Angelo Colonna

​Position: British Academy Research Fellow / Fellow of the Queen’s College


Research interests

My research interests focus on different themes: early ideology and writing (development, uses); monumental art (its elaboration and codification); religious iconography, forms and practices (value and role within society).

In dealing with these topics, my work moves along three principal tracks: (1) studying cultural diversification and long-term development of Egyptian society and its great tradition, with particular regard for Early religious expressions; (2) considering how these “dynamics of culture” mirror in textual, visual and archaeological materials; (3) combining theoretical frameworks developed within the fields of social anthropology and cultural studies, in order to integrate data analysis and interpretation within a more detailed and substantial historical narrative. I also stress the importance of a solid historical perspective in framing questions and guiding the process of interpretation and reconstruction.

Another major focus of my research is Egyptian animal worship; in this regard, I have been challenging the traditional literary-based perspective by articulating a different methodology that combined the historical-religious perspective (“Roman School of History of Religions”) with both anthropological models (Practice Theory) and the critical notions of decorum and “Monumental discourse”.

Current projects

  • Study on Religious tradition (conceptions, practices, contexts) in Early Dynastic Egypt
  • Historical-religious synthesis on Egyptian animal worship
  • Affiliated Collaborator for the ERC Advanced Grant Project 2015 “PAThs - Tracking Papyrus and Parchment Paths: an Archaeological Atlas of Coptic Literature. Literary Texts in their Geographical Context. Production, Copying, Usage, Dissemination and Storage”. PI: Prof. Paola Buzi     (

Courses taught (past courses at “Sapienza”)

  • Egyptian language (Middle Egyptian)
  • Seminary on Early Dynastic Art

Recent publications

  • 2013a: “The Unification of Ancient Egypt: Founding a State, Creating an Ideology, Establishing an Identity”, in L. Bombardieri et alii, SOMA 2012. Identity and Connectivity: Proceedings of the 16th Symposium on Mediterranean Archaeology, Florence, Italy, 1st-3rd March 2012, (BAR International Series 2581), Oxford 2013, pp. 489-493.
  • 2013b: “Viva Ra, muoia la tartaruga”: costruzione, percezione ed evoluzione di un’entità mostruosa nell’antico Egitto, in I. Baglioni (a cura di), Monstra. Costruzione e Percezione delle Entità Ibride e Mostruose nel Mediterraneo Antico, Vol. I, Roma 2013. pp. 43-56.
  • 2014a: “Θεοί and ‘Iεροί: some remarks on animal cult in Ancient Egypt according to Classical and Egyptian texts”, in T. Lekov, E. Buzov (eds.) Cult and Belief in Ancient Egypt. Proceedings of the Fourth International Congress for Young Egyptologists, 22-25 September 2012, Sofia, Sofia 2014, pp. 102-111.
  • 2014b: “La collina, l’acqua e l’albero ovvero immaginare la tomba di Osiride. Forma e struttura di uno spazio mitico”, in Geografie del mondo altro. Prospettive comparative sugli spazi sacri e l’aldilà, SMSR 80/1 (2014), pp. 42-73.
  • 2015: “The Sound of Silence: sul significato del silenzio e di alcune interdizioni musicali in relazione alla figura e al culto di Osiride”, in I. Baglioni (ed.), Ascoltare gli Dèi/Divos Audire. Costruzione e percezione della dimensione sonora nelle religioni del Mediterraneo antico, Vol. I, Rome 2015, pp. 37-54.
  • In press: “The Tomb of Osiris: Perception, Representation and Cultural Construction of a Sacred Space in Egyptian Tradition”, in Proceedings of the 5th International Congress for Young Egyptologists, Vienna 15-19 September 2015 (Contributions to the Archaeology of Egypt, Nubia and the Levant).
  • “Gods in Translation: dynamics of transculturality between Egypt and Byblos in the III millennium BC”, in P. Buzi and A. Colonna (a cura di), Proceedings of the International Conference The Gods of the Others, the Gods and the Others. Forms of Acculturation and Construction of the Difference in the Egyptian Religion” (Theme Section in: Studi e Materiali di Storia delle Religioni).
  • In press: “Rethinking Egyptian Animal Worship (3000 BC – 300 AD ca.): Towards a Historical-Religious Perspective”, in Proceedings of the 11th International Congress of Egyptologists, Florence (Italy), August 23rd – 30th 2015.
  • In press: “Translating Stones: Movement, Meaning, and Metaphor of the Rosetta Stone and the Obelisk of Philae”, in Proceedings of the International Conference “From Giotto to Rosetta: 30 years of cometary science from Space and Ground”, Padova 27-29 October (Acta of the Galilean Academy).
  • Submitted: “Nuove prospettive sul culto degli animali in Egitto: il contributo dell’analisi storico-religiosa", paper presented at the XVI Convegno di Egittologia e Papirologia (Syracuse, 29 September-2 October 2016)..
  • In prep: “Early representations of Temple Architecture: Typological Analysis and Historical Considerations”.

Other information

  • Tutor for the Advanced Education Course “Egyptology: from Education to Research” (“Sapienza” University of Rome. 

  • Personal page on

Photograph of Dr Angelo Colonna
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