Richard Bruce Parkinson


Professor of Egyptology; Fellow of The Queen’s College 

Faculty / College Address:

Asian and Middle Eastern StudiesThe Queen's College


Research Interests:

My research interests centre round the interpretation of ancient Egyptian literature, especially the poetry of the classic age (1940–1640 BC). As well the philological study of manuscripts, I work on material contexts, actors’ perspectives, literary theory (‘new historicist’ and ‘material philology’ practices) and modern receptions in literature, art and film. I am interested in issues of performance practice, cultural power, and sexuality in Ancient Egyptian culture. I enjoy the experience of attempting an integrated reading of ancient texts, thinking about their context in the landscape, their performance, and their emotional and intellectual impact on their audiences (including us).

From my work as a museum curator at the British Museum (where projects included the display of the Rosetta Stone and the Nebamun wall-paintings), I am particularly concerned with issues of materiality in the interpretation of Ancient Egyptian culture. Drawing on my research on the ‘subaltern’ aspects of ancient poems, I used to publish on LGBTQ history across world cultures.

Current Projects:

Courses Taught:

  • History and culture of dynastic Egypt
  • Egyptian art and architecture
  • Egyptian artefacts
  • Egyptian language and texts
  • Hieratic

Recent Publications:

  • 2008 The Painted Tomb-Chapel of Nebamun. London: British Museum Press; Cairo: American University in Cairo Press.
  • 2008, ‘“Boasting about Hardness”: Constructions of Middle Kingdom Masculinity’. In C. Graves-Brown (ed.), ‘Don Your Wig for a Happy Hour’: Sex and Gender in Ancient Egypt, 115–42. Swansea: Classical Press of Wales.
  • 2008 with P. Usick, ‘The History of the Nebamun Wall-paintings: An Archival Investigation’. In A. Middleton and K. A. Uprichard (ed.), The Nebamun Wall Paintings: Conservation, Scientific Analysis and Display at the British Museum, 5–15. London: Archetype Publications.
  • 2009 Reading Ancient Egyptian Poetry: Among Other Histories. Chichester and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • 2010 Hunefer and His Book of the Dead. London: British Museum Press.
  • 2010 ‘A Life Before the Afterlife’. Guardian and Observer supplement 6.11.2010, The Ancient World: Egypt, 4–11 (
  • 2010 with B. Leach, ‘Creating Borders: New Insights into Making the Papyrus of Ani’. BMSAES 15 ( leach_and_parkinson.aspx).
  • 2011 ‘A Papyrus from the House of Life at Akhetaten’. Egyptian Archaeology 38, 42–3.
  • 2011 with Tamás Bács, ‘Wall-paintings from the Tomb of Kynebu at Luxor’. Egyptian Archaeology 39, 41–3.
  • 2011 ‘What “Makes The Gun Go Off”?: The Role of the Voice in Two Middle Kingdom Poems’. In E. Meyer-Dietrich (ed.), Laut und Leise: Der Gebrauch von Stimme und Klang in historischen Kulturen,13–35.Reihe Mainzer Historische Kulturwissenschaften 7; Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.
  • 2012 The Ramesseum Papyri. Online Research Catalogue; online_research_catalogues.aspx.
  • 2012 The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant: A Reader’s Commentary. Lingua Aegyptia Studia Monographica 10; Hamburg: Widmaier Verlag.
  • 2012 with L. Baylis, Four 12th Dynasty Literary Papyri (Pap. Berlin P. 3022–5): A Photographic Record. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.
  • 2012 ‘A “Great Unrecorded History”: Presenting LGBT History in a Museum for the World’:
  • 2012  ‘Performances: The Tale of Sinuhe’ [online publication of video of part of staged recital]. all_current_projects/the_ramesseum_papyri/performance_tale_of_sinuhe
  • 2013 A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World. London: British Museum Press; New York: Columbia University Press; French edition (trans. M. Pieroni), Le monde gay: une brève histoire illustrée. Rennes: Editions Ouest-France (
  • 2014 with Barbara Ewing 'The Queen Shrieks: The Shock of Ancient Egyptian Poetry' [Inaugural lecture].
  • 2015 ‘Glimpses of a Gay World History: From ancient Egypt to the Modern Museum’ [Southampton Stonewall Lecture 2015].
  • 2015 with B. Fay and K. Jansen-Winklen ‘Don't Do What I Did! An Early Middle Kingdom Block Statue with an Inscription Added Later for “The God’s Father …, The Royal Scribe and Prophet of Osiris … Seniu (snw-jww)”’.  Zeitschrift für Ägypytische Sprache und Altertumskunde  142, 33–44.
  • 2015 'Ancient Beauty and Modern Lives'.
  • 2015 'The Impact of Middle Kingdom Literature, Ancient and Modern' with catalogue entries, in A. Oppenheim et al. (ed.), Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, 180–7. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • 2016 'A Great Unrecorded History: LGBT History and World Cultures' [Oxford University LGBT History month lecture]
  • 2016 ‘“Now, Voyager”’: A Preface on the Poetics of Place’ in C. Alvarez et al (ed.), Current Research in Egyptology 2015: Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Symposium, 1-19.Oxford and Philadelphia: Oxbow Books.
  • 2016 with Melissa Downing 'The Tomb of the Ramesseum Papyri in the Newberry Papers, The Griffith Institute Oxford'. BMSAES 23 (
  • 2016 ‘A Little Gay History, from Ancient Egypt to the Modern Museum: A Personal View’, in R. Knoop and L. van den Hoonaard (ed.), Queering the Collections, 21–46. Amsterdam: Reinwardt Academie:
  • 2016 with Barbara Ewing 'The Life of Sinuhe':
  • 2016 ‘Framing an Ancient Literature: Material and Other Philologies of Middle Egyptian Poems’, in P. Ajouri, U. Kundert and C. Rohde (ed.), Rahmungen: Präsentationsformen und Kanoneffekte. Beiheft zur Zeitschrift für Deutsche Philologie 16 (2016), 19-35.
  • 2017 'Giving a Voice to Ancient Egyptian Poetry':
  • 2017 with Barbara Ewing 'Ancient Egyptian Poetry: The Tale of Sinuhe':
  • 2017 with Neal Spencer ‘The Teaching of Amenemhat I at Amara West: Egyptian Literacy Culture in Upper Nubia’. In N. Spencer, A. Stevens, and M. Binder (ed.), Nubia in the New Kingdom: Lived Experience, Pharaonic Control and Indigenous Traditions, 213–23. Leuven: Peeters.
  • 2017  ‘Invisible Archaeologies: Hidden Aspects of Daily Life in Ancient Egypt and Sudan’:
  • 2018 'LGBTQ Love and History: No Offence':
  • 2018 'Tales of Love and History: James Ivory in Conversation':
  • 2019 with Barbara Ewing 'Talking with the Soul: A Dialogue about Life and Death':
  • 2019 ‘Imaginary Histories: Ancient Egypt in the Writings of Marguerite Yourcenar and Philippe Derchain’, Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur 48, 207­–40.

  • 2019 ‘‘The First Gay Kiss?’: An Ancient Egyptian Monument’ in C. Brickell (ed.), Queer Objects (Otago University Press, Rutgers University Press, Manchester University Press), 22–7.

  • 2020  ‘“The Use of Old Objects”: Ancient Egypt and English Writers around 1920’. In E. Dobson and N. Tonks (ed.), Ancient Egypt in the Modern Imagination: Art,  Literature and Culture (I. B. Tauris), 199–213.

  • 2020  ‘The Sensory Worlds of Ancient Egypt’. In R. Skeates and J. Day (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Sensory Archaeology, 413–33. London, New York: Routledge.

  • with C. D. Hollings 2020, ‘Two letters from Otto Neugebauer to Thomas Eric Peet on Ancient Egyptian Mathematics’. Historia mathematica in press. DOI: 10.1016/

  • with C. D. Hollings 2020, ‘Differing Approaches to Ancient Egyptian Mathematics’ London Mathematical Society Newsletter 490, 28–33 S  (

  • with C. D. Hollings 2020 (trans L. Manniche) ‘Ægyptisk matematik fortolket’, Papyrus 40.2.

  • 2022   with the Griffith Institute, Tutankhamun: Excavating the Archive. Bodleian Library Publishing.

  • with C. D. Hollings Parchment and Paper [the Peet library]:

  • ‘“Old Things Belonging to the Nation”: Forster, Antiquities and the Queer Museum’. Polish Journal of English Studies 7.2, 54–71 [].

Photograph of Richard Parkinson