Listening Topic: Archaeology – College lecture about Hatshepsut

A. Listen to the college lecture. Choose the correct ending for each statement.

 Hatshepsut was a ____.

      a   queen

      b   pharaoh

 While Hatshepsut was in power, Egypt ____.

      a   prospered

      b   declined

 Hatshepsut’s death ____.

      a   was the result of murder

      b   is still a mystery

B. Read the questions and answer the ones you can. Then listen to the lecture again and finish answering the questions. Listen again if necessary.

1   Who did Hatshepsut marry? _______________________

2   After she came to the throne, what did she slowly start doing? _______________________

3   How did she explain her right to be pharaoh? _______________________

4   Name two projects that she carried out. _______________________

5   What is located at Deir el-Bahri? _______________________

6   Why is this building important? _______________________

7   What happened to many of Hatshepsut’s image? _______________________

8   What did ancient Egyptians believe about the afterlife? _______________________

 What happened to Hatshepsut? _______________________

10   When was the Red Chapel built? _______________________



1 b   2 a   3 b


 Her half-brother, Thutmose II

 She assumed more and more power; she stopped using a female title; and she eventually had herself crowned pharaoh.

3   She claimed that one of her parents was a god.

4   She had two obelisks moved to Karnak, and she sent an expedition to the land of Punt.

5   Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple

6   Inscriptions found there have revealed information about who Hatshepsut was.

7   They were destroyed or vandalized.

 They believed that a person could only exist in the afterlife if something connected to that person remained intact on earth.

 It’s still a mystery, but some people think she was killed.

10   During Hatshepsut’s reign as pharaoh


A = Professor, B = Student 1, C = Student 2

A:   Good afternoon everyone. Today I’d like to continue discussing the kings and dynasties of ancient Egypt. Can any of you name a female Egyptian ruler? Do you know of any women who ruled Egypt in ancient times?

B:   Cleopatra?

A:   Yes, Cleopatra was co-ruler of Egypt. She reigned from around 51 B.C. to 31 B.C. But almost 1500 years before her, there was another female ruler in Egypt. Her name was Hatshepsut-the only female pharaoh of ancient Egypt. Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I and Ahmose Nefertari. She married her half brother, Thutmose II, which was pretty common. Marriages among royal family members ensured that the royal blood line would continue. Well, not long after her husband became pharaoh, he died. And at that point, a son from another wife took his place. The boy, Thutmose III, was not old enough to rule the kingdom, however. So Hatshepsut became regent; that is, she governed in his place. She was expected to govern the kingdom until the boy came of age.

But Hatshepsut had other plans. Gradually, she assumed more and more power. Eventually, she stopped using a female title and even dropped the feminine “t” ending from the end of her name. These were bold moves, but in 1473 B.C., she did something even bolder-she had herself crowned pharoah. In doing this, she became the first woman to rule Egypt as pharoah.

In the few statues and carvings that remain today, we see her depicted sometimes as a woman with the pharaoh headdress and sometimes as a man. Although it was not uncommon for queens to rule, and women had many rights in Egyptian society compared to those of other civilizations at the time, this was the first time a woman had dared to call herself pharaoh. She explained her actions by announcing that hers had been a divine birth. She related a dream she had where the god Amoun had taken the shape of her father and declared that she, Hatshepsut, was the result of the divine relationship between her mother and the god. Therefore, she was the true king of Upper and Lower Egypt.

C:   Excuse me. What do you mean by”divine birth”?

A:   It means that she told her citizens that one of her parents was a god, therefore, she should be ruler of the land of Egypt.

And, in spite of her unusual actions, it appears that she enjoyed the support of the priests and her people. Under her reign of about 20 years, Egypt was prosperous and peaceful. We know she carried out many building and trading projects.

B:   Can you tell us more about those projects? I’d love to hear about what she accomplished.

A:   Well, one project in particular was the moving of two obelisks to Karnak where she was active in maintaining and repairing the temples. These two large monuments were to commemorate her 16th year as ruler. She also sent an expedition to the land of Punt. No one is sure where exactly this was, but from the descriptions of people, houses, animals, and exotic items they found there, some scholars feel Punt may be part of what is modern day Somalia. Traders brought back gold, spices, ivory, wild animals, and other foreign items. Hatshepsut may have even led attacks into Nubia just as other pharaohs before her had.

Her most impressive building achievement was her mortuary temple, a beautiful building situated at the base of rocky cliffs at Deir el-Bahri, and it’s from inscriptions found here that we have learned most about her accomplishments.

Hatshepsut was one of the most important rulers of the 18th dynasty, and had the longest reign of any Egyptian female leader, and yet, we’re just starting to learn about her. In many ways, it seems like people have tried to erase her name from history. Many of her images and inscriptions of her name were deliberately destroyed or defaced. Now you have to understand that this kind of vandalism was a serious act of violence because ancient Egyptians believed a person survived in the afterlife only if something of that person remained intact in this life. So by damaging statues of her, it may be that some were trying to prevent Hatshepsut from existing in the afterlife. Her name was even omitted from the list of kings.

So what happened to Hatshepsut? No one really knows. What we do know is that Hatshepsut’s stepson, Thutmose IIJ, assumed full control of the throne in 1458, about the time Hatshepsut disappeared or died. Some speculate that Thutmose III had her killed. Until recently, most experts believed that he also had her image and name erased immediately upon ascension to the throne. However, we now know, that if that is true, this vandalism didn’t happen until later in his reign. Interestingly enough, some scholars have noted that not all of her images have been destroyed; only the ones depicting her as pharaoh.

It has only been very recently that archeologists have been able to piece together the life of this ancient ruler. The Red Chapel, another one of Hatshepsut’s building projects, located along the Nile wasn’t discovered until 1999, almost 3,000 years after it was built.

For a long time, the world had forgotten about Hatshepsut. But there’s renewed interest in her, and we can be sure that she’ll no longer remain in obscurity. If you’d like to find out more about her, let me know, and I’ll point out some good resources. Well, I think that’s all we have time for today. Please read Chapter 10 in the text for Friday.

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