and German for reading that are open to all without charge. The
teachers of Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies can supply letters of
recommendation that will assist in gaining a place on Language Centre courses, some of
which are in very heavy demand.


The description of the stages of the course which follows below is intended as a complement
to the regulations printed in the Examination Regulations and the lists of set texts which are
published for Moderations and the final examinations (known in Oxford as the Final Honour
School or finals). In addition to these materials, bibliographies are provided for prescribed
texts, reading lists for the history and civilization courses, and detailed lists for essay topics.
If you would like information about other matters, you should ask the teachers of Egyptology
and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, who are generally available for discussion on any aspect
of the course. You may also wish to consult your college tutors if you have any difficulties.
Since you are not taught in college, you need to ensure that you maintain regular contact with
those in college who oversee your progress.

Some Egyptology course materials are now placed online on the University’s Weblearn
system. Access to this is through the same id and password as you use for email. The web
address of the Egyptology and Ancient Near East area of the system is:

First year
The aim of the first year of your course is to lay a foundation in knowledge of the language
and civilization of your main subject that will provide a solid basis for the more diversified
and detailed work of the second and third years; at the same time you should gain a general
knowledge of the history and civilization of the whole Ancient Near East.

Those taking Akkadian as their first language attend intensive classes in Akkadian grammar
and cuneiform script during the first five weeks of the first term. These are usually also
attended by graduate students beginning Akkadian for the M.Phil. in Cuneiform Studies and
second-year undergraduates beginning Akkadian as their second language. The grammar
currently used is A Grammar of Akkadian by John Huehnergard and students should also
acquire A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian by Jeremy Black and others. After about five
weeks students are ready to continue their language work by beginning to read the Laws of
Hammurapi, a Babylonian king of the second millennium BCE. This text is read first because
of its grammatical clarity and regularity, as well as its social, cultural, and historical

Other Akkadian texts are read in classes during the rest of the year: the myth of Ishtar’s
Descent to the Underworld, selected annals of Assyrian kings and the Flood story from the
Epic of Gilgamesh. These text-reading classes require extensive preparation in advance by
the student, using the set editions and the other lexicographical and bibliographical aids
available in the library or purchased for private use. In Trinity Term students also do simple
unseen translation work and revision classes, followed by about two weeks without classes
for revision.

For those taking Egyptian as their first language, Middle Egyptian, the classical phase of the
language, is studied intensively. There are three language classes every week; these are
attended by some M.Phil. students as well as undergraduates. The grammar is generally

completed, or nearly completed, during Michaelmas Term. At present, Mark Collier’s
unpublished Middle Egyptian course, which is available from the Faculty, is the text used for
teaching the language. Students also need to acquire Alan H. Gardiner, Egyptian grammar,
and R. O. Faulkner, A concise dictionary of Middle Egyptian, both of which are available
with a student discount from the Griffith Institute. For each hour of the elementary language
class you must read a chapter or chapters of the Collier grammar and prepare exercises that
will be either corrected in class or taken away and returned at the next session.

During Hilary and Trinity Terms the chief focus of the language classes is on reading Middle
Egyptian texts, including The Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor and biographical inscriptions
displayed in the tombs of Egyptian officials. The prescribed texts are normally completed
around half way through Trinity Term, and are followed by exercises in translation into
Egyptian and some further grammatical work, leaving about a week and a half for revision,
during which classes are only held at the request of students.

The text-reading classes in both languages, like those later in the course, involve reading
the ancient texts beforehand, learning the relevant vocabulary, and preparing to translate
passages from them on request in the classroom. For many of the texts published translations
are available, but these are frequently debatable or inaccurate and can never form more than
an aid to the study of the original. During the classes the rendering of the texts into English,
their meaning and cultural import, and their status in groups of texts and as visual works on
ancient monuments, are reviewed and discussed. This reading of texts in class and discussion
of their cultural significance and of the kinds of evidence they supply is at the core of the
course and it is essential that you apply yourself to preparing the material, thinking about it,
and participating actively in class.

Complementing the language classes is a lecture course for all first-year students, in
Ancient Near Eastern Civilization and History. This covers Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the
background to the Hebrew Bible, and includes detailed study of Ancient Near Eastern history
into the Parthian period and Egyptian history to the death of Cleopatra VII (30 BCE). Four
essays on topics related to the civilization and history course are written in each of the first
two terms, and two in the third.

Throughout the first year you should be reading general works on Egyptology and Near
Eastern civilization. Reading lists for these are distributed during the year; you should read
something in all the main categories by the end of the year.

The first examination, called Moderations, is taken in the week after the end of Trinity
Term. The language course and the civilization and history course are examined in two
papers each (the details of the papers and the list of set texts are published by Friday, 3rd
week of Hilary term). If a candidate fails in any paper in the examination, there is a resit in
the second half of September.

During Trinity Term you must discuss with your teachers which second language you wish
to take, or whether you wish to take Archaeology and Anthropology. A guide to taking
Archaeology and Anthropology as a subsidiary subject in EANES is available on Weblearn

(Egyptology and Ancient Near East main page). For Hebrew there may be a few hours of
instruction at the end of Trinity Term. These are intended to allow a start to be made on the
language during the Summer Vacation. Those intending to do Arabic or Greek should
consult their teachers about summer schools in these languages. You also need to find out
about the additional stage of your main language, either Egyptian or Akkadian, to be studied
in the second year (see below).

Second year
The second and third years run continuously. The only formal examinations are in the third
year and the aim is to achieve a steady progression toward a high level of general knowledge,
detailed familiarity with important bodies of primary source materials, and a mastery of
argument. All these aspects of knowledge and skills are evaluated in the third year through a
number of different modes of assessment. The second year is intensive in numbers of classes
and lectures – an average will be about ten to fifteen hours per week.

Those who choose Archaeology and Anthropology as their second subject will receive
handbooks from the School of Archaeology. In the second year you attend lectures and
tutorials in the paper Archaeological Theory and Anthropological Enquiry. You have a
choice of Anthropology papers in the third year. More detailed information is not given here:
you should consult your teachers in Archaeology and Anthropology if you have any
questions. That course is much more strongly focused on essays than the
Egyptology/Akkadian part.

Classes in the second language are begun in Michaelmas Term. As in the first year, the
grammar is normally covered by the end of the first term and texts are read in the second and
third terms. There are typically three or four hours per week of classes in the subsidiary
language throughout the year. Most subjects also offer lecture courses that take forward the
general subjects presented in the first-year Civilization and History course. In the case of
Coptic, the background to early Christian Egypt is covered mainly in the text classes and by
essay work.

In Hilary Term of the second year the division of Akkadian set texts for the final examination
(termed Final Honours School in Oxford, and abbreviated to FHS here) is published by
Friday, 3rd week of Hilary term in the year preceding the FHS exams. These lists are
available at: http://weblearn.ox.ac.uk/site/human/orient/nme/egyptology/ane/hons/

These lists make clear which texts should be prepared for the FHS take-home paper or papers
and which texts should be prepared for other FHS papers. The field of concentration and
details of the Akkadian text(s) of choice are registered later, at the beginning of Michaelmas
Term of the third year. The division of Egyptian set texts occurs in Hilary Term of the third
year and lists are available at:

During the second year you need to select your field of concentration on which you will be
examined in paper 7 of the final examination (FHS), as well as your dissertation. Sample

topics are listed below (p. 19) For either of those options, some students choose from among
the topics listed, but the majority select subjects that are tailored for a group of two or three
students, or sometimes individually. Although formally these choices do not have to be
decided until Monday of second week of Michaelmas Term in the third year, it is best to
prepare for work on the material at the end of your second year. Your field of concentration
and dissertation may be offered in your main language, your second subject or language, or
one in each area.

In Egyptology, Old or Late Egyptian is begun in Michaelmas Term (these alternate by year,
and second and third year students are grouped together). Texts in the additional stage of the
language are read over Michaelmas and Hilary terms. Because these stages of the language
are not fundamentally different from Middle Egyptian, grammatical instruction is confined to
a few hours and much of the learning of the language is through reading texts. There are two
or three hours of classes in Old or Late Egyptian per week.

Middle Egyptian texts, which form the largest category that is read, are studied throughout
the second year and often in Michaelmas Term of the third year. There are three, sometimes
four, classes per week in Middle Egyptian texts. The range of genres of material read is very
wide. Class work involves consequential discussion of such topics as interpersonal
communication in letters, biography, law, religion, historiography, and literature. The texts
are grouped both by theme and progressively in terms of difficulty. The selection of texts
may be varied in order to relate the material to choices of second languages and to take
advantage of new editions. Some ancient texts have assumed a central position in Egyptology
and will always be included. Examples of these are the tales of Sinuhe, the Shipwrecked
sailor, and Wenamun, as well as parts of the Pyramid Texts, the Coffin Texts, and the Book
of the Dead. Among historical texts, the Annals of Thutmose III have a similar status, as do
biographies like the Old Kingdom text of Harkhuf. Hieratic, the name given to the cursive
form of the Egyptian script, is also taught for two terms of the second and third years.
Students learn to read the hieratic originals of texts they have already read in transcribed
hieroglyphic versions, such as the Shipwrecked Sailor and papyri detailing judicial
procedures surrounding tomb robberies during the late New Kingdom.

Teaching in the second year generally includes seminars on non-language topics two times
per term. A lecture course on Egyptian art and architecture runs for two terms and the first
four weeks of Trinity Term. This is also attended by some students reading Classical
Archaeology and Ancient History and History of Art. It is possible to take Art and
Architecture as a field of concentration in the third year, building on the knowledge gained
from the lecture course.

In Trinity Term a course on Egyptian materials and artefacts is held in the Ashmolean
Museum. This area continues to be studied in the third year and more details are given there.

Students taking Akkadian as their first language in years two and three and students taking
their second year of Akkadian as a second or additional language study a core of important
texts. Everyone reads parts of the Epic of Gilgamesh or the Babylonian Epic of Creation in

cuneiform and usually letters from the international Amarna correspondence in
transliteration. These letters complement the Egyptian courses taken by some students.

Royal inscriptions of Esarhaddon and Nabonidus or Neo-Babylonian documents on subjects
from dowries to temple service also usually form part of every student’s syllabus. The course
for students taking Akkadian as a first language normally includes all these texts.

All students usually also study the literary prologue and epilogue of the Laws of Hammurapi
in Old Babylonian monumental cuneiform. Students taking Akkadian as a second or
additional language would read this text in Trinity Term during their first year studying

Other works studied will depend on your special interests and your chosen field of
concentration or text of choice, but your overall syllabus should cover compositions in Old
Babylonian, Standard Babylonian, and at least one other dialect of Akkadian (e.g., Neo-
Assyrian, Old Akkadian, Amarna dialect). Your syllabus as a whole should also encompass a
range of the following genres: myths and epics; religious texts, such as hymns, incantations,
and rituals; scholarly works, such as omens, mathematical and medical texts; letters;
economic and/or administrative documents; historiographical texts, such as royal annals and
inscriptions; and laws and/or legal records. Your teachers are happy to advise you on this.

More advanced lectures or seminars are given for two hours a week on a wide range of
aspects of Mesopotamian civilization, e.g., literature, cultural and political history, and

Classes on Mesopotamian artefacts are held in the Ashmolean Museum in Michaelmas and
Hilary Terms. Students take these classes in either their second or third year. In Michaelmas
Term classes are organized around a wide range of artefacts, materials including clay, stone,
metal, glass and glazes, while in Hilary Term the focus shifts to cuneiform tablets and other
inscribed objects. If you are taking both Akkadian and Egyptian, in either combination, you
may choose to be examined in artefacts from both areas, or just one.

For all students, essays and/or seminars continue during the second year at the rate of about
three per term; about two thirds are in the first subject and one third in the second subject.
Tutorials are used to help you explore issues in the interpretation of ancient cultures and to
develop skills of argument and presentation. General reading should be kept up so that an
overall view of the subject is maintained and you keep abreast with developments. The
reading lists given out in the first year are quite full and are intended to be useful throughout
the course; they will be replaced as necessary by new versions. You may also wish to
approach staff for advice on supplementing what is given there, or for materials in areas not
covered by the lists.

You may wish to attend lectures in related subjects in which you have an interest, e.g.
archaeology, art history, and linguistics, but these may sometimes clash with other classes.
You also need to be realistic about the number of commitments you take on. You are
encouraged to attend the research seminars arranged several times a term in Ancient Near

Eastern Studies and Egyptology, at which local and visiting speakers present papers for
discussion. These are usually followed by tea in the Common Room.

Before the Long Vacation of your second year, you need to decide on an area for a
dissertation topic, in consultation with your teachers. The subject must be different from your
field of concentration and optional special subject, but may utilize either one or both of your
languages, or Archaeology and Anthropology. You may focus on textual sources, or aspects
of material culture, or both. Some students choose to work on the collections of the
Ashmolean or Pitt Rivers Museums for their dissertations. The dissertation is your
opportunity to carry out a substantial and independent piece of work (maximum 15,000
words). You should if possible begin research during the summer of your second year, as a
great deal of your third year will be taken up with preparation for the other papers of the final
examination. A general guide to undertaking dissertation work in EANES is posted on
Weblearn (Egyptology and Ancient Near East main page).

Third year

By Monday of 2nd week of Michaelmas Term you need to complete and return a form
applying for formal approval by the Faculty Board for any of the following that apply to your
degree: Field of Concentration for Paper 7; Dissertation title; and Special Subject in the form
of a Dissertation. The form must also be signed by the member of the academic staff who
will be working with you. You must return the completed form to the Examinations
Administrator, Room 314, Oriental Institute. The Application for Approval form is available
from the Faculty Office, Oriental Institute or at:

There are numerous classes and lectures in Michaelmas Term of the third year – about ten to
fifteen per week, as in the second year. In Trinity Term most of the work in class is
unprepared or consists of revision sessions. Because there is essay writing for your field of
concentration and optional special subject as well as dissertation work, the number of essays
on general topics is reduced in comparison with earlier years, but the overall proportion of
essay work rises.

Much of the third year is devoted to work on your field of concentration and dissertation.
The pattern of work depends upon the topic chosen, how many students are doing the same
subjects, and how particular topics are best taught. Subjects can be approached through essay
writing, through regular classes, or through a mixture of both. Broadly, the field of
concentration should fill up to half of the time spent on the Egyptology or Akkadian part of
the course for the first two terms of the year (or a rather larger proportion for the subject if
the field of concentration is in the second subject).

Another quarter of the main subject time should be spent on the dissertation. For this,
bibliographies are discussed with the supervisor and an outline is agreed. If the dissertation is
to involve museum work, this needs discussing with the museum staff as early as possible.
The supervisor will review some but not all chapters of dissertations as they are produced;
some students, however, prefer to work more on their own for the dissertation. The

dissertation is submitted at the end of the tenth week of Hilary Term, two weeks after normal
teaching stops at the end of eighth week. The title page of the dissertation should give the
name of the degree (Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, irrespective of your
choice of options), the title, the date (2009), and your candidate number (do not include your
name). The dissertation should be bound; a basic glued binding with card and a cloth spine,
available on the spot in copy-shops for about £2.50, is perfectly adequate. You must submit
two bound copies of your thesis to the Examination Schools no later than 12 noon on Friday
of the tenth week of Hilary Term, addressed to the Chairman of Examiners, Honour School
of Oriental Studies, Examination Schools, Oxford. Students are also asked to submit a copy
of their dissertation on disk (preferably in pdf). You should also complete and sign a
declaration that the dissertation is your own work and submit this separately in a sealed
envelope addressed to the Chairman of Examiners as above. The declaration form is
available from the Faculty Office, Oriental Institute or at:
You may also wish to keep a personal copy of the dissertation with a title page giving your
name and college in place of your candidate number, particularly if you might use it as
supporting material for an application for a job or for a graduate place. Remember to write
your candidate number and not your name on the copies you submit for examination.

Students taking Archaeology and Anthropology as a second subject choose from two
Archaeology papers and two Anthropology papers. For Archaeology, you may choose
between: ‘Urbanization and Change in Complex Societies’ or ‘From Hunting and Gathering
to States and Empires in South-west Asia’. For Anthropology, you may choose between:
‘Social Analysis and Interpretation’ or ‘Cultural Representations’. You must speak with the
Subject Co-ordinator at the beginning of each term to arrange tutorials.

Egyptian artefact classes in the Ashmolean Museum continue. In Hilary and the first half of
Trinity Term individual artefacts from all periods are studied, analysing how they should be
approached, relating them to archaeological contexts where possible, and studying what can
be learned about them as individual pieces as well as what they tell us more broadly about
Egyptian civilization. The classes last one and a half hours per week. Towards the end of
these classes practice is given in preparing formal written descriptions of artefacts.

As described under the second year, students take Mesopotamian artefact classes in the
Ashmolean Museum in the Michaelmas and Hilary Terms of either their second or third year.

In Egyptology, the Middle Egyptian text classes continue, typically at two hours per week,
with the prescribed syllabus normally being completed during Michaelmas Term. The class
then moves on to reading unprepared texts in Middle, Late, and sometimes Old Egyptian,
both in preparation for the unseen translation paper in the final examination and in order to
broaden your experience of Egyptian texts as a whole. Unprepared texts continue to be read
until the first few weeks of Trinity Term. In Michaelmas and Hilary Terms there is a course
in Old or Late Egyptian, as described above for the second year.

For all students, there is no specific coursework for the final general paper, which includes
questions on topics in civilization and history. Preparation for this paper consists of essays,

written principally during the second year, seminar work, and independent reading, which is
essential for the final examination. You are naturally free to discuss this work with your
teachers and you may wish to write trial examination answers for comment by your teachers
in tutorials.

During Hilary and/or Trinity Terms written practice is given in examination answers for
prepared texts, in order to develop skills in presenting annotated translations together with
interpretive discussions of the significance of texts or passages in texts. This work is relevant
both to the take-home papers, which are done in the first few weeks of Trinity Term, and to
other final examination (FHS) papers.

For Egyptian, at the end of Hilary Term the division of prepared texts for the final
examination is announced and distributed in the form of a copy of the list of prescribed texts
with those to be prepared for the take-home examination singled out. For Akkadian this is
done in Hilary Term of the second year.

For both Egyptian and Akkadian, about one third of the texts are revised over the Easter
Vacation and examined in the take-homes in the first and third weeks of Trinity Term (for
some subsidiary languages the third-week take-home is substituted by a sit-down
examination at the end of the term). There is little class work during those weeks so that you
can concentrate on the examinations.

Other classes in Trinity Term are arranged with the agreement of teachers. Apart from the
Egyptian artefact classes, which continue for about half of the term, classes are mostly
confined to unprepared translation and to revision sessions, in which either prepared texts or
general topics are reviewed.

Weeks 5–6 of Trinity Term are mostly left free for revision, although classes can be held at
the request of students. The final examination is in the seventh and eighth weeks of the term.
The examiners’ meeting, after which results are announced, is normally in early July.
Students must be available for possible viva voce examination on the day of the examiners’
meeting, or on the preceding days. In practice, such examinations, which are held only if a
student’s aggregate result lies on a borderline or there are significant anomalies in a student’s
performance, are very rare; but nonetheless if they happen, they are an essential part of the
degree examination.

Candidates may be examined by viva voce (oral examination) and so candidates should be
prepared to travel to Oxford up until the final examiners’ meeting (normally by first week of
July, but may be later).

      In deciding to conduct a Viva, examiners and assessors should bear in mind that:
   1. The reason for holding a Viva must be clear and is when examiners are otherwise
      unable to determine the class of the submitted papers.
   2. A Viva must not be used as a means of assessing suspicions about possible
   3. A candidate must be given 2-3 days notice of the Viva.
   4. The Viva must be scheduled to take place before the final examiners’ meeting.

   5. A candidate who attends for a Viva can only improve on a class mark as a result of
      the Viva.


The course is examined at two points. The final degree class (I, II.1, II.2, or III) depends only
on the final examinations (including the take-home papers and the dissertation), but it is
necessary to pass Moderations, the first year examination, in order to continue into the
second part of the course. Examination ‘conventions’ are distributed in advance of
examinations; examination papers from previous years are posted online at
www.oxam.ox.ac.uk. The ‘conventions’ posted on the Oriental Institute website describe the
distribution of questions in the examination papers and their format and weighting.

Moderations consists of four three-hour papers written under examination conditions. Two
are on Egyptian or Akkadian language, including prepared translation, grammar, and simple
unprepared translation both to and from the chosen language. There are also two essay
papers, on Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, and History of the Ancient Near East to
30 BCE. These contain questions on the whole of the Ancient Near East, including Egypt.

Students who pass all four Moderations papers together at one sitting may be eligible for the
award of a distinction. Those who fail one or more Moderations papers will normally retake
these in the second half of September; the resits are technically known as the Preliminary
Examination but passing them is equivalent to passing Moderations. It is necessary to have
passed in all four papers in order to move on to the second part of the course.

In the final examinations (FHS), you take ten units, some of which are presented in advance
and others sat in formal examinations. For students taking Archaeology and Anthropology
as a second subject, please see the comment on p. 22.

1. and 2. These are three-hour written translation papers, one in each of the two languages
          studied, and consisting both of passages from texts previously studied and of
          unprepared translation (under examination conditions, without dictionaries or sign
          lists). You may be required to transliterate passages into roman script and/or to
          transcribe into roman script marking vowel lengths (for Akkadian), as well as to
          comment on selected words or passages from the point of view of grammar and/or

3. and 5. In paper 3 (first language) and paper 5 (second language), there is also emphasis
          on interpretive essays on the literary and historical content of the works studied.
          There will be some prepared translation from and comment on passages from
          those works. For Egyptian, one of the optional questions may be the transcription
          of a passage in hieratic into hieroglyphs. These examinations are also three-hour
          written papers.

4. and 6. Papers 4 (first language) and 6 (second language) are take-home examinations. In
          each case four passages from works studied are set for examination by essay. For

             each paper, you choose one of the passages set and prepare a commented
             translation and an essay (not exceeding 3,500 words) on it. The passages for paper
             4 (first language) are assigned at 10 a.m. on Monday of the First Week of the final
             term, and you have until 12 noon on the Monday of Second Week to complete
             your work and hand it in. For paper 6 (second language) the passages are assigned
             at 10 a.m. on Monday of the Third Week of the final term, and you have until 12
             noon on the Monday of Fourth Week to complete the work and hand it in. In both
             cases, you have to submit separately a signed declaration that the essay is your
             own work. The declaration form is available from the Faculty Office, Oriental
             Institute or at:
             For these essay papers, you have full access to library and other resources, and
             prepare your answers in your own time. They must be typed and presented in
             proper scholarly form.

Lists of standard texts prescribed for papers 3–6 are established during the second or third
year of the course; they are available from the Oriental Institute Faculty Office and
Weblearn. It is also possible for students to propose their own groups of texts, if, for
example, they have a special interest in a particular area.

The remaining compulsory papers are:

7.       A field of concentration which you may propose yourself or which can be chosen from
         a list of topics published in October of your second year by the Faculty Board for
         examination in the third year; the choice must be approved by the Board in each case.
         The following specimen list gives some suitable topics. The more general of these can
         be focused in specific periods.
         Demotic
         Hieroglyphic texts of the Graeco-Roman period
         Archaeology of early Egypt
         Essay topics on Nubia, with a selection of historical texts relating to Nubia
         Inscriptions and history of the Late New Kingdom and/or Third Intermediate Period
         Egyptian art and architecture (included in the formal list of papers; see below)
         Egyptian foreign relations, 650–200 BCE
         Egyptian religion and ethics
         Magico-medical texts

      Mesopotamian history and archaeology from the Early Dynastic Period to the end of
       the Old Babylonian Period
      Old Babylonian documents and social history
      The Amarna Age in the Near East: international politics and royal correspondence
      The Assyrian empire from the fall of Mitanni to 612 BCE, with special reference to
       Ashur, Kalhu, Khorsabad, Jerwan and Nineveh

          Sumerian culture, to include art, architecture and literature
          Ancient Near Eastern scholarship, to include some combination of mathematics,
           astronomy, lexical study, grammar and divination

          Other topics
       Early Islamic History: from the time of the Prophet to the early ‘Abbasids, 570–809
        CE (suitable for those whose second language is Arabic)
       Religions and mythologies of the Ancient Near East
       Comparative Semitic philology

8.         A ‘hands-on’ written examination, in which a selection of Egyptian and/or Ancient
           Near Eastern artefacts is to be described, and one or two essay answers on topics
           relating to material culture are to be written. This three-hour paper is examined in the
           Ashmolean Museum.

9.         A general essay paper, including questions on Egyptology and/or Ancient Near
           Eastern Studies today. This is a three-hour written paper.

10.        A dissertation, to be submitted by the end of 10th Week in Hilary Term of the final
           year. The topic must be approved in advance by the Faculty Board, and must be of a
           different character from the field of concentration chosen for paper 7.

11.        Egyptian art and architecture. This optional paper may be taken in place of paper 7. It
           is also available to students in the honour schools of Classical Archaeology and
           Ancient History and History of Art.

If your second subject is Archaeology and Anthropology, instead of second language
papers (papers 2, 5, 6), you sit exams in three Archaeology and Anthropology papers:
Archaeological Theory and Anthropological Enquiry; either Urbanization and Change in
Complex Societies or From Hunting and Gathering to States and Empires in South-west
Asia; and either Social Analysis and Interpretation or Cultural Representations, Beliefs, and

If you are taking Arabic, Aramaic and Syriac, Coptic, Hebrew (Biblical and Mishnaic), or
Old Iranian as your second language, as papers 2, 5, and 6, you may offer instead the papers
prescribed respectively for Arabic, Aramaic and Syriac, Coptic, Hebrew (Biblical and
Mishnaic), and Old Iranian as additional languages in the Honour School of Oriental Studies.
These offer a different format for the study and examination of these languages from that
otherwise used in EANES.

If your main subject is Hebrew, Classics, or Arabic, the final examination for Akkadian or
Egyptian consists of three written papers sat in the last term or your two years’ study of
Akkadian or Egyptian, along with the examination papers in your main subject.

These papers are either the same as or similar to papers 1, 3, and 4 for the main language, as
described above for the final examination in Egyptology and/or Ancient Near Eastern Studies
(so that paper 4 is a take-home examination based on your prepared texts). You may replace
either paper 2 or paper 3 of your subsidiary language numbering by one of papers 7, 9, or 10
in the main language sequence. (The numbering in the Examination regulations is confusing,
because nos. 1, 2, and 3 are used with different meanings for the main and subsidiary
languages; we are therefore not following this here.)

If your main subject is Classics, you can offer a special subject in addition to your three
compulsory papers. The special subject may be examined either by a written
examination paper or in the form of a dissertation. Such a subject may be chosen from an
Akkadian- or Egyptian-based topic, dependent on which of those two languages you are
taking. Your special field or dissertation may be in a topic linking the two subjects.

Those who currently teach, and/or research at postdoctoral level, in Egyptology and Ancient
Near Eastern Studies at Oxford include the following:
   Professor John Baines, Professor of Egyptology (Queen’s College)
   Dr Christoph Bachhuber, Associated Faculty Member
   Dr Francisco Bosch-Puche, Assistant to the Editor of the Topographical Bibliography and
      Keeper of the Archive, Griffith Institute
   Dr Paul Collins, Keeper for the Ancient Near East, Department of Antiquities,
      Ashmolean Museum (Jesus College)
   Dr Jacob Dahl, University Lecturer in Assyriology (Wolfson College)
   Dr Stephanie Dalley, Faculty Member (Wolfson College)
   Dr Elizabeth Frood, University Lecturer in Egyptology (St Cross College).
   Dr Yvonne Harpur, Director of the Oxford Expedition to Egypt (Linacre College)
   Dr Linda Hulin, Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology (Wolfson College)
   Dr Marie-Christine Ludwig, Associated Faculty Member.
   Mr Liam McNamara, Assistant Keeper, Department of Antiquities, Ashmolean Museum
   Dr Arietta Papaconstantinou, Faculty Member
   Dr Richard Parkinson, Assistant Curator, Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan,
      British Museum
   Dr Chloe Ragazzoli, Lady Wallis Budge Junior Research Fellow in Egyptology
      (University College)
   Dr Vincent Razanajao, Editor of the Topographical Bibliography and Keeper of the
      Archive, Griffith Institute
   Dr Frances Reynolds, Shillito Fellow in Assyriology (St Benet’s Hall)
   Dr. Gareth Roberts, Coordinating editor for the Online Egyptological Bibliography,
      Griffith Institute
   Dr Robert Simpson, Griffith Egyptological Fund Research Fellow
   Professor Mark Smith, Professor of Egyptology and Coptic (University College)
   Dr Alice Stevenson, Researcher in World Archaeology, Pitt Rivers Museum, Associated
      Faculty Member
   Dr Elizabeth Tucker, Jill Hart Research Fellow in Indo-Iranian Philology
   Mr Klaus Wagensonner, Research Associate in Assyriology, CSCDL Oxford
   Dr Mark Weeden, Associated Faculty member.
   Dr Andreas Winkler, Departmental Lecturer in Egyptology

Dr Helen Whitehouse, Faculty member

The EANES Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) meets at least once a year, usually on a
Tuesday afternoon in Hilary Term. At these meetings both students and teachers can present
issues and problems for discussion, ranging from proposals for syllabus and examination
reform to such matters as teaching style and library provision. The student body nominates
two representatives every year. They set the agenda for the meeting, together with the subject
group co-ordinator (Dr Jacob Dahl), taking into account submissions (which may be
anonymous) from students and teachers alike. Your comments and criticisms will be treated
with seriousness and, at your request, in confidence. The agenda is sent to all EANES
undergraduates and staff at least a week before the JCC. You are most welcome to come to
the meeting, either to put your points across or simply to listen, but do not feel you have to
attend. The minutes are circulated to everyone as soon as possible afterwards.

Oxford is fortunate to have unrivalled library resources for ancient Near Eastern literature,
history and archaeology in the new Sackler Library, covering Egyptian, Coptic, Akkadian,
Sumerian, Hittite, Elamite, Old Persian, Hurrian, Ugaritic, and some other fields. The
Sackler Library integrates collections for the entire ancient Near East and Mediterranean, as
well as European archaeology and art history, both western and eastern.

Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Oxford focus both on textual study and on
social and cultural issues, including art, literature, and social theory. The Ashmolean
Museum is also an exceptionally strong resource for studying material culture. Periods
covered in teaching and research range from Prehistory to Late Babylonian and Roman
times. Concerning Egypt, there are particular strengths in Graeco-Roman Egypt and in Greek
papyrology (the study of Greek documents found in Egypt), which is taught in the Classics
Faculty, as well as in the study of Coptic language, texts, and early Christian Egypt.

The Ashmolean Museum
The Ashmolean Museum has an extensive collection of Ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian
antiquities and is a key resource for research, learning, and teaching:
The Ashmolean houses the most important collection of cuneiform tablets in the UK after the
British Museum. Students are encouraged to become familiar with the collection and to learn
to read and copy from the original tablets. Undergraduate students may be able to join
specific tuition in copying cuneiform organized for graduate students. Important collections
of other Mesopotamian material include finds from excavations at Kish, currently being
studied in the Kish Project at the Field Museum, Chicago: http://www.fieldmuseum.org/kish/

The Egyptian collection is unrivalled in some areas, notably prehistoric and Early Dynastic
Egypt, the Amarna period, and ancient Nubia, and has a good coverage for all periods. The
majority of the collection is from excavations and so has a proper provenance. The collection
of ostraca (inscribed stone flakes and potsherds) is among the world’s largest, in both hieratic
and demotic.

The Pitt Rivers Museum

The Pitt Rivers Museum also houses a small but diverse collection of Egyptian artefacts,
much of which was donated by Petrie from his excavations in Egypt. The range of material is
an excellent complement to that in the Ashmolean, and is available to students for research.
The Pitt Rivers Museum also welcomes volunteers.

The Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI)
The CDLI http://cdli.ucla.edu is a joint project of the University of California at Los
Angeles, the University of Pennsylvania, The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
at Berlin, and the University of Oxford. The CDLI represents the efforts of an international
group of Assyriologists, museum curators and historians of science to make available
through the internet the form and content of cuneiform tablets dating from the beginning of
writing, ca. 3350 BC, until the end of the pre-Christian era. We estimate the number of these
documents currently kept in public and private collections to exceed 500,000 exemplars, of
which now nearly 225,000 have been catalogued in electronic form by the CDLI. The CDLI
is currently funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, with Oxford staff developing
improved image capture methods for cuneiform (including RTI or camera dome capture).
Work is underway to image and catalogue the entire collection of inscribed objects from the
Ancient Near East in the Ashmolean Museum (approximately 4500 tablets and fragments).
The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL)
The ETCSL http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/, a project of the University of Oxford, comprises a
selection of nearly 400 literary compositions recorded on sources which come from ancient
Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) and date to the late third and early second millennia BCE. The
corpus contains Sumerian texts in transliteration, English prose translations and
bibliographical information for each composition. The transliterations and the translations
can be searched, browsed and read online using the tools of the website. We are currently
working on the integration of the ETCSL and the CDLI.

The Griffith Institute
The Topographical bibliography project for ancient Egypt, under the editorship of
Dr Vincent Razanajao, is based in the Institute, which also houses the world’s most extensive
archive of Egyptological papers and records, including the excavation records from Howard
Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun, as well as Assyriological papers. Students
may apply to undertake volunteer work experience in the Archive.
The Institute publishes books in Egyptology, Coptic, and Ancient Near Eastern subjects,
including fundamental works such as Gardiner’s Egyptian grammar (3rd ed., 1957),
Faulkner’s Concise dictionary of Middle Egyptian (1962, 1965), Junge’s Late Egyptian
grammar: an introduction (2nd edition, 2005), and Schäfer’s Principles of Egyptian art (rev.
ed., 1986). Its other books include numerous publications of material from the tomb of
Tutankhamun and a number of important monographs, such as Pinch’s Votive offerings to
Hathor (1993) and Enmarch’s The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All (2005), and Katja
Goebs, Crowns in Egyptian funerary literature: royalty, rebirth, and destruction (2008).
Griffith Institute publications are available to students at a discount. It has a very useful
website: http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/

A major project of the Griffith Institute is the Online Egyptological Bibliography (OEB),
which holds a grant from the Mellon Foundation to integrate Aigyptos and other databases
(2011–2014). This is a collaborative undertaking with the universities of Munich and

Heidelberg. The OEB makes more than 85,000 references available online with abstracts
and/or keywords, dating from 1822 to 2012. The co-ordinating editor is Gareth Roberts.

Oxford University Press
The Press has a strong tradition of publishing books on the ancient Near East written by
scholars who have links with the University. Recent titles include:
       D. Wengrow, What makes civilization?: the ancient near East and the future of the
       West (2010)
       M. Smith, Traversing eternity: Texts for the afterlife from Ptolemaic and Roman
       Egypt (2009)
       J. Baines, Visual and written culture in ancient Egypt (2006)
       J.A. Black et al., The Literature of Ancient Sumer (2004)
       T. Bryce, Life and Society in the Hittite World (2002)
       T. Bryce, The kingdom of the Hittites (1998, rev. ed. 2005)
       S.M. Dalley, Esther’s Revenge at Susa: From Sennacherib to Ahasuerus (in press)
       S.M. Dalley, Old Babylonian Texts in the Ashmolean Museum Mainly from Larsa,
            Sippir, Kish and Lagaba (2005)
       S.M. Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia (1998, rev. ed. 2000)
       S. M. Dalley et al., The legacy of Mesopotamia (1998)
       A. G. McDowell, Village life in ancient Egypt (1999)
       R. B. Parkinson, The Tale of Sinuhe and other Egyptian poems (1997)
       E. Robson et al., The History of Mathematical Tables: From Sumer to Spreadsheets
       E. Robson, Mesopotamian mathematics, 2100–1600 B.C.: technical constants in
           bureaucracy and education (1999)
       M. Van De Mieroop, The ancient Mesopotamian city (1997)
       M. L. West, The east face of Helicon: West Asiatic elements in Greek poetry and
             myth (1997)
                                                                              5 October 2010

Set Texts (or Prescribed texts)

A final list of set texts will be published not later than Friday of 3rd week, Hilary term, for the
examination in the following academic year.

The lists of Akkadian and Sumerian set texts are published online at:

The lists of prescribed texts for Egyptian are available at:

                        Appendix A: Faculty Information

   1. University complaints and appeals procedure
   2. Student feedback form and notes
   3. Note on when external examiners are used
   4. Note on voluntary submission of theses on CD
   5. Weblink for use of IT regulations
   6. List of weblinks for study skills and other resources
   7. University definition of plagiarism

Complaints and academic appeals within the Faculty of Oriental Studies
1. The University, the Humanities Division and the Oriental Studies faculty all hope that
provision made for students at all stages of their programme of study will make the need for
complaints (about that provision) or appeals (against the outcomes of any form of
assessment) infrequent.
2. However, all those concerned believe that it is important for students to be clear about how
to raise a concern or make a complaint, and how to appeal against the outcome of
assessment. The following guidance attempts to provide such information.
3. Nothing in this guidance precludes an informal discussion with the person immediately
responsible for the issue that you wish to complain about (and who may not be one of the
individuals identified below). This is often the simplest way to achieve a satisfactory
4. Many sources of advice are available within colleges, within faculties/departments and
from bodies like OUSU or the Counselling Service, which have extensive experience in
advising students. You may wish to take advice from one of these sources before pursuing
your complaint.
5. General areas of concern about provision affecting students as a whole should, of course,
continue to be raised through Joint Consultative Committees or via student representation on
the faculty/department’s committees.

3.1 If your concern or complaint relates to teaching or other provision made by the faculty,
then you should raise it with the chairman of the Undergraduate Committee (Dr Robert
Chard) or with the Director of Graduate Studies (Dr Luke Treadwell) as appropriate. Within
the faculty/department the officer concerned will attempt to resolve your concern/complaint
3.2 If you are dissatisfied with the outcome, then you may take your concern further by
making a formal complaint to the University Proctors. A complaint may cover aspects of
teaching and learning (e.g. teaching facilities, supervision arrangements, etc.), and non-
academic issues (e.g. support services, library services, university accommodation, university
clubs and societies, etc.). A complaint to the Proctors should be made only if attempts at
informal resolution have been unsuccessful. The procedures adopted by the Proctors for the
consideration of complaints and appeals are described in the Proctors and Assessor’s
Memorandum[http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/proctors/pam/] and the relevant Council
regulations [http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/statutes/regulations/]
[ 4. If your concern or complaint relates to teaching or other provision made by your college,
then you should raise it either with your tutor or with one of the college officers, Senior
Tutor, Tutor for Graduates (as appropriate). Your college will also be able to explain how to
take your complaint further if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of its consideration. ]

Academic appeals
5. An appeal is defined as a formal questioning of a decision on an academic matter made by
the responsible academic body.
6. For undergraduate or taught graduate courses, a concern which might lead to an appeal
should be raised with your college authorities and the individual responsible for overseeing
your work. It must not be raised directly with examiners or assessors. If it is not possible
to clear up your concern in this way, you may put your concern in writing and submit it to
the Proctors via the Senior Tutor of your college. As noted above, the procedures adopted by
Proctors in relation to complaints and appeals are on the web
7. For the examination of research degrees, or in relation to transfer or confirmation of
status, your concern should be raised initially with the Director of Graduate Studies. Where a
concern is not satisfactorily settled by that means, then you, your supervisor, or your college
authority may put your appeal directly to the Proctors.
8. Please remember in connection with all the cases in paragraphs 5 - 7 that:
(a) The Proctors are not empowered to challenge the academic judgement of examiners or
academic bodies.
(b) The Proctors can consider whether the procedures for reaching an academic decision
were properly followed;
i.e. whether there was a significant procedural administrative error; whether there is evidence
of bias or inadequate assessment; whether the examiners failed to take into account special
factors affecting a candidate’s performance.
(c) On no account should you contact your examiners or assessors directly.
9. The Proctors will indicate what further action you can take if you are dissatisfied with the
outcome of a complaint or appeal considered by them.

G:\EPSC\Complaints and appeals template 2.doc

                                       University of Oxford
                                    Faculty of Oriental Studies


The Faculty values students’ views on the teaching it provides. Please complete one form for
each course of lectures and classes that you have attended this term. Mention what you have
found good as well as what you consider needs to be improved. You are not obliged to
indicate which year of your degree course you are in, but it makes the feedback much more
useful if you do.

The forms will be seen only by the Chairman of the Undergraduate Studies Committee and
the Academic Administrator: any comments will be passed to the teacher concerned in an
anonymous form. The form itself will not be seen by the teacher. Further information about
what will happen to your comments is provided in each undergraduate subject handbook.

Students are encouraged whenever possible to discuss concerns directly with their teacher, as
this is often the quickest and most constructive way to deal with problems.

……… Term 200..

Title of lecture series or class:

Name of lecturer(s) /class teacher(s):

What year of your degree course are you in?


This form should be returned to the Academic Administrator, Room 316, Oriental
Institute, Pusey Lane, by the end of each term. It can be emailed, sent by messenger or
handed in at the Lodge.


The Faculty values students’ views on the teaching it provides. Feedback forms are sent
to all students each term, giving them an opportunity to comment on the teaching they are
receiving that term. Forms are sent out by e-mail from the Faculty Officer, and are
returned by students anonymously to enable them to comment on individual teaching
staff. Whenever possible students are encouraged to discuss concerns directly with the
teacher, as this is often the quickest and most constructive way to deal with problems.

Feedback forms will be dealt with by the Faculty in the following way:

Completed forms are only seen by the Assistant Administrator and the Chair of the
Undergraduate Studies Committee. Any comments will be passed to the teacher
concerned in an anonymous form, and the teacher will not see the form itself.

During a member of teaching staff’s probationary period, all feedback is anonymised and
forwarded both to the member of staff concerned and their mentee, together with the
recommendation that, should there be any negative feedback, the mentor and mentee
should meet to discuss it and, if appropriate, meet with the whole class from which the
negative feedback was generated. The feedback forms and recommendations are also
copied to the Tutorial Secretary and will also eventually be seen by the faculty committee
responsible for reviewing the member of staff’s initial period of appointment at the end
of their probationary period.

Outside the member of staff’s probationary period (or for teachers who are not members
of staff in Oriental Studies), all anonymised reports are forwarded to the member of staff
concerned and to the Tutorial Secretary, with the same recommendation that, should
there be any negative feedback, the member of staff and the Tutorial Secretary should
meet to discuss it and, if appropriate, meet with the whole class from which the negative
feedback was generated.

Feedback forms commenting upon the teaching of a Tutorial Secretary are copied to the
Faculty Board Chairman.

General issues (but not those regarding individual teachers) raised by student feedback
forms should be brought by the Tutorial Secretary to Joint Consultative Committee
meetings, and a written report on the outcome of any complaints should be published by
the convenor of the JCC (even if no student members attend).

3. Any student achievement that contributes to a named award will be moderated by an
external examiner, except for First Public Examinations (FPE) and M.Phil Qualifying
Examinations in Cuneiform Studies and M.Phil Qualifying Examinations in Egyptology.

4. We are also asking students to voluntarily submit a copy of their dissertation on CD
(preferably in pdf).

5. Your attention is drawn to University regulations concerning the use of Information
Technology Facilities:

6. Study Skills and Other Resources:

   EPSC Study Skills Resources

   Library Training and Workshops

   Careers and Skills Development

   Oxford University Language Centre

   Student Counselling Service


Cf. http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/epsc/plagiarism
Plagiarism is the copying or paraphrasing of other people’s work or ideas into your own
without full acknowledgement. All published and unpublished material, whether in
manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition. Collusion is another
form of plagiarism involving the unauthorised collaboration of students (or others) in a piece
of work.
Cases of suspected plagiarism in assessed work are investigated under the disciplinary
regulations concerning conduct in examinations. Intentional or reckless plagiarism may incur
severe penalties, including failure of your degree or expulsion from the university.
“Academic integrity: Good practice in citation, and the avoidance of plagiarism
In their Memorandum, Essential Information for Students, the Proctors and Assessor draw
attention to the disciplinary regulations relating to plagiarism that must be observed by both
undergraduate and graduate students. Please read Section 9.5 on the weblink below


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