I am a historian of archaeology, photography, and ancient Egyptian art. I am interested in how different people, at different times, have imagined, studied, and represented the culture we know as ‘ancient Egypt’. My current research focuses on the history of photography and archaeology, using archives from the 1920s excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb. I am currently finishing a book called Photographing Tutankhamun, which will appear in 2018 in the Bloomsbury series Photography, History: History, Photography, edited by Elizabeth Edwards, Jennifer Tucker, and Patricia Hayes. I am curating an exhibition of the same name, opening at The Collection, Lincoln in November 2017 and moving to the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, in 2018.
I have also written extensively about ancient Egyptian art, religion, and material culture, including issues of cultural identity and exchange when Egypt was part of the Roman Empire. My book Unwrapping Ancient Egypt (Bloomsbury 2014) focused on the importance of textiles in Egyptian mummification and other religious rituals – and offered a critique of how Egyptology has conducted mummy unwrappings from the 18th century to the present day. This book was first runner-up in the 2015 BKFS prize for books in Middle Eastern Studies; it was also long-listed for the Textile Society of America's R. L. Shep Ethnic Textiles award.
I have been based at UEA since 2007. During this time, my research has been supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), the British Academy, and the Leverhulme Trust. I have held fellowships at All Souls College and The Queen's College, Oxford, and I was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London in 2008.
Earlier in my career, I was the curator of the Egyptian collection at the Manchester Museum - one of the largest collections of Egyptian antiquities in the UK. I also worked with Egyptian, Near Eastern, and Classical collections at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and at the Museum of Classical Archaeology in Cambridge.