Bloomsbury Summer School (text)

Bloomsbury Summer School

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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.

BSS in Egypt 2019

18th January 2019

Ancient Egyptian Astronomy

28 October – 4 November 2019

Course Director: Dr Bernadette Brady

This was an exciting new course taught in Luxor by well known cultural astronomer, Dr Bernadette Brady, with daily lectures and related visits to fascinating ancient sites, including 3 ‘special openings’ of sites usually closed to visitors, and a visit to the tomb of Seti I which is on a special ticket.

What made this course special?


Course description

Combining lectures in the historic Winter Palace Hotel and relevant site visits in and near Luxor, we brought you our first ever course on Ancient Egyptian Astronomy. Bloomsbury Summer School has a long-held reputation for providing popular short courses at UCL in London, and for the past ten years at different locations in Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians were keen sky observers and mythologised naked-eye astronomy, using it to inform their stellar theology, and provide them with the tools for precision geometry. This exciting new course explored the Ancient Egyptian blend of sky theology, mythology, stars and planets.


Course Director

Dr Bernadette Brady

Popular cultural astronomer, Dr Bernadette Brady, course director for this year’s BSS in Egypt.

Bernadette Brady is a Cultural Astronomer with a PhD in Anthropology. She is a tutor for the MA in Cultural Astronomy at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Her research interests include naked eye astronomy; the role of the sky within cultures (from ancient to modern); cosmologies and archaeoastronomy, including Celtic cosmologies, Egyptian astronomy, and Egyptian stellar theology.

Course programme

Day 1
Fly from Heathrow to Luxor. Check in to the 5* Winter Palace Garden Pavilion for 7 nights.

Day 2
Visit Karnak Temples of Amun, Khonsu and Mut, and Karnak Open Air Museum.
Group Lunch.
Session 1: The Role of Ancient Egyptian Astronomy: the stars, planets and the sun in shaping the Ancient Egyptian view of the divine.
Welcome Dinner.

Day 3
Visit Luxor Museum and Esna Temple.
Group Packed Lunch.
Session 2: The Sun, Ra: Fifth Dynasty solar temples, obelisks and the solar disk of Akhenaten.
Session 3: Middle Kingdom and Time: Counting the Days and Counting the Hours.

Day 4
Visit Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project, Kom el-Hettan [special opening], the Ramesseum, Tomb of Nakht, ‘Astronomer of Amun’ (TT52)
Group Lunch.
Session 4:  The New Kingdom: the astronomical ceiling of Senenmut.
Session 5:  The New Kingdom and a Different View of the Sky and the Divine: the sacred Books of the Sky.

Day 5
Visit Hatshepsut’s Temple and the Tomb of Senenmut (TT353) [special opening], both at Deir el-Bahri, Tomb of Montuemhat (TT34) [special opening].
Group Lunch.
Session 6: The Astronomical Ceiling of Seti I and its Context within the Iconography of the Sacred Sky Books.
Session 7: The Ramesside Star Clocks and their Association with the Senenmut Ceiling

Day 6
Visit Valley of the Kings: Tomb of Seti I (KV17) [special ticket], and as many of these tombs as are open on the day:
Tausret & Sethnakht (KV14), Ramesses III (KV11),
Ramesses IV (KV2), Ramesses VI (KV9), Ramesses VII (KV1)
and Ramesses IX (KV6).
Group lunch.
Session 8: The Clash of Sky Views: Greek zodiac thinking with the Egyptian sacred sky.
Session 9: The Dendera Zodiacs.

Day 7
Visit Dendera Temple.
Group Packed Lunch.
Session 10: The Legacy of Ancient Egyptian Astronomy to the Modern World.              
Farewell Dinner.

Day 8
Fly from Luxor to Heathrow.