Kemet Klub

Talking to the Dead. A Hieroglyph Reading Class


Maiken Mosleth King
Eight  Weeks: Tuesday 15 August- 3 October 2023

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Talking to the dead: A hieroglyph reading course with Maiken Mosleth King

8 x Tuesday Evenings 15th August- 3rd October
Times: 7.30-9pm (UK Times) *

We love to see you for the live lectures, but if you have to miss one, don't worry, you can of course catch up (or watch again) at your leisure via the recordings. You will have access to the recorded lectures for a whole month after the last live lecture. Recordings will be available until Monday 6 November.

This 8-week hieroglyphic reading class will look at texts from Egyptian tombs and other objects  that give us fascinating insights into the relationship between the living and the dead in ancient Egypt. We will explore texts where the dead appeal to the living for help, and other examples where the living ask the dead for their assistance as we try to understand this peculiar relationship and what this tells us about Egyptian beliefs. We will read part of the 12th dynasty stela of the steward Montuwoser, which asks the living to recite a prayer for offerings. We will also examine so-called ‘letters to the dead’, written by the living on various objects deposited in the tombs of their loved ones. This includes the 12th dynasty Cairo Bowl, which asks a deceased man to protect his widow’s maid from illness; another bowl from the First Intermediate Period, now in the Louvre, asks a deceased man to intervene in a dispute between his relatives. Students will be offered adapted versions of the texts written in a legible hieroglyphic font.

We will also read the ‘curse’ from the 6th dynasty tomb of Harkhuf at Qubbet el-Hawa. Harkhuf’s inscription is written in Old Egyptian, a precursor to Middle Egyptian with similar grammar and vocabulary. As Old Egyptian writing tends to be abbreviated and omit signs such as determinatives and 1st person suffix pronouns, students will be offered an adapted form of Harkhuf’s text with omitted signs added.


As with all our hieroglyph reading classes you will explore new vocabulary and elements of grammar as we go along. All students will  have access to Maiken’s Grammar notebook, and if you wish you can join our student facebook group which is a useful way to support each other in your reading between classes. 

Weekly homework will be provided in two levels of difficulty so that students can select a level of challenge appropriate to their needs. Lectures are recorded so you can revisit and revise, or simply watch at a time to best suit you. 


*Please note that the lecture on the 12th September will be at slightly later times. (room will open at 7.15, the lecture will start at 7.45). This is to enable our students to attend the lecture of our sister group the Egypt Society of Bristol if they wish. 

Maiken Mosleth King

Maiken Mosleth King is a lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Bristol, where she is also finalising her PhD thesis on funerary stelae and identity in Roman Egypt. She has previously completed a BA and MA in Egyptology at the University of Liverpool. She has published academic articles in Gottinger Miszellen and the Journal of History and Cultures, as well as contributing to the catalogue of the exhibition ‘Emotions in Antiquity and Ancient Egypt’ at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, Norway. Her linguistic skills are broad and include Coptic, Classical Greek, Latin, Biblical Hebrew, Phoenician, classical Arabic and hieroglyphs, which she has taught for a number of years.

Booking instructions

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Session links will be available in the course Classroom. Room opens 30 minutes before the lecture begins. If you do not have the course link or have any other queries please get in touch

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