Bloomsbury Summer School
Fascinated by ancient civilisations?
We offer anyone with any level of knowledge, inspiring short courses on ancient Egypt and other areas of the ancient world.
A brief introduction
Dr Kathryn E. Piquette, BSS Director, during a visit to the Temple at Esna in Egypt.
Founded in 1990, BSS endeavours to present the finest programme of summer courses in Egyptology and ancient world history, archaeology, languages, and literature, available in the United Kingdom.
- We offer courses on the ancient history, archaeology, ancient languages, and literature, mainly of ancient Egypt and the Near East, taught by experts working in universities, museums, and field archaeology;
- Most courses run for 3 or 5 days in summer, but we also run 4-day courses split over two weekends and 5-day spring courses;
- Normally, we deliver our programme at one of the world's leading universities, University College London (UCL), in the heart of Bloomsbury in central London, although present circumstances necessitate some online teaching;
- Although rooted in academia, we offer a relaxed and informal learning environment;
- Our lecturers are distinguished academics and specialists with world-leading expertise, but they are also friendly and approachable;
- 5-day courses have 19 teaching sessions, 4-day courses have 16 sessions, and 3-day courses have 12 sessions of mostly lectures, but may include museum visits and other activities;
- Most courses are livestreamed and video recorded so that if you cannot come to London, you can still enjoy learning and socialising with other students online;
- BSS not only offers well-taught courses in a range of exciting subjects, we also normally organise accompanying social events, all of which combine to create a rich learning experience you would struggle to find elsewhere;
- You are more than likely to go away after your time with us, not only inspired by a wealth of new material and ideas, but having made new friends.
At BSS, we are enormously fortunate to have special access (COVID-permitting) to UCL's stunning museum collections and excellent university facilities. Our classes taught in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology offer privileged access to this internationally important collection of Egyptian and Sudanese artefacts. The opportunity to handle ancient objects is not one to be missed; it is an exceptional experience. Our Bloomsbury location also allows us to include teaching sessions in the British Museum, just down the road.
We are proud to have organised at least one BSS in Egypt every year since 2009 (except 2020 and 2021). These courses in Egypt combine lectures / classes with site visits – a perfect learning experience. In 2019 we offered another course in Luxor, this time on Ancient Egyptian Astronomy and taught by Dr Bernadette Brady, Professor of Cultural Astronomy at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. This autumn we hope to offer a course at Amarna taught by Barry Kemp, Professor Emeritus of Egyptology at the University of Cambridge.
We also enjoy staging at least one Study Day each year. In 2022, we will be offering two study days, both in the autumn (dates TBC). We are looking forward to Recent Discoveries in the Royal Cache Wadi on Luxor’s West Bank, led by Dr José-Ramón Pérez-Accino, as well as a special study day to mark 200 years since the decipherment of the ancient Egyptian writing system.
Kathryn E. Piquette received her PhD from UCL in Egyptology, specialising in early Egyptian writing and art. She is currently a Senior Researcher at UCL’s Centre for Digital Humanities where has lectured on digital approaches to cultural heritage and works as an imaging specialist for UCL Advanced Imaging Consultants. Kathryn took over directorship of BSS in 2019, having directed and coordinated several BSS courses over the past two decades. A longstanding member of the Friends of the Petrie Museum, Kathryn has served as Student Representative and Membership Officer. She is also a member of the Egypt Exploration Society. Her archaeological fieldwork includes excavation in Jordan (Petra) and Egypt (Wadi Natrun, Hierakonpolis, Giza), and work as advanced digital imaging specialist at Qubbet el-Hawa, Deir Anba Hadra, Philae Temple, and several other projects in Egypt. Among her publications is the Open Access monograph An Archaeology of Art and Writing: Early Egyptian labels in context (2018) with supporting online database, and the freely available co-edited volume Writing as Material Practice: Substance, surface and medium (2013). She is also working on co-edited volumes on the Narmer Palette, Palermo Stone, and the Shabaqo Stone.
Lucia Gahlin directed BSS from 2009–2019, having also directed numerous highly successful courses of her own and played a role in its organisation since 1994. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology and lectures widely on ancient Egypt. She leads regular archaeological tours to Egypt (including for Andante Travels). She has a long-standing association with UCL’s Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology , and has worked particularly on its material from Amarna. She is Chair of the Friends of the Petrie Museum, and has been a Trustee of the Egypt Exploration Society. She has worked as Small Finds Registrar at the archaeological site of Tell el-Amarna in Middle Egypt. Her publications include Egypt: Gods, Myths and Religion (2001) and chapters in Wilkinson, T. (ed.) The Egyptian World (2007).
Christopher Coleman founded Bloomsbury Summer School in 1990 and it soon became the most successful organisation of its kind in the United Kingdom. He was a Lecturer in History at University College London, where he remains an Honorary Research Fellow of the UCL History Department. He has been involved in research on the career of Sir Robert Mond and the related work of several of his associates, especially that of Oliver Myers and Hans Winkler at Armant and in Egypt’s Eastern and Western Deserts. Through BSS he has made significant financial (and other) contributions to a wide range of research projects in Egyptian archaeology and related subjects: expeditions to Hierakonpolis, Zawiyet Sultan, Saqqara, Mo’alla, Abydos, the Abu Tartur Plateau, Mendes, the royal tombs KV5 and KV39 in the Valley of the Kings; the Centre for Alexandrian Studies; the Amarna Royal Tombs Project; the Amarna Trust; the Theban Mapping Project; the Manchester Egyptian Mummy Project; the Western Sahara Geo-Archaeological Survey; the University of Oxford’s Griffith Institute; UCL’s Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology; the Rock Art Topographical Survey; the Palestine Exploration Fund; the Egypt Exploration Society; the German Archaeological Institute (DAI); the Gebel el-Silsila Project; the Colossi of Memnon and Temple Conservation Project at Kom el Hettan; and The Holt Festival 2014: Egypt through the Artist’s Eye Exhibition and Lecture Programme.