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Professor Joann Fletcher
Honorary Visiting Professor



I obtained my first degree in Ancient History and Egyptology from University College London in 1987, followed by a PhD entitled ‘Ancient Egyptian Hair: a study in style, form and function’ which I received from the University of Manchester in 1996. 

As Honorary Research Fellow at the University of York I teach ancient Egyptian funerary archaeology as part of the archaeology degree course, and designed the first nationally available GCSE-equivalent (Level 2) qualification in Egyptology on behalf of the educational body Centra.


Selected publications

  • 2006: Edward Heron-Allen, his friends and their mummies: EH-A and Ancient Egypt, Proceedings of the 5th Heron-Allen Symposium 2005: Opusculum VIII, p.17-44
  • The Decorated Body in Ancient Egypt: hairstyles, cosmetics and tattoos, 2005, in The Clothed Body in the Ancient World, ed. L. Cleland et al., Oxbow Books, Oxford
  • Mummies and Mummification, in The Seventy Great Inventions of the Ancient World, 2004, ed. B. Fagan, Thames & Hudson, London, p.264-267
  • The Search for Nefertiti, 2004, Hodder & Stoughton, London
  • The Egyptian Book of Living and Dying, 2002, Duncan Baird Publishers, London
  • Ancient Egyptian Wigs & Hairstyles, The Ostracon: Journal of the Egyptian Study Society 13/2, p.2-8
  • From Chile to China, Qilakitsoq to the Canary Islands: Mummies around the World, 2001, BBC History Online
  • Egypt's Sun King: Amenhotep III, 2000, Duncan Baird Publishers, London
  • Hair, in Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, 2000, ed. P. Nicholson & I. Shaw, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p.495-501
  • The Wig & Wig Box, in Tutankhamun's Wardrobe: garments from the tomb of Tutankhamun, 1999, ed. G. Vogelsang-Eastwood, van Doorn & Co. Rotterdam, p.67-68
  • The Human Hair from the tomb of Tutankhamun: a re-evaluation, in Proceedings of the Seventh International Congress of Egyptologists, 1998, ed. C. Eyre, Peeters, Leuven, p.403-407
  • Oils and Perfumes of Ancient Egypt, 1998, British Museum Press, London
  • Wigs & Hairdressing, Cosmetics & Bodycare, in Clothing of the Pharaohs, 1994, ed. G. Vogelsang-Eastwood, Leiden, p.103-111, p.126-138
  • A Tale of Wigs, Hair and Lice, 1994, Egyptian Archaeology 5, p.31-33


Overview my main interests centred around body adornment throughout the ancient world, long-term research into the use of wigs, perfumes, cosmetics, tattoos and amulets by the living and the dead led to a fascination with mummification and burial practices.  

Over the last 15 years I have studied human remains across the world, from the UK and Ireland to Egypt and the Yemen, Peru and Chile, Italy and the Canary Islands. As a founding member of the York University’s Mummy Research Group set up in 1999, I work closely with Prof. Don Brothwell and Dr. Stephen Buckley; our projects include a joint collaboration between York and Sana'a University to study the mummies of ancient Yemen, and ongoing research as part of an international team set up to study recently discovered Iron Age bog bodies at the National Museum of Ireland. We are also conducting ongoing research into royal mummies from tomb KV.35 in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, which also combines research I am undertaking with Prof. Earl Ertman of Akron University on the ceremonial jewellery of 18th dynasty pharaohs.  

In addition to my work in the field, I also undertake work at a number of museums. As Consultant Egyptologist for Harrogate Museums and Arts, I have been undertaking the long term study of their Egyptology collection since 2001 and following several successful temporary exhibitions, am currently preparing the permanent display of objects as part of a long-term project between the museum and the university funded by NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts). I have also worked on exhibitions for Wakefield Museum, North Lincolnshire Museum, Glasgow’s Burrell Collection, Leiden’s Rijksmuseum and a BBC exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. I am currently researching the Egyptology collections of Hull and East Riding Museums, Wakefield Museum, the Hancock Museum, Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum and York Museums’ Trust. 




World Archaeology I: Mummification (first year undergraduate)

World Archaeology II: Mummification (second year undergraduate)

External activities


  • Awarded a funding partnership with Harrogate Museum by NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) in 2006
  • Designed the first Egyptian archaeology module for the University of York's undergraduate archaeology degree course in 2006
  • Awarded a NMA award in 2006 for the multimedia project 'Death in Sakkara' with the BBC History website and Preloaded
  • Designed the first GCSE-equivalent (Level 2) qualification in Egyptology on behalf of the government educational body Centra in 2003 Selected Lectures

Invited talks and conferences

  • 22.1.01: Ancient Egyptian Adornment, Scarborough Archaeology Society
  • 23.3.01: Ancient Egyptian Wigs and Hairstyles, Toledo Museum of Art
  • 25.3.01: Ancient Egyptian Perfumes and Cosmetics, Toledo Museum of Art
  • 29.11.01: Amenhotep III, Horus Society, Wigan
  • 5.12.01: Montuhotep II, Nemes Society Manchester
  • 17.1.02: The Decorated Body in Ancient Egypt, The Clothed Body in the Ancient World Conference, Open University & University of Birmingham
  • 13-14.4.02: Ancient Egypt at the Louvre, Horus Society tour
  • 14-15.5.02: Mummification Techniques of Ancient Egypt & Yemen, Sana'a University
  • 1.10.02: The Assassination of Tutankhamen, Smithsonian, Washington
  • 27.11.02: Land of the Pharaohs gallery talk, Harrogate
  • 30.11.02: KV.39 Revisited, Bloomsbury Day School, London University
  • 17.2.03: Land of the Pharaohs: treasures of the Collection, Harrogate Museum
  • 26.3.03: Land of the Gods in God's Own County, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
  • 29.6.03: Recent Work at KV.35, Highclere Castle
  • 7.03: The Search for Nefertiti, Discovery Channel, Los Angeles
  • 8.03: The Search for Nefertiti, Smithsonian, Washington
  • 7.10.04: In Search of Nefertiti: the annual In Pursuit of Excellence Lecture, Beaumont Hospitals & Detroit Institute of Arts
  • 27.1.05: Mummies from Ancient Egypt and Beyond, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
  • 10.4.05: The Search for Nefertiti: Leading Lights Lecture, Edinburgh Science Festival
  • 22.4.05: Pectorals for King and Courtiers in the Reign of the 'Dazzling Sun Disk', 56th Annual Meeting Of The American Research Center In Egypt, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • 24.5.05: The Search for Nefertiti, Sheffield University Archaeology Society
  • 29.5.05: The Search for Nefertiti, the Guardian's Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival
  • 2.7.05: Edward Heron-Allen and Ancient Egypt, Heron-Allen Society, London
  • 22.9.05: Discovering Ancient Egypt, Wakefield Museum
  • 29.11.05: Ancient Egypt & Yorkshire, Wakefield Town Hall
  • 17.6.06: The hair & hairstyle of Clonycavan Man, Royal Museum of Ireland, Dublin
  • 27.7.06: The Materials Employed in Ancient Yemeni Burial Practices, The Seminar for Arabian Studies, British Museum
  • 10.11.06: Ancient Egypt & Yorkshire, Wakefield Girls' High School
  • 17.11.06: Ancient Egypt & Yorkshire, Highclare School
  • 25.11.06: The Mummies of the Amarna Period, North-East Lincolnshire Egyptian Association
  • 5.2.07: The Pioneering Mrs. Lieder and British Egyptology, Scarborough Archaeological and Historical Society
  • 20.2.07: The Pathology Of A Royal Child Mummy From Tomb KV.35, Valley Of The Kings, Egypt (with D. Brothwell & S. el-Merghani), International Mummy Congress, Lanzarote
  • 12.4.07: A Resume of Recent Work, Nemes Egyptology Society, Manchester
  • 15.5.07: Into the Light: the Ancient Egyptian Treasures of Harrogate Museum and Arts, Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate

Jo and Alan discuss the images

Contact details

Professor Joann Fletcher