Bloomsbury Summer School (text)

Bloomsbury Summer School

Ibis (mobile-only branding graphic)

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 2010


“This is how one lives at Thebes!” The life and works of the Theban royal tomb makers

Course Director: John Romer

10 – 17 November 2010

John Romer is a renowned expert on Deir el-Medina and the Valley of the Kings, with over 40 years experience working in Luxor and this was a unique opportunity to hear this entertaining and knowledgeable Egyptologist give a week of lectures in the heart of Luxor. The Course Coordinator, accompanying the group throughout was Lucia Gahlin, BSS Deputy Director and Egyptologist.


Course Description

The extraordinary achievement of the royal tombs of Thebes cannot be fully appreciated without an understanding of the environment in which they were made. John Romer and the group re-explored the world of the Theban New Kingdom considering how and why the first royal tombs were made at Thebes, and how the tomb makers who lived at Deir el Medina elaborated that tradition to create the great tombs of the Valley of the Kings. We also explored the purposes and meanings of these tombs – and something also, of the lives and times of the archaeologists and Egyptologists who have shaped our present understanding of them. Finally, in the light of fresh and, as yet, largely unpublished evidence, John outlined a new history of the ending of the Valley of the Kings and of the remarkable community of those who worked there.



About the Course Director

John Romer has lived and worked in Luxor over forty years, serving on American and German expeditions and acting as Field Director of The Brooklyn Museum Theban Expedition, which conducted the first physical survey and conservation studies in the Valley of the Kings and the clearance and epigraphic study of the tomb of Ramesses XI. John has also dedicated a great part of his time to archaeological conservation and, as an aid to raising public awareness of the importance and fragility of the past, has made many TV and radio documentaries. Besides numerous scholarly articles and reports, his books have included The Valley of the Kings, Ancient Lives and The Great Pyramid.


Suggested Reading

Assmann, J. (2001) The Search for God in Ancient Egypt. Cornell University Press.
Hornung, E. (1999) Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife. Cornell University Press.
Kemp, B.J. (2005) Ancient Egypt; anatomy of a civilisation. Routledge.
McDowell, A.G. (1999) Village Life in Ancient Egypt. Clarendon Press.
Nims, C. (1965) Thebes of the Pharaohs. Elek (Paul) (Scientific Books) Ltd.
Piankoff, A. (1954) The Tomb of Ramesses VI. Pantheon Books.
Wente, E.F. (1990) Letters from Ancient Egypt. Scholars Press.


Course programme

Day 1
Morning flight from Gatwick to Luxor. Check in to a 5* hotel for 7 nights

Day 2
Visit Luxor Temple, Sheikh Abu el-Haggag mosque & Luxor Museum
Lecture: ‘Just Like Us?’ Jaroslav Cerny and the History of Deir el Medina

Day 3
Visit Karnak Temple & Mummification Museum
Lecture: Deir el Medina and the Valley of the Kings in the Ancient Theban Landscape
Lecture: Making Royal Tombs, from the Middle Kingdom to Tutankhamen

Day 4
Visit Valley of the Kings, including the tombs of Seti I (we have applied for a Special Opening from the SCA),
Ramesses VI and Ay,and Sanctuary of Ptah & Mertseger
Lecture: Howard Carter and the topography of the Valley of the Kings
Lecture: Why all the Gold? The Order and Purposes of XVIII Dynasty Royal Burials

Day 5
Visit Deir el-Medina and Medinet Habu
Lecture: Foreman and Scribes in the Royal Valley from Horemheb to Ramesses III
Lecture: What Underworld? Redesigning the Royal Tomb in the XIX – XX Dynasty

Day 6
Visit Deir el-Bahri, Seti I’s ‘Qurna Temple’ & Carter House
Lecture: The Great Ramesside Tombs & their Robbers
Lecture: Djutmose & Butehamun in Medinet Habu, Karnak, Nubia and in the Southern Theban Valleys

Day 7
Visit the Tombs of Ramose, Userhet & Khaemhet, the Ramesseum & Merenptah’s Temple
Lecture: The Excavation of the tomb of Ramesses XI and the Ending of the Valley of the Kings and the Re-burial of the Royal Mummies

Day 8
Morning & early afternoon at leisure. Early evening flight, arriving into Gatwick at 22:05.


Back to BSS in Egypt archive