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Egypt and Mesopotamia Conference 2018

Studying Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia at University
A Conference for Sixth-Formers

The Royal Asiatic Society and The British Museum, London

Saturday 3rd March 2018




The Judgment of Ani 

Egypt and Mesopotamia (modern Iraq; ancient Sumer, Assyria and Babylon) bequeathed to posterity some of the most fascinating remains from all of the ancient world.  Today it is possible to learn the languages, study the artefacts, and reconstruct the most varied aspects of these ancient civilisations in astonishing detail.

But since these subjects are not offered at A level, few sixth-formers are aware that they exist as University subjects; indeed, many A level students might never have had the opportunity to learn about these cultures.

The purpose of this one-day conference is to give sixth formers an opportunity to explore what it is like to study Egypt and Mesopotamia at British Universities: to see what makes the subject area so intellectually and culturally exciting, learn about the various degree courses, and understand what admissions tutors are looking for.

The programme will include talks about careers, information on admissions, and the opportunity to meet current students and academic staff from many of the institutions in the UK that teach these subjects, including: Cambridge, Oxford, UCL, Reading, Liverpool, Cardiff, SOAS, UEA and KCL. Representatives of the Egypt Exploration Society will also be on hand. There will also be gallery tours (led by current staff and students) and sample lectures.



The British Museum, Entrance to Gallery 9

Teachers are welcome to bring groups, but individual students and teachers are equally welcome. This is, in essence, a nation-wide Open Day for the subject area at large.

*Attendance is free.

The event is organised by the Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, in partnership with the Royal Asiatic Society and the British Museum. It is sponsored by the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, the London Centre for the Ancient Near East, the Egypt Exploration Society and the Royal Asiatic Society. Please address any queries to: 

 The "Cyrus Cylinder"


Travel bursaries

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor and the Thriplow Charitable Trust, we are able offer travel bursaries in certain instances to enable sixth formers at state schools to attend the conference.

The bursaries are administered by the Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge. To apply, 1) write to by the specified deadline, stating where you will be travelling from, by which means of transport, and the estimated cost; also include (in the text of the email or as a PDF attachment) a 250-word statement on your interest in the subject area (it may include illustrations, but need not); 2) ask a teacher or equivalent (e.g. a museum curator; not a parent) to send a reference which comments on your academic ability and enthusiasm to the same email address, by the same deadline.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome shortly after 15th February, 2018. Bursaries will normally be payable after the event via cheque or BACS. If this creates problems, please let us know when you apply.



Download provisional programme here: Programme of Events

09.30-10.00 REGISTRATION
10.00-10.05 Selena Wisnom (Cambridge) Introduction 
10.05-10.20 Claudia Näser (UCL) Studying ancient Egypt at University
10.20-10.35 Roger Matthews (Reading) Studying ancient Mesopotamia at University
10.35-10.50 Kate Spence (Cambridge) Investigating ancient foreign policy: Egypt and Nubia in the Second Millennium BC
10.50-11.05 Akshyeta Suryanarayan (Cambridge) Ancient Mesopotamia and Indus trade connections
11.05-11.20 BREAK
11.20-11.35 Mark Weeden (SOAS) Empire of Mountains: the Hittites in the Bronze Age
11.35-11.50 Christina Riggs (UEA) Why ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia matter today
11.50-12.05 Christopher Metcalf (Oxford) The Literature of the Sumerians
12.05-12.20 The Egypt Exploration Society Helping to preserve ancient Egyptian cultural heritage
12.20-13.05 LUNCH
13.05-13.20 Yaǧmur Heffron (UCL) Long-distance relationships in the Middle Bronze Age: Assyrian Merchants in Anatolia
13.20-13.35 Lindsay Allen (KCL) Ancient Iran
13.35-13.50 Michelle Middleman (Liverpool) Finding Reality in Old Kingdom Tomb Biographies
13.50-14.05 Paul Nicholson (Cardiff) Excavation and experiment in Egyptian Archaeology
14.05-14.35 CAREERS PANEL With: Olivier Holmey, Pippa Browne, Paul Harrison
14.35-14.45 ASSEMBLY TIME
15.15-16.00 Gallery Tour 1
16.00-16.30 Treasure Hunt
16.30-17.15 Gallery Tour 2

Note - the event starts and ends in different places (the Royal Asiatic Society, which is near Euston station, and the British Museum, which is a 15 min. walk away)




We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, the Egypt Exploration Society and the Royal Asiatic Society.


Future editions

This is the 3rd Annual Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia Conference for 6th formers. We are hopeful it will become an annual fixture.  If you would like to be kept up to date for next year, please sign up to the Cambridge Archaeology Outreach Mailing List.


Relevant University Open Days

Relevant university Open Days will be posted here in due course.

University of Cambridge: Department of Archaeology Outreach Events

University of Reading:


Essay Competitions


Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, Ancient World Essay Competition

Digital Poster Competition

The Gerald Avery Wainwright digital poster competition, run by Oxford University.


Recordings of modern scholars reading Babylonian and Assyrian poetry.

Sven Moons' survey of British museums which include Egyptian artefacts.

Manchester's free online taster courses in Egyptology.

Liverpool, Superpowers of the Ancient World Free Online Course

Reading, Course information


Egypt and Mesopotamia at University : A Conference for 6th Formers held at the British Museum, 5 May 2016

Egypt and Mesopotamia at University : A Conference for 6th Formers held at the Royal Asiatic Society, 4 March 2017



This event is made possible with the support of