Dr Kasia Szpakowska

I am an Associate Professor of Egyptology at Swansea University, and Director of the Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: Second Millennium BCE (The Leverhulme Trust).

My research focuses on Ancient Egyptian private religious practices, dreams, gender and the archaeology of magic. I am an avid proponent of interdisciplinary research and digital humanities, and collaborate with engineers, artists, glaciologists and computer scientists. An online database of liminal entities as well as 3D visualization is in progress.

Currently I am investigating the role of apotropaic devices such as clay cobra figurines and images of supernatural beings as mechanisms for coping with physical and mental health afflictions Ancient Egyptians believed to have been caused by external demons.

I was elected to Phi Beta Kappa (1987) and am a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (London). TV work includes National Geographic’s The Egyptian Job and Discovery Kids’ Tutenstein.

Areas of Expertise

  • Ancient Egyptian demonology
  • Ancient Egyptian religion
  • childhood
  • private religious practices
  • daily life
  • gender
  • dreams
  • supernatural
  • magic
  • Egyptology

Publications

  1. Daily Life in Ancient Egypt: Reconstructing Lahun. Blackwell.
  2. Behind Closed Eyes: Dreams and Nightmares in Ancient Egypt. Swansea: Classical Press of Wales.
  3. Snake Cults and Military Life in New Kingdom Egypt. In Banning, Edward B.; Harrison, Timothy P.; Klassen, Stanley (Ed.), Walls of the Prince: Egyptian Interactions with Southwest Asia in Antiquity. Essays in Honour of John S. Holladay Jr. (pp. 274-291). Brill.
  4. Demons in the Dark: Nightmares and other Nocturnal Enemies of Ancient Egypt. In Panagiotis Kousoulis (Ed.), Ancient Egyptian Theology and Demonology: Studies on the Boundaries between the Divine and Demonic in Egyptian Magic. (pp. 63-76). Leuven: Peeters.
  5. Striking Cobra Spitting Fire. Archiv für Religionsgeschichte 14, 27-46.

See more...

Teaching

  • CL-M30 Understanding Ancient Egyptian Culture

    This module will introduce students to selected key theories, methodologies and approaches currently used to further the study of ancient Egyptian culture. Case- studies will be presented based on the expertise of the staff and may vary.

  • CL-M36 Egyptology Dissertation

    Dissertation module for the MA in Ancient Egyptian Culture.

  • CL-M37 Women and gender in Ancient Egypt

    The study of gender is a relatively recent development in the field of Egyptology. In this module the students will be introduced to modern theories and approaches to issues related to gender in Ancient Egypt and critically engage in a detailed study of the subject.

  • CL-M66 Reading Advanced Egyptian Texts

    The module builds upon the student's ability in the Egyptian language and is dedicated to the in-depth study, translation, criticism, and interpretation of one or more Egyptian texts in the original. Depending in the needs and interests of the students, the texts selected will be drawn from Old, Middle, or Late Egyptian; Demotic; or Coptic.

  • CL-M93 Intermediate Middle Egyptian 2 (MA)

    This module introduces students to a selection of major literary texts written in Middle Egyptian.

  • CLD300 Classics, Ancient History, Egyptology Dissertation

    Dissertation module for students doing single honours or joint honours degrees in Classics, Classical Civilisation, Ancient History or Egyptology. The aim is for students to do detailed research, to work on a project for several months and to produce a scholarly study of c. 8000-10000 words. The dissertation topic can be chosen freely, in consultation with a member of academic staff and subject to compatibility with a student's degree scheme and availablilty of supervisors and library material.This is a chance for students to pursue an area in which they are especially interested, and to deal with it in depth. Students may choose to do museum-based research. There are two preparatory pieces of assessment: an abstract, outline and bibliography, and an analysis of crucial source material and/or secondary literature. Work on the dissertation itself takes up most of the two semesters. Students are expected to do research independently, but there is a series of lectures in the first semester to provide advice on research and scholarly writing, Every student will be assigned a supervisor who will be organising group sessions with his/her supervisees and who will also be available for one-to-one supervision sessions.

  • CLE121 Introduction to Ancient Egyptian History and Civilisation 2

    This module provides an overview of Egyptian history and civilisation from the beginning of Dynasty 19 until the Graeco-Roman Period (circa 1290 BCE-395 CE). It provides an essential foundation of knowledge for students pursuing an Egyptology degree scheme as well as an introduction to an ancient civilisation for nonspecialists.

  • CLE222 Intermediate Middle Egyptian 2 (Year 2)

    This module concludes the formal study of Middle Egyptian grammar and introduces students to a selection of major literary texts from the Middle Kingdom.

  • CLE223 Ancient Egyptian Religious Beliefs and Practices (Year 2)

    This module will provide an overview of Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs and practices. Students will explore the intellectual thought as well as the manifestation of those beliefs in the practices of the royal, elite, and non-elite of Ancient Egypt. The students will also learn how to overcome the particular problems inherent in studying an ancient civilisation with no living witnesses.

  • CLE326 Intermediate Middle Egyptian 2 (Year 3)

    This module concludes the formal study of Classical Egyptian grammar and introduces students to two major literary texts of the Middle Kingdom: The Westcar Papyrus and The Shipwrecked Sailor

  • CLE327 Egyptian Collection Practicum

    Competition for paid museum work is substantial and unfortunately without prior experience students are unlikely to gain paid work in a museum. This 4-week session provides practical experience for students on site. Additionally, through working in an actual museum environment students will understand the philosophies behind museum work as well as some of types of work which are available. This module is useful for students pursuing careers in archaeology, museums, heritage studies, data analysis, and those wishing to pursue post-graduate work in Egyptology.

  • CLE333 Egyptian Language: Reading Advanced Texts

    This module builds upon the student's ability in the Egyptian language and is dedicated to the in-depth study, translation, criticism, interpretation of one or more Egyptian texts in the original. Depending on the needs and interests of the students, the texts selected will be drawn from Old, Middle or Late Egyptian; Demonic; or Coptic.

  • CLE344 Ancient Egyptian Religious Beliefs and Practices

    This module will provide an overview of Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, practices, myths, and rituals. Students will explore the intellectual thought as well as the manifestation of beliefs in the practices of the royal, elite, and non-elite people of Ancient Egypt. The time period to be covered is from the Predynastic through the Coptic period. The primary sources will consist of Egyptian texts (in translation) and artefacts on display in the Egypt Centre, as well as those published in excavation reports and in online museum collections. The students will also learn how to overcome the particular problems inherent in studying an ancient civilisation with no living witnesses.

  • HI-R01 Study Abroad (History)

    This module is delivered at an overseas university, for those students taking a degree with a study abroad component.

  • HI-R12 Study Abroad - Universidad de Salamanca

    A year spent studying abroad as part of the 4-year degree programme

  • HIHD00 Heritage Dissertation (Practice-Based)

    This module affords students the opportunity to complete their MA in Heritage by undertaking a practical heritage project. The project, worth 67% of the marks, may be undertaken independently, or via a placement with a heritage project or organisation. It will be accompanied by a reflective commentary worth 33% of the marks.

  • HIHD01 Heritage Dissertation (Written)

    Students produce a dissertation on a heritage topic, chosen and developed in conjunction with their supervisor in line with the standard College MA requirements.

  • HIHM04 Heritage Work Placement

    This module enables students to gain practical experience of working with a heritage organisation or project in a graduate-level role. Placements may involve the acquisition of skills in museum work, community projects, heritage interpretation and policy (but are not restricted to these areas). Group discussion and individual tutorials will support students in preparing an extended essay reflecting on their work experience in the context of literature on heritage and public history.

  • HIHS01 California State University System

    This module is delivered at California State University System, for those students who participate in an intercalary year

  • HIHS03 University of Windsor

    This module is delivered at University of Windsor, for those students who participate in an intercalary year

  • HIHX233 HIHX233 University of New Brunswick

    This module is delivered at University of New Brunswick, for those students who partipate in an Exchange Programme

  • HIHX270 HIHX270 The University of Oklahoma

    This module is delivered at The University of Oklahoma, for those students who partipate in an Exchange Programme

  • HIHX271 HIHX271 The University of Oklahoma

    This module is delivered at The University of Oklahoma, for those students who partipate in an Exchange Programme

  • HIHX272 HIHX272 The University of Oklahoma

    This module is delivered at The University of Oklahoma, for those students who partipate in an Exchange Programme

  • HIHX273 HIHX273 The University of Oklahoma

    This module is delivered at The University of Oklahoma, for those students who partipate in an Exchange Programme

Supervision

  • 'Diegetic Lists in the Early Egyptian ''''Book of the Dead.'''' A Contextual Analysis of Demonic Entities in Private Second Millennium Manuscripts' (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Martina Minas-Nerpel
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Martina Minas-Nerpel
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Martina Minas-Nerpel

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2001 Present Associate Professor of Egyptology Swansea University
2000 2000 Research Associate; Lecturer University of California
1998 1999 Teaching Fellow University of California
1995 1999 Teaching Assistant University of California
1995 2001 Instructional Technology Consultant University of California
1995 1995 Tutor, College Tutorials (Athletics) University of California
1993 Present Graduate Student Researcher University of California
1986 1988 Assistant to Director Treganza Anthropology Museum

Key Grants and Projects

Research Groups

  • CODAH

    Centre on Digital Arts and Humanities at Swansea University

  • GENCAS

    The Centre for Research into Gender and Culture in Society