Lights, Camera... Egyptology!

Harvard students produce original videos for Peter Der Manuelian's Egyptology class.

Harvard’s resident Egyptologist, Peter Der Manuelian, wants students in his “Pyramid Schemes: The Archaeological History of Ancient Egypt” course (discussed in an article on innovative uses of digital technology in the humanities) to get a bit more creative than the standard five-paragraph essay. As a midterm project, each student creates an original video about a specific Egyptological problem. The projects, according to the course syllabus, are meant to “demonstrate scholarly content in visual form,” as well as “encourage the creative translation of that scholarly content into interactive multimedia presentations.”

Below are six iMovie examples from the past two years.

“Ramesses...the Great?” by Grant Wonders

Ramesses II is among the most celebrated rulers in Egyptian history.  Does he really deserve to be called “great”?

“The Eg-hip-t Show Presents: The Book of the Dead” by Andrew Coffman

The Eg-hip-t Show mimics the style of educational videos directed at children and young teens and attempts to provide an entertaining introduction to The Book of the Dead and its place in ancient Egyptian culture.

“Hetepheres: The Secret Tomb” by Cody Dales

A Bill O’Reilly impersonator debunks the myth of the all-powerful pharaoh Ramesses II at the battle against the Hittites at Kadesh.

“Egyptian Gangster: The Murder of King Tut” by Rachel Byrd

Egypt's most famous rapper returns from the dead to unravel the mystery behind his infamous murder.

“The First Pyramid” by Grant Wonders

A look at the remarkable "step pyramid" design pioneered during the reign of the Third Dynasty pharaoh Djoser.

“Love the Way We Vie” by Allison Ritterhaus

This music-video parody of the Eminem/Rihanna duet explores the complicated relationship between Ancient Rome and Egypt—in particular, how the last Ptolemaic queen, Cleopatra, became a convenient metaphor for domination even though the Romanization of Egypt was a slow process.

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