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Great Sphinx of Giza


Find out about our research into ancient Egyptian culture, history and society.

Dr Tyldesley and Dr Nielsen are happy to receive email inquiries from students interested in registering on the Egyptology PhD Programme.

Dr Joyce Tyldesley

Dr Tyldesley’s research focuses on women in ancient Egypt in general, and the royal women of the 18th Dynasty in particular. She also has an ongoing interest in thematic representation in Egypt-themed jewellery. For more details of her research interests and a full list of her publications, visit Joyce's University research profile

Recent output:

Nefertit’s Face: the Creation of an Icon, was published in January 2018.

More than three thousand years ago a sculptor working in the royal city of Amarna carved a limestone bust of an Egyptian queen.  That queen was Nefertiti, consort of the “heretic pharaoh” Akhenaten. Plastered and painted, Nefertiti’s bust depicted an extraordinarily beautiful woman. However, Akhenaten’s reign was drawing to an end, and the royal family was soon to be written out of Egypt’s official history.  Not long after its creation the stone Nefertiti was locked in a storeroom and forgotten. In 1912 the bust was re-discovered and transported to Germany. Initially hidden from the public view, the beautiful queen was eventually displayed in Berlin Museum. Instantly, she became an ancient world celebrity.

Egypt has yielded more than its fair share of artistic masterpieces, but it is difficult to think of another sculpture that has so successfully bridged the gap between the ancient and modern worlds. The timeless beauty of the Nefertiti bust both attracts us and sparks our imagination, but in so doing it obscures our view of the past, shifting attention not only from the other members of the Amarna court, but also from other, equally valid, representations of Nefertiti herself. This book explores the creation of a cultural icon, from its ancient origins to its modern context: its discovery, its display, and its dual role as a political pawn and artistic inspiration.


Dr Nicky Nielsen

Dr Nielsen's research focuses predominately on the material culture and settlement archaeology of New Kingdom and Late Period Egypt. Currently, he is the field director of the Tell Nabasha Survey Project conducting investigations into the ancient settlement of Imet in the northeastern Nile Delta. This research also extends to archival and museum research into the objects and ceramics found by earlier excavators at the site, notably the discoveries of Sir Flinders Petrie in 1886 which are currently held in the British Museum. For more details of his research interests and a full list of his publications, see Nicky's University research profile.

Recent output:

Textbooks and Monographs:

  • 2018, Pharaoh Seti I: Father of Egyptian Greatness, Pen & Sword Press: Barnsley.

Peer-reviewed Articles:

  • In press, ‘A Late Period Stela from the Manchester Museum’ in Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.
  • In press, with Twiston-Davies, H. P. R. ‘Garstang Stela E.31 and the Family of Iy at Abydos’ in Zeitschrift fur Agyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde.
  • In press, ‘The Development of Settlement at Tell Nabasha: An Overview of the Current State of Research’ in Proceedings of the 8th Central European Conference of Egyptology.
  • 2017, ‘Cereal Cultivation and Nomad-Sedentary Interactions at the Late Bronze Age Settlement of Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham’ in Antiquity 91/360, 1561-1573.

The Tell Nabasha Survey Project:

The Tell Nabasha Survey Project (originally based at the University of Liverpool) was instigated by Dr Nicky Nielsen (University of Manchester) and Dr Valentina Gasperini (British Museum) in 2014 following a visit to the site of Tell Nabasha which showed evidence of damage and illicit excavation. The first field season was conducted in the autumn of 2015 during which time the team excavated Late Period and Ptolemaic structures, conducted a topographic survey of the eastern tell and photographically documented the remains of the Shrine of Amasis II on the site’s western edge. Further work under the aegis of this project have included the 2016 remote sensing survey which revealed several areas of further archaeological interest, as well as the on-going recording and publication of the material found at Tell Nabasha by Flinders Petrie in 1886 in the British Museum collections.

For more information about the project, see: The Tell Nabasha Survey Project


Our Research Students

Tanseash Sidpura

Flies, Lions and Oyster Shells: Investigating Military Awards in Ancient Egypt

Supervisors: Dr Joyce Tyldesley and Dr Campbell Price

Two Egyptian soldiers recorded receiving golden flies from the king in their tombs. As a result, fly-shaped pendants of all materials from ancient Egypt have been interpreted by historians as military awards.  However, these flies are frequently found in burials of women and children, who would not normally be associated with military activity in ancient Egypt. To understand the function and roles of flies in ancient Egypt, this research focuses on analysing the forms of flies in archaeological, iconographic and textual sources and interpreting their functions through examining their context. As gold lion-shaped pendants and inscribed oyster shells have also been interpreted as military awards by historians and are also found in the burials of women and children, they form useful comparators. Their forms and functions will also be analysed and compared to that of flies to understand if any of these objects operated as military awards in ancient Egypt.

Past Students

Pauline Norris

The Lettuce Connection: A re-examination of the association of the Egyptian god Min with the lettuce plant from the Predynastic to the Ptolemaic Period.

Supervisors: J Tyldesley and A Chamberlain. 31 Dec 2015.