Elizabeth Frood


Associate Professor of Egyptology; Fellow of St Cross; Honorary Fellow of The Queen's College

Faculty / College Address:

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern StudiesSt Cross College




Research Interests:

  • Ancient Egyptian self-presentation, including biographies, graffiti, and aspects of visual culture
  • Sacred space and landscape
  • Social life and experience (including gender, disability)

I grew up in Aotearoa New Zealand and did my first degrees there. I have such vivid childhood memories of sitting in the backseat of the family car while we were stuck in traffic (a regular occurrence), trying to imagine myself into the lives and experiences of the people I saw in the cars all around us. Little has really changed: my research centres on reimagining the lives and practices of Egyptian non-royal, mostly elite, individuals through aspects of their self-presentation. I focus in particular on the late New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (mid-second to early first millennium BCE). This work encompasses a range of projects in three broad areas: biographical texts of the late New Kingdom, for which I contribute to https://thesaurus-linguae-aegyptiae.de/home; non-royal statues; and graffiti.

My projects on graffiti in the temple of Amun-Re at Karnak are undertaken in collaboration with the Centre Franco-Égyptien d’Étude des Temples de Karnak and co-directed with Chiara Salvador (Milan). This work began with the temple of Ptah, in the northern part of the complex, and we are now also working to publish the eighth pylon.


Collaborative Projects

Karnak Graffiti Project, co-directed with Chiara Salvador (Montpellier) and in collaboration with the Centre Franco-Égyptien d’Étude des Temples de Karnak (2011–)

1) ‘Graffiti in the Temple of Ptah’: part of the publication of the Ptah temple, under the directorship of Christophe Thiers: http://www.cfeetk.cnrs.fr/accueil/programmes-scientifiques/axe-2-les-secteurs-peripheriques/le-secteur-du-temple-de-ptah/

2) ‘The Eighth Pylon of the Temple of Amun-Re’: co-director with Sébastien Biston-Moulin (2013–): http://www.cfeetk.cnrs.fr/accueil/programmes-scientifiques/axe-1-pouvoir-et-marques-de-pouvoir-a-karnak/axe1-theme5/

This short video introduces our work: 'When is it okay to graffiti a temple?': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ist8xmC-mg&feature=youtu.be

I co-edit two academic series: Contextualising the Sacred: Sacred Space and its Material Culture in the Ancient Near East and Egypt (Brepols) with Rubina Raja (Aarhus); Life-Worlds in Ancient Egypt: a Sourcebook series (Bloomsbury) with Angela McDonald (Glasgow). We are very happy to discuss ideas for publications.


Courses Taught:

  • History, culture, and archaeology of Dynastic Egypt
  • Egyptian art and architecture
  • Egyptian artefacts and material culture (classes held in the Ashmolean Museum)
  • Old, Middle, and Late Egyptian language and texts


Selected Publications and media work:


in preparation. Elizabeth Frood and Chiara Salvador, with contributions by Ahmed Altaher, Claude Traunecker, Julia Troche, Ghislaine Widmer, and Michael Zellmann-Rohrer. The temple of Ptah at Karnak 4. Graffiti. Travaux du CFEETK. Cairo: IFAO.

2007. Biographical texts from Ramessid Egypt. Writings from the Ancient World 26. Atlanta: Society for Biblical Literature.

Edited volumes

Julie Stauder-Porchet, Elizabeth Frood, and Andréas Stauder 2020. Ancient Egyptian Biographies: contexts, forms, functions. Wilbour Studies in Egyptology and Assyriology 6. Lockwood Press.

Chloé Ragazzoli, Ömür Harmansah, Chiara Salvador, and Elizabeth Frood 2018. Scribbling through history. Graffiti, people and places from antiquity to modern times. London: Bloomsbury.

Elizabeth Frood and Rubina Raja (eds.) 2014. Redefining the sacred: religious architecture and text in the Near East and Egypt 1000 BC – AD 300. Contextualising the Sacred 1. Turnhout: Brepols.

Articles and chapters

Elizabeth Frood and Marianne Walker 2023. Marianne Walker and Egyptologist Elizabeth Frood in conversation. Mass Sculpture Magazine 2: 4–13.

2023. Minmose the miller: a Ramessid serving statue preparing incense (Berlin ÄM 24179). Bulletin de l'Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale 123: 137-170.

2023. Kings and spin doctors: pomp and propaganda in ancient Egypt. Times Literary Review 13 October: 24–25.

2020. Biographical monuments: displaying selves and lives in ancient Egypt. Pages 463–76 in The Oxford handbook of ancient biography. Edited by Koen de Temmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Elizabeth Frood, Chiara Salvador, and Ellen Jones 2020. Chasing shadows: graffiti in the eighth pylon at Karnak. Egyptian Archaeology 57: 4–9.

Julie Stauder-Porchet, Elizabeth Frood, and Andréas Stauder 2020. Introduction. Pages 1–6 in Julie Stauder-Porchet, Elizabeth Frood, and Andréas Stauder. Ancient Egyptian Biographies: contexts, forms, functions. Wilbour Studies in Assyriology and Egyptology 6. Lockwood Press.

Elizabeth Frood and Christelle Alvarez 2019. A votive Isis-throne for Minmose (Ashmolean Museum AN 1888.561)? Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 105: 17-28.

2019. When statues speak about themselves. Pages 3–20 in Statues in context: production, meaning and (re)uses. Edited by Aurélia Masson-Berghoff. British Museum Publications on Egypt and Sudan 10Peeters: Leuven.

2016. Role-play and group biography in Ramessid stelae from the Serapeum. Pages 69–87 in Rich and great: studies in honour of Anthony J. Spalinger on the occasion of his 70th feast of Thoth. Edited by Renata Landgráfová and Jana Mynářová. Prague: Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University in Prague/Agama.

2013. Egyptian temple graffiti and the gods: appropriation and ritualization in Karnak and Luxor. Pages 285–318 in Heaven on earth: temples, ritual and cosmic symbolism in the ancient world. Edited by Deena Ragavan. Oriental Institute Seminars. Chicago: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

Some PDFs are available here: https://oxford.academia.edu/ElizabethFrood


2023: Rituals: our anchors in a changing world. BBC World Service, The Forum https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct38tt

Imaging and reimagining statue bodies in the late New Kingdom. Lecture for the Museo Egizio, Turin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ACEBbS8LzI 

BBC History Magazine, July 2023, ‘Is it true that there are more pyramids in Sudan than in Egypt’, p. 36

2022: ‘The contested legacy of an icon’: episode 7 of Tutankhamun: Life, Death, and Legacy. BBC HistoryExtra podcast, with Heba Abd el Gawad: https://www.historyextra.com/tag/tutankhamun-podcast-series/ 

2020: Presenter for Tutankhamun in Colour, BBC4: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000k48q

Interview: Ancient Lives, with Dominic Perry. The History of Egypt podcast: https://play.acast.com/s/egyptianhistorypodcast/interview-ancientliveswithprof.elizabethfrood

2019: In Our Time: Tutankhamun, BBC Radio 4, Melvyn Bragg with Christina Riggs and John Taylor: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000cng6


Current Research Students:

David Brügger (Archaeology: co-supervision with David Griffiths): Deir el-Medina’s private statuary practice: self-presentations in context

Trent Hugler:  Reassessing the evidence for the erasure of Hatshepsut's names and images

Paul Docherty (co-supervision with Paul Wordsworth): The places of and for ancient graffiti:  https://www.humanities.ox.ac.uk/places-and-ancient-graffiti


Previous Research Students:

Jordan Miller (co-supervision with John Baines): The forms and construction of composite images in ancient Egyptian visual culture

James Oakley (Classics: co-supervision with Adrian Kelly): The conquered and the conquerors: representations of warfare and combat in Greek and Egyptian literature

Thais Rocha da Silva (co-supervision with Linda Hulin): Putting people in their place: gender, domestic space and privacy in New Kingdom Egypt

Solène Klein: From viscera to Sons of Horus: reassessing canopic practices in the early first millennium BCE

Julia Hamilton (co-supervision with Richard Parkinson): Beloved of the ka: Personal names in the complex of Mereuka Meri at Saqqara

Chiara Salvador: Repopulating the court of the seventh pylon at Karnak: a study of graffiti in context

Leire Olabarria (co-supervision with John Baines): Materialising kinship, constructing relatedness: kin group display and commemoration in First Intermediate Period and Middle Kingdom Egypt (ca 2150–1650 BCE

Elizabeth Frood