Over the semester, we’ve discussed quite a variety of different archaeological sites and cultures, covering a range from Stonehenge, to Machu Picchu, to Great Zimbabwe, and beyond. And although I’ve truly loved learning about all of these different places and the stories behind them, I cannot help but pick my favorite! The most captivating archaeological discovery that we examined, from my honest opinion, is that of the Egyptian Pyramids.
Ancient Egypt has always interested me, all the way back to when I was young. In my elementary school, our librarian had a small nook dedicated to a different topic each month, featuring books that you could read to learn more. The use of so much gold, the strange outfits they wore, and the massive stone structures intrigued me. It was so different from my life, which made me want to learn as much as I could about it! As I read through the books, my desire to understand it all simply wasn’t satisfied; I was still eager to learn more. I begged my dad to take me to the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum so I could check out the Ancient Egyptian exhibit they had. As time went on, I learned a little more about Egypt here and there throughout my schooling, watching an occasional documentary in history classes, but not too much else. I’ve always been one to study new topics and ideas for the pure sake of learning, on a never-diminishing quest for knowledge. Eventually, I became enthralled by another topic, and my interest in Ancient Egypt was pushed to the back of my mind for the time being.
So needless to say, I was beyond stoked to not only be discussing the history of Egypt, but to have a professor who has personally been a part of excavations and on-site archaeological research (I was a total fan-girl, to say the least). Looking back, the reason I most enjoyed learning about Ancient Egypt, in addition to the aforementioned bits, was because I wasn’t hearing it as the media portrays it, but rather as a more realistic, truthful interpretation. Granted, we often hear stories of King Tut and how cool the pyramids are, but as often is the case with the media, we get a skewed, superficial interpretation, and the greatness is smothered beneath it all, never to be discovered by the general public.
I thoroughly enjoyed that we had the privilege of learning about the setting and context, and the history of the region, before moving into the discoveries themselves and the men who were involved in it all. This provided us with a more well-rounded view of the archaeological importance. Rather than learning about Egypt in the Indiana Jones-esque, treasure-troving, money and fame setting, we learned about the good and the bad, the historical and cultural context, and the significance of the site. Ancient Egypt will forever hold a small spot inside my heart, for some reasoning unbeknownst to myself, and I am so delighted that we had the opportunity to learn more about it. Thank you.