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. Feet of Fury: Demon Warrior Dancers of the New Kingdom. In Landgráfová, Renata and Mynářová, Jana (Ed.), Rich and Great. Studies in Honour of Anthony J. Spalinger on the Occasion of his 70th Feast of Thoth. (pp. 313-323). Prague: Charles University in Prague.
  5. 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.

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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-M32 Ancient Egyptian Language for Archaeology

    This module introduces the student to the reading and translating of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts and formula commonly found on material remains. Students will have the opportunity to work directly with artefacts in the Egypt Centre.

  • CL-M36 Egyptology Dissertation

    Dissertation module for the MA in Ancient Egyptian Culture.

  • 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-M79 Ancient Egyptian Demonology

    Ancient Egyptian textual and non-textual evidence bespeaks a wide-spread belief in an indeterminate range of demonic beings that influenced the world of the living and of the dead. This module explores the nature of these liminal entities¿both hostile and beneficial¿that filled the zones between human, animal, and god, and methods used by religious scholars to study them. The sources will include texts (such as Coffin Texts, literary texts, spells), representations (on artifacts and tomb walls), and objects (such as ivory wands and apotropaic figurines). The Egypt Centre provides an opportunity to engage with the evidence directly. The nature of this module entails a significant amount of critical reflective reading of both scholarly discussions and primary texts in translation as well as detailed analysis of representational evidence. The approaches used will include structural, functional, and comparative. A knowledge of Ancient Egyptian religion and history is essential; an understanding of comparative and anthropological approaches to the study of religions is helpful.

  • CL-M88 Introduction to Old Egyptian (MA)

    This module will introduce the student to the Old Egyptian language. The differences between Old Egyptian and Middle Egyptian will be discussed and students will read a variety of texts to practice their translating skills.

  • 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 availability 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.

  • CLE120 Introduction to Ancient Egyptian History and Civilisation 1

    From the late fourth millennium BCE Egypt was one of the greatest political and military powers in the Near East, forming the one of the earliest examples of a nation state in that region. Not only did it create an enormously successful and long-lived governmental system that lasted in some form down to the establishment of Christianity in the country, but it played a key role in the destinies of neighbouring communities, in particular those of the Upper Nile Valley to the south and Syria-Palestine to the north-east. In addition, Egypt became a complex urban civilisation whose literature, art, and religion continue to be admired today. The relative abundance of surviving data permits a vivid insight into the conceptual and material world of the ancient inhabitants of the Nile Valley. This module thus focus on the political, social, and military history of Egypt from the Predynastic Period until the end of Dynasty 18 (circa 4400-1290 BCE) and introduces students to key aspects of Egyptian civilisation.

  • 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.

  • CLE122 Ancient Egyptian Language for Archaeology (1st year)

    This module introduces the student to the reading and translating of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts and formula commonly found on material remains. Students will have the opportunity to work directly with artefacts in the Egypt Centre.

  • CLE214 Introduction to Egyptian Archaeology

    The module forms an introduction to material culture studies based on examples from Egyptology, particularly objects from the University's Egypt Centre. It will explore the diversity of methodologies and debates concerning Egyptian archaeology. In doing so, it will introduce students to aspects of anthropological and archaeological theory, as well as the relationship between theory, field work, and the resulting interpretations.

  • CLE230 Egyptomania: The reception of ancient Egypt from Antiquity to the present day

    The civilization of pharaonic Egypt has captivated the West from the time of the Greeks and Romans to the present day, impacting visual art and design, literature, cinema, music, architecture, advertising and popular culture, and even modern political movements and race relations. This module will examine the transmission, reception, and reinterpretation of ancient Egypt in a wide variety of media and cultural expressions in the West and elsewhere.

  • CLE231 Ancient Egyptian Language for Archaeology (2nd year)

    This module introduces the student to the reading and translating of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts and formula commonly found on material remains. Students will have the opportunity to work directly with artefacts in the Egypt Centre.

  • CLE322 Introduction to Old Egyptian (BA)

    In this module students will learn the earliest stage of Ancient grammar. Students will translate and interpret a sample of hieroglyphic texts such as biographies, administrative and legal texts, Pyramid Texts and perhaps letters to the dead. The emphasis is as much on the interpretation and understanding of the texts as it is on grammar and correct transliteration.

  • 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.

  • CLE343 Supernatural Beings and Demons of Ancient Egypt

    Ancient Egyptian textual and non-textual evidence bespeaks a wide-spread belief in an indeterminate range of demonic beings that influenced the world of the living and of the dead. This module explores the nature of these liminal entities¿both hostile and beneficial¿that filled the zones between human, animal, and divine, and the methods used by religious scholars to study them. The sources will include texts (such as Coffin Texts, literary texts, spells), representations (on artifacts and tomb walls), and objects (such as ivory wands and apotropaic figurines). The Egypt Centre provides an opportunity to engage with the evidence directly. The nature of this module entails reading of both scholarly discussions and primary texts in translation as well as analysis of representational evidence. The approaches used include structural, functional, and comparative. A background in Ancient Egyptian religion and history is useful.

  • 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.

Supervision

  • (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Martina Minas-Nerpel
  • A Study of Royal Female Power and Political Influence in Ancient Egypt: Contextualizing Queenship in the Twelfth Dynasty (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Martina Minas-Nerpel
  • 'Diegetic Lists in the Early Egyptian ''''Book of the Dead.'''' A Contextual Analysis of Demonic Entities in Private Second Millennium Manuscripts' (awarded 2017)

    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