Bonus Blog: The Importance of Script and Language

After the semester’s worth of knowledge I have acquired from this anthropology course, I personally believe script and language to be the most important aspects of Ancient Egyptian archaeology. Without the preservation of the Egyptian language, the archaeology of the whole area would be FAR less developed than it is today. Together, language and script have put everything we know about Ancient Egypt into context as opposed to just placement in horizontal stratification.

One of the key factors in deciphering chronology for example, are the king lists carved into the walls of desert ruins. These king lists literally chart the succession of pharaohs in the Ancient Empire complete with gaps suggesting periods of embarrassment in reference to a specific ancestral line or time frame. With the ability to associate meaning with hieroglyphs archaeologists have been able to develop an understanding of the Ancient Egyptian culture in not only modern terms, but of those pertaining to the actual citizens of the time. The ability to understand a culture within its own context has always been a core priority in the field of anthropology, and archaeological finds including king lists have aided the study of Ancient Egypt extensively.

Another example perfectly demonstrating the value of language and script in terms of Ancient Egyptian Archaeology is, of course, the internationally known, Rosetta Stone. The analysis of Ancient Greek to Demotic then Hieroglyphs marked a huge turning point in the study of the Ancient Empire. The successful translation of the Rosetta Stone allowed archaeologists to place a value or meaning with hieroglyphs, which of course allowed those studying Egypt to acquire a much more robust knowledge of the civilization. Without the Rosetta Stone translation, the knowledge and understanding, and thus the society as we know i now would not have been possible.

The examples I mentioned above are only to that exist among a slew of other cases in which script and language prove themselves as imperative aspects to archaeological study. For this reason, I believe that script and language to be validated as the most critical aspect of Ancient Egyptian archaeology.