In this lecture, we will go with Dr. Kevin McGeough to the near east. Narratives of “western” history tend to give Egypt and Mesopotamia a privileged distinction as the locations of the birth of civilization. Introductory textbooks, popular books on archaeology, and media treatments of the field tend to take this as self-evident and unquestionable. Since ancient Greek times, Egypt in particular has been seen as the location where many traits that distinguish “civilization” from other societal forms developed. In Victorian times, the explorations and archaeological excavations of the Egypt and the Near East spurred further thinking about these issues in relation to nineteenth-century views on progress and decline. In this lecture McGeough will examine some of the features of Egyptian and Mesopotamian culture (kings, pyramids, ancient writing, science, and organized religion) that have led people to treat the region as the origin point for civilization and show how those particular understandings reflect ancient Greek, Victorian, and other modes of thinking about “civilization”.
Talking Archaeology is a public lecture series that explores Alberta's history and rich archaeological heritage. Presented by the Archaeological Society of Alberta: Edmonton Centre - the most northern chapter of the Archaeological Society of Alberta.
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