Bas relief of Rameses III in Khonsu Temple, Karna
Ancient Egypt was a major Mediterranean civilization, existing for almost 30 centuries. Its culture was one of architectural innovation and artistic beauty, governed by rich religious traditions. Egyptologist Bob Brier, an expert in pyramids, tombs, and mummies, explores its timeless heritage in a day-long examination of Egypt's spectacular historic sites, from the Giza Plateau to the Philae Temple.
9:30–10:45 a.m. Pyramids
Among the largest structures on earth, pyramids served as royal funerary structures filled with riches for the afterlife. Examine the Great Pyramid and those in Cairo, the Giza plateau, and locations in Saqqara and Dahshur.
11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. From Karnak to the Ramesseum
Karnak is the world’s second-largest religious site with more than 30 pharaohs contributing to its complex of temples. The Luxor Temples are known as the site where kings might have been crowned. Mortuary temples on the west bank include those of Hatshepsut (Deir el Bahri), Ramses the Great (the Ramesseum), and Ramses III (Medinet Habu).
12:15–1:15 p.m. Lunch (box lunch provided)
1:15–2:30 p.m. The West Bank of the Nile
The Valley of the Kings is the mortuary area where many pharaohs, their families, and powerful nobles are buried. The most famous is Tutankhamen’s tomb, and a recent theory suggesting that Queen Nefertiti is buried behind one of its walls sparked new searches for secret chambers.
2:45–4 p.m. The Jewel of the Nile and Abu Simbel
Philae Temple, known as the “Jewel of the Nile” was built by Greek rulers of Egypt. Abu Simbel, the massive temple of Ramses II carved into a mountain, was an inspiration for Mount Rushmore.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit
Was King Tut's tomb built for a woman? In a Smithsonian Channel video, an archeologist notes that King Tut's chamber was designed and decorated differently from other Egyptian pharaohs. One theory is that his tomb was originally created for a member of the opposite sex.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)