Elizabeth Frood


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

Faculty / College Address:

Oriental Institute / St Cross College




Research Interests:

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

My research centres on the self-presentation of Egyptian non-royal people, especially of the late New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (mid-second to early first millennium BCE). This currently encompasses a range of projects: biographical texts of the late New Kingdom; non-royal statues; and graffiti. I was also recently the presenter for the BBC4 documentary Tutankhamun in Colour (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000k48q).

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 (Montpellier). 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 and Secondary Inscriptions 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/

To learn more, see: 'When is it okay to graffiti a temple?': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ist8xmC-mg&feature=youtu.be

and: https://www.sas.ac.uk/videos-and-podcasts/classics/%E2%80%9C-we%E2%80%99ve-seen-other-walls%E2%80%9D-authority-and-erasure-graffiti-practice



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:


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

in preparation. Biography and presence in late New Kingdom Egypt. Studies in Egyptology and the Ancient Near East. London: Equinox.

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

Edited volumes and resources

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.

Elizabeth Frood and Angela McDonald (eds.) 2013. Decorum and experience: essays on ancient culture for John Baines. Oxford: Griffith Institute.

2006 - 2015. Area editor for "Individual and Society". UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology:  https://escholarship.org/uc/nelc_uee

Articles and chapters

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.

2020. The tug of war over the Rosetta Stone. Review of Jed Z. Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz. 2020. The Riddle of the Rosetta: How an English Polymath and a French Polyglot Discovered the Meaning of Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Princeton University Press. The Spectator: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-tug-of-war-over-the-rosetta-stone

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 10. Peeters: Leuven.

2018. A beautiful enigma. Review of Tyldesley, Joyce. 2018. Nefertiti's face: creation of an icon. Profile Books. The Spectator: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/a-beautiful-enigma

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.

2015. Temple lives: devotion, piety, and the divine. Pages 316–323 in Egypt: millenary splendour: the Leiden collections in Bologna. Edited by Paola Giovetti and Daniela Picchi. Exhibition Catalogue. SKIRA.

Elizabeth Frood and Kathryn Howley 2014. Applications of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) in the study of temple graffiti. Pages 625–638 in Thebes in the first millennium BC. Edited by Elena Pischikova, Julia Budka, and Kenneth Griffin. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press.

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.

2013. Sensuous experience, performance, and presence in Third Intermediate Period biography. Pages 86–108 in Ancient Egyptian literature: theory and practice. Edited by Roland Enmarch and Verena Lepper. London: The British Academy.

Chloé Ragazzoli and Elizabeth Frood 2013. Writing on the wall: two graffiti projects in Luxor. Egyptian Archaeology 42: 30–33.

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


Ongoing: Disability Narratives: https://parking.haiku.fry-it.com/dn

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

Brave New You Tribe: Interview with Lou Hamilton: https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/brave-new-you-tribe/surviving-sepsis-08x6Y2bVE-K/

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

2019: The Merton Equality Conversation: https://vimeo.com/321789463

2019: Interview for The Project NZ, TV 3: https://www.facebook.com/TheProjectNZ/videos/2281439122175384/

2019: Shining a light. 40 years of women at Queen's College, Oxford: https://www.queens.ox.ac.uk/shining-light

2018: Inside Out South BBC1 mini-documentary: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-oxfordshire-45811189/oxford-professor-heads-back-to-egypt-after-losing-legs

2018: Returning to Egypt: http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/arts-blog/returning-egypt-acquired-disability-and-fieldwork

2018: Artistic Licence: 'I was here ... in ancient Egypt' by Bethany White: https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/arts-blog/artistic-licence-i-was-here%E2%80%A6-ancient-egypt

2018: Interview for Oxford Today, Season 2, Episode 4: https://www.oxideradio.live/oxford-today

2018: 'The infection which took my nose and legs': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-oxfordshire-42739901/the-infection-which-took-my-nose-and-legs

2017: The Guardian, Your stories of working with disabilities, 'It is wonderful to work and forget my disability': https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2017/feb/25/working-with-disabilities

2017: Acquired disability and reframing fieldwork. Autonomy, Community, Destiny: Reimagining Disability, TORCH Disability and Curriculum seminar series: http://torch.ox.ac.uk/autonomy-community-destiny-re-imagining-disability

2017: The Gaps Between Installation, TORCH: https://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/article/the-gaps-between-0; https://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/article/hidden-stories

2014: In Our Time: Hatshepsut, BBC Radio 4, Melvyn Bragg with Campbell Price and Kate Spence: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04n62jx


Current research students:

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

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

Solène Klein: The protection of the viscera in the early first millennium BCE

Elizabeth Frood