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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Wonders of Ancient Egypt by University of Pennsylvania

980 ratings

About the Course

Colossal pyramids, imposing temples, golden treasures, enigmatic hieroglyphs, powerful pharaohs, strange gods, and mysterious mummies are features of Ancient Egyptian culture that have fascinated people over the millennia. The Bible refers to its gods, rulers, and pyramids. Neighboring cultures in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean wrote about its god-like kings and its seemingly endless supply of gold. The Greeks and Romans describe aspects of Egypt's culture and history. As the 19th century began, the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt highlighted the wonders of this ancient land, and public interest soared. Not long after, Champollion deciphered Egypt's hieroglyphs and paved the way for other scholars to reveal that Egyptian texts dealt with medicine, dentistry, veterinary practices, mathematics, literature, and accounting, and many other topics. Then, early in the 20th century, Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun and its fabulous contents. Exhibitions of this treasure a few decades later resulted in the world's first blockbuster, and its revival in the 21st century has kept interest alive. Join Dr. David Silverman, Professor of Egyptology at Penn, Curator in Charge of the Egyptian Section of the Penn Museum, and curator of the Tutankhamun exhibitions on a guided tour of the mysteries and wonders of this ancient land. He has developed this online course and set it in the galleries of the world famous Penn Museum. He uses many original Egyptian artifacts to illustrate his lectures as he guides students as they make their own discovery of this fascinating culture. This course focused on five key areas in the study of Ancient Egypt: 1) Principles of Egyptian Art, 2) The Basics of the Language of Ancient Egypt: Hieroglyphs, 3) Egyptian Magic, 4) Akhenaten, Tutankhamun, and the Religion of the Aten, and 5) The Burial of Tutankhamun and the Search for his Tomb. This course is intended to accompany, and ideally to follow, Introduction to Ancient Egypt (also available on Coursera)....

Top reviews


Jul 10, 2020

This was an incredibly detailed course that provided an in-depth and interesting view of ancient Egypt. I would highly recommend this as an essential course for those interested in Egypt's history.


Feb 18, 2024

I really enjoyed this course and really appreciate the effort of Dr. Silverman and the team to be able to allow us a comprehensive glimpse into this fascinating ancient civilization. Thank you!!!

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1 - 25 of 326 Reviews for Wonders of Ancient Egypt

By Michael G L

May 28, 2020

Excellent and well constructed. I learned a great deal. I would not have found this without the course. I also appreciate the fact that this course DOES NOT make use of peer-reviewed assignments. Those are annoying, are poorly graded, and often get stuck when a course has few enrollments. The assessments are strictly quizzes.

By Jiayang T

Apr 8, 2018

This course focuses more on architect, art and language of Egypt, which are all rarely mentioned in other Egypt introducing class. Egypt culture and history is really fascinating!

By Mark C

Mar 21, 2020

I took these 2 courses after visiting the Penn Museum. It certainly makes me want to revisit that museum again and again! This is a great course to learn about Ancient Egypt.

By Simrah N

Apr 30, 2020

David P. Silverman explains everything in such vivid detail that the entire course I felt as if I was in Egypt walking across the remains of the old burial sites. He is brilliant and I am thankful that I could take a course under his guidance and especially from himself.

By Tihana I

Apr 30, 2019

Very interestingly presented, with a lot of photos. I also loved the story of the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb, it was like watching a really tense show. :) Thank you, Dr. Silverman, you've taught me a lot.

By Siddhant J

Apr 14, 2022

It is a great second part of the series of courses about Egypt from Prof. David. Silverman. Highly recommend the course to all those who found value in the first course from the same professor.

By David K

Dec 2, 2017

This is a very interesting and enjoyable course, and an excellent companion to Professor Silverman's first course, Introduction to Ancient Egypt and its Civilization.

By A S

Sep 20, 2019

Excellent course, very interesting topic and very well-presented. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in Egyptian history, art, and archaeology.

By Kelly-Anne G

May 14, 2019

Very informative and easy to follow. Would recommend to anyone looking to learn about Ancient Egyptians.

By Luca F

Dec 4, 2020

A great online free course on Egypt, whith the contribution of Dr. Silverman. I enjoyed listening to his knowledge and the very interesting content of each lesson. Also the writing part where Dr. Silverman was explaining Hyeroglyphs. The tests allow you to learn from yo

A great online free course on Egypt, with the contribution of Dr. Silverman. I enjoyed listening to his knowledge and the very interesting content of each lesson. Also the writing part where Dr. Silverman was explaining Hieroglyphs. The tests allow you to learn from your mistakes and get a better score. Which is an attitude I like when it comes to instruction. The purpose of learning has nothing to do with time during a test, or making you guilty, that way you don't learn, you serve the teacher. And again has nothing to do with knowledge. The purpose of learning is finding best solutions for you for everybody who wants to learn and wonder and take action. So I really enjoyed this course. Dr. Silverman explains the facts in a very calm comprehensive way, sometimes he is staring at the text while explaining on camera a bit but I appreciate all the amazing efforts that the Doctor and the team of Penn Museum did. Especially very high quality courses for FREE!!! Thank you I will keep learning also with you.

ur mistakes and get a better score. Which is an attitude i like when comes to instruction. The purpose of learning has nothing to do with time during a test, or making feeling you guilty. The purpose of learning is finding best solutions for you for everybody who want to learn and wonder and take action. So I really enjoyed this course. Dr. Silverman explain the facts in a very calm comprehensive way,some times is stating at the text while explaining on camera a biy but I appreciate all the amazing efforts that him and the team of Penn Museum did. Especially very high quality course for FREE!!!

By Linda H

Feb 2, 2021

Fabulous - a much more compelling way to learn than reading through a text book, alone.

I found the step by step 'bite-size' approach extremely user friendly and it was useful to have the scripts to read as well as the narrative to listen to, and the very many photographs and pictures to look at. David unlocked for me, a wide variety of aspects of Ancient Egypt about which I'd been completely ignorant before. I appreciated the range of supplementary reading sources on each topic, and to be able to flip back and forth to re-listen to bits that I'd missed or misunderstood. The challenge of the tests was thought provoking and encouraged one to question one's own knowledge, definitely enhancing the experience. The whole thing was meticulously constructed and David and his team, you all should be very proud. I felt total confidence in you as you took us through the course and I'd definitely recommend to others. Thank you

By Vladislav Z

Nov 16, 2020

This was a detailed and well structured course and I thoroughly enjoyed taking it. There was substantial interesting information presented and it served as a good supplement to the Introduction to Ancient Egypt MOOC also presented by the same professor. In particular I enjoyed the imagery included alongside the material as the visuals really helped in communicating the content, not to mention the beauty of the art and architecture of ancient Egypt. My only small complaints mirror those that I have with the aforementioned intro course, which regard the professor seemingly reading off a script behind the camera in a flat unengaging tone, but really that did not impede my positive experience whatsoever. I recommend taking this MOOC alongside the other one if you have any passing interest at all in Ancient Egypt or history in general.

By Martin G

Sep 13, 2020

The course was interesting for myself and lifted me on a higher but still very low level :-)). The presentation of Mr. Silverman makes it easy to follow, even there are a lot of specific terms and special English wordings which makes it necessary that use google translator :-)sometimes. I would like to here more about Egyptian daily life of the ordinary people and their relationship to the royalties and their culture and principles, if they are known as far as possible. The course could go deeper to explain hieroglyphics. I would learn more of that staff. It was very short and I had a lot of fun. The calm presentation was really suitable for this course.

By Paolo I

Jun 15, 2020

I liked it. This course is more about the culture than hystory of Ancient Egypt, and I found it's fascinating. Their culture has some kind of mystery and magic, and it is interesting to know more about it. It make me more interesting on learning a bit more.

The only complaint I have is a very minor one, but I think the last lesson could be improved by talking more about the discovery of other tombs, with Tut's being like the high point of the lesson (the last lesson, for instance). I think this a interesting subject and perhaps a miss.

By Rocío H P

Jul 11, 2020

Es un curso maravilloso, se explica a detalle el arte del antiguo Egipto, como cambio a través del tiempo y sus dinastías, el significado de los jeroglíficos, como era su escritura, la importancia de la religión , sus costumbres y su magia. El arte fúnebre, ya que era una gran celebración, como hacían el entierro en las cámaras mortuorias, su riqueza. También como gobernaron los faraones como el reconocido Tutankamón. El Mr. Silverman te transporta a esos tiempos y hace un excelente trabajo. Gracias!!!

By Joseph O

Apr 30, 2020

Excellent Course! Since I live in the Philadelphia Area, I have visited Penn's Museum (many years ago) and now this course has sparked my interest in returning as soon as it re-opens, The intricate language, symbolism and elaborate burial systems used by the Ancient Egyptians are just a few of the reasons that Ancient Egypt was a truly great civilization and so important to the development and establishment of subsequent civilizations! We are forever in debt to the Pharaohs and their subjects!

By Linda M T

Jul 25, 2020

What a learning experience about a people who have been left out of the talk of history and civilization in the western world and school history books. They’re a people that the world need to know about because so much of what we know today is from these people of Africa. It would also be very nice if professors knew and used their true African names and not their Greek transposed names, such as Tutankhamun. His true name is Tutu Ankoma and he was from the Asante tribe.

By Ramon v O

Feb 2, 2022

Absolutely great course, by an expert in his field, dr. David Silverman.

Only minor downside of this great course was the fact, that the credits at the end of each clip was taking very long.

By Meguid E N

Apr 8, 2020

Excellent mini course.

I wish it was more comprehensive.

I didnt necessarily like the video clips style...; having 10 videos clips of apparently 7-10 minutes but in reality more like 3-5 minutes, if one excludes the credits and acknowlegments, is distrupting to learning. Three or 4 clips of 20 minutes each would have been more valuable.

The reading list is excellent and in particular the essays of the MMA.

The quiz is perfectly pitched.

Thank you very much for a useful learning experience.

I will try to enroll as a mentor!

By Simone L

May 17, 2019

A worthwhile course that goes well as a sequel to Dr. Silverman's Introduction to Ancient Egypt and Its Civilization. It's a little uneven in information density. And the problems with editing causing anomalous quiz questions are still there, though less than in the first course. Once again, there was insufficient proofreading of the transcript, but I always reformatted and corrected each transcript immediately after watching its corresponding video, so I used this as a technique to reinforce the information!

By Nabeel M

Jun 10, 2021

fantastic course with great information - like the intro course it suffers from a few issues such as the subtitles are more harmful than helpful, mispelling and representing information that is not only wrong but sometimes the opposite of what it means... sometimes the delivery also is a little confusing... but overall I am thankful for this course and the wealth of information it gives us. thank you David

By Fred V

Aug 13, 2020

A dull tone, and over-reliance on the artefacts of the Penn museum, as if there were no other museums for egyptology in the world, are a few of the issues within this introduction course.

By Patricia C

Feb 2, 2022

Interesting information, but with a very dry delivery. Also there seemed to be no particularly logical reason for the way the course was laid out.

By Tarık T

Mar 19, 2023

Thanks to Dr. Silverman for a detailed instruction on the artistic and archeological aspects of Ancient Egypt. The canon of Egyptian art, the instructions on hieroglyphs, in-depth history of Akhenaten and the monotheistic phase of the Egyptian dynasties were really very interesting. Coupled with his earlier course of "Introduction to Ancient Egypt and its Civilization", this course provides an enlightening account of a remarkable civilization. I hope that he can record another course on the late period and Ptolemaic era, which should be equally interesting.

By Konrad L

Jan 20, 2022

In my personal opinion this course is much more interesting than the other one dealign with the same matter prepared by prof. Silvermann "Introduction to ancient Egypt and its civilization", especially the very last week dealing with Tutenkamun's tomb made me totally engrossed in the story of the expedition leading to the tomb's rediscovery, which is not to say that the other course lacks anything, it's simply to my liking not as captivating as this particular course.