Ancient Egypt : Hieroglyphs for Absolute Beginners

Ref: C2421690

Since the decipherment of Hieroglyphs in 1822 the discipline of Egyptology has been transformed, we can read papyri, stela, tomb and temple walls and build a real understanding of Pharaonic Egypt. This course aimed at absolute beginners will introduce Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs from first concepts, discussing core concepts and presenting common signs, and supporting the reading of key pieces of information from ancient sources such as kings and gods names. The course will focus on the material from Chapters 1 and 2 of 'How to read Egyptian Hieroglyphs' by Collier and Manley.

Course aim

To introduce the concepts and characters of the ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic script

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit:
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: and
  • This course is for a group of around 15 students studying in a live video-learning platform conference and an online digital learning environment platform from the comfort of your own home.
  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Read selected Pharaohs names within a cartouche with the aid of a sign list
  • Read the names of common Gods and Goddesses
  • Explain script-specific concepts such as Determinatives and Phonetic Complement
  • Transliterate selected words written in uniliteral and common multi-literal Hieroglyphs

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit:
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • The course will be a combination of presented material (including going through exercises together as a group) and individual exercises, you will get more from the course if you can work through some exercises between classes although this is not a requirement.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • Informal, there will be an anonymous and optional zoom quiz at the start of each session on the material of the previous week.

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit:
  • You should have a copy of Collier and Manley 'How to read Egyptian Hieroglyphs' published by British Museum Press (either edition), this is available very inexpensively on amazon and elsewhere. Ideally you will have a printer to print a few pages of handouts but this is not essential.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • If time allows any study of Hieroglyphs will be helpful but no prior knowledge at all is assumed for this course.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • The course 'Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs for False Beginners' will follow-on directly from this one.

Download full course information sheet

Ancient Egypt : Hieroglyphs for Absolute Beginners

Enrolment Conditions

This course is funded by the Greater London Combined Authority but is also open to residents of other areas.

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2020
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

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