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Department of Archaeology

 

Biography

I am originally from Brazil, where I completed a BA in Ancient History (2013) and an MPhil in Archaeology (2015) before I moved to Cambridge to pursue a PhD in Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology as a Cambridge Trust Scholar at Emmanuel College (2021). Prior to returning to Cambridge as a Teaching Associate in Egyptian Archaeology in the Departmant of Archaeology and a College Research Associate at Emmanuel, I spent two years in Germany working as an ERC postdoctoral fellow and teaching at LMU Munich.

Research

My research primarily focuses on the material culture of Egypt and Sudan. Most of my work concentrates on New Kingdom funerary material, though I have also worked with earlier and later Egyptian and Nubian material, both from cemeteries and settlements. My research has a strong theoretical focus. I am especially interested in postcolonial theory, decolonial theory, colonisation through objects, social stratification and power, relations of production, consumption patterns, and how inequalities determine the expression of identities through material culture.

My current research project, funded by the British Academy and the Wainwright Fund, aims to understand, through scientific analyses of material culture, how Egyptian-style objects are subverted in colonised Nubia. The project focuses on coffins, kohl and clays from Debeira and Aniba in Lower Nubia. Materials analyses of coffins from colonised Nubia may shed light on local strategies for manufacturing Egyptian-style objects. Preliminary analyses of kohl are progressively revealing local patterns of use of Egyptian funerary objects in Nubia during the New Kingdom colonial period. Recently, I have also done residue analysis of 18th Dynasty canopic jars from Lower Nubia, which shed further light onto local patterns of use of foreign objects in local contexts and the existence of alternative networks through which materials used in the Nubian colony circulated.

I am currently co-directing, with Ikhlas Abdellatif, a research project on the 18th Dynasty tomb of Djehutyhotep, chief of Tehkhet (Debeira, Lower Nubia). Due to the flooding of Lower Nubia, the tomb chapel has been relocated from Debeira and reassembled in the courtyard of the Sudan National Museum in Khartoum. The project aims to (1) document the tomb's architectural and artistic features in Khartoum using state-of-the-art digital techniques, in conjunction with legacy data from excavations in the 1950s and to produce a digital reconstruction of the lost monument; (2) record and study the burial assemblages from the tomb, including scientific analyses; (3) disseminate knowledge on Djehutyhotep and promote community-led activities towards decolonisation. This work has received funding from the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge.

I am the Assistant Director of the Sanam Temple Project in north Sudan. At Sanam, I have previously excavated and am currently investigating a Napatan Period faience production workshop located at the rear of the main stone temple. The products of this workshop probably ended up in mortuary contexts of the Napatan Period. Until further excavations can be done, this project will focus on scientific analyses of faience objects from Sanam in UK collections.

In Egypt, I am also engaged in fieldwork in Luxor, where I have excavated a series of tombs ranging from the Old Kingdom to the late New Kingdom. These tombs were reused from the Third Intermediate Period to the Ptolemaic Period. I am currently in the process of publishing the results of these excavations. In Egypt, I have also worked at the Great Aten Temple and one of the non-elite cemeteries in Akhenaten's capital, modern-day Amarna. Other fieldwork in Sudan includes excavations at a large Kerma cemetery in Ginis East, which served a relatively wealthy provincial community within the Kerma empire of the Middle Bronze Age. I am currently writing up analyses of material from this cemetery for publication and will be contributing later to its final publication.

In Brazil, I am part of a large-scale research project on the Egyptian collection of the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro. Following rescue excavations after the 2018 fire, an interdisciplinary team of Brazilian scholars is carrying out research, including scientific analyses of objects made of various materials, to determine what changes the objects suffered after the fire. This project will lead to an updated catalogue of the collection and its complete digitization. The project is funded by the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development.

I am currently in the process of publishing my PhD research, which consists of a fresh interpretation of the role of foreign objects in local contexts in New Kingdom colonial Nubia.

Collaborators

  • Dr Kate Spence (Cambridge)
  • Dr Kathyn Howley (NYU)
  • Dr Ikhlas Abdellatif (National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums of Sudan)
  • Dr W. Vivian Davies (University of Oxford)
  • Prof Julia Budka (LMU Munich)
  • Dr Kate Fulcher (Bodlean Library, Oxford)
  • Prof Jonas Bergquist (Uppsala University)
  • Ludmila Werkström (Gustavianum Museum, Uppsala University)
  • Emma Hocker (Gustavianum Museum, Uppsala University)
  • Dr Claudia Rodrigues-Carvalho (The National Museum, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)
  • Prof Violeta Pereyra (University of Buenos Aires)
  • Dr Oliva Menozzi (University of Chieti and Pescara)
  • Dr Carl Walsh (Barnes Foundation)
  • Dr Manuela Lehmann
  • Dr Frederik Rademaker (British Museum)
  • Prof Marcos Martinón Torres (Cambridge)
  • Caterina Zaggia (Cambridge)
  • Dr Pedro von Seehausen (The National Museum, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)

Key Publications

Key publications: 

ORCiDGoogle Scholar | Academia.edu

Lemos, R., I. Abdllatief, S. Linarello, V. Capuchio and B. de Almeida Newton (forthcoming) Preserving heritage amid war: A protocol for recording and disseminating the tomb of Djehutyhotep at the Sudan National Museum.

Lemos, R., K. Fulcher, I. Abdllatief, L. Werkström and E. Hocker (2023) Reshaping Egyptian funerary ritual in colonized Nubia? Organic characterization of unguents from mortuary contexts of the New Kingdom (c. 1550–1070 BCE). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 15 (6): 73. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-023-01769-6

Lemos, R. (2023) Can we decolonise the ancient past? Bridging postcolonial and decolonial theory in Sudanese and Nubian archaeology. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 33 (1): 19–37. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959774322000178.

Lemos, R. (2021) Heart scarabs and other heart-related objects in New Kingdom Nubia. Sudan & Nubia 25: 252–269. https://doi.org/10.32028/Sudan_and_Nubia_25_pp252-269

Lemos, R. and J. Budka (2021) Alternatives to colonization and marginal identities in New Kingdom colonial Nubia (1550–1070 BCE). World Archaeology 53 (3): 401–418. https://doi.org/10.1080/00438243.2021.1999853

Lemos, R. (2020) Material culture and colonization in ancient Nubia: Evidence from the New Kingdom cemeteries. In Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, ed. C. Smith. New York: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_3307-1

Other publications: 

(selected)

Lemos, R. (in press) Learning how to decolonize archaeology with African-Diasporic communities in Brazil. In decolonial manual, ed. Valery Vinogradovs. Santa Barbara, CA: Punctum Books.

Lemos, R. (in press) Connections to the south: Religious connectivity and fragmentation in the Middle Nile valley during the Late Bronze Age (c. 1550–1070 BCE), In Handbook of the Archaeology of Ancient Mediterranean Religions, ed. Caitlín Eilís Barrett. London: Routledge.

Lemos, R. (in press) Beyond cultural entanglements: Experiencing the New Kingdom colonization of Nubia 'from below', In New Perspectives on Ancient Nubia, ed S. Ashby and A. Brody. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press.

Lemos, R. (in press) Circulação de objetos e experiências locais na colônia egípcia da Núbia durante o Reino Novo (1550–1070 a.C.), In Circuitos de Informação na Antiguidade: perspectivas comparadas, ed. A. B. Tacla. Belo Horizonte: Editora Fino Traço.

Lemos, R. (2024) Nubian resources and materials between indigenous diversity and colonial impositions. In Landscape and resource management in Bronze Age Nubia: Archaeological perspectives on the exploitation of natural resources and the circulation of commodities in the Middle Nile, eds. Julia Budka and Rennan Lemos, 201–205. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. https://www.doi.org/10.13173/9783447121378

Lemos, R. (2023) Where has the archaeology of colonialism taken us? Some thoughts on where we stand and where we should go next. Archaeological Review from Cambridge 38 (1): 163–174. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.104450

Di Giovanni, M., C. Santarelli, R. Lemos (2022) Analisi strutturale e studio dei riutilizzi nelle tombe tebane 187 e -348-. In Archaeologiae Una storia al plural: Studi in memoria di Sara Santoro (Reports, Excavations and Studies of the Archaeological Unit of the University G. d’Annunzio of Chieti-Pescara 2), eds. S. Antonelli, V. La Salvia, M. C. Mancini, O. Menozzi, M. Moderato, M. C. Somma, 281–288. Oxford: Archaeopress. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv2x1npqm.28

Lemos, R. (2021) (Archaeology of) Religion in New Kingdom Nubia. Database of Religious History, University of British Columbia, https://doi.org/10.14288/1.0396012

Auenmüller, J. and R. Lemos (2021) The shabti of Khnummose – Insights into 18th Dynasty colonial society in Nubia. In Tomb 26 on Sai Island: A New Kingdom elite tomb and its relevance for Sai and beyond, ed. J. Budka. Leiden: Sidestone Press. https://www.sidestone.com/books/tomb-26-on-sai-island

Carniel, V. and R. Lemos (2021) A preliminary note on the shabti corpus from the tomb complex of Neferhotep (TT49, TT362 and TT363). In O. Menozzi's Funerary uses and reuses of Theban rock-cut architecture [...]. Frankfurter elektronische Rundschau zur Altertumskunde 44, https://doi.org/10.21248/fera.45.310

Lemos, R. and S. Tipper (2021) Sudanese and Nubian archaeology: Scholarship past and present. In Current Perspectives in Sudanese and Nubian Archaeology – A collection of papers presented at the 2018 Sudan Studies Research Conference, Cambridge, eds. R. Lemos and S. Tipper, 1–12. Oxford: Archaeopress. https://www.archaeopress.com/Archaeopress/download/9781789698978

Lemos, R. (2020) A new fragment from the Amarna Royal Tomb. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 106 (1-2): 249–256. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0307513320963283

Lemos, R. (2018) Materiality and cultural reproduction in non-elite cemeteries. In Perspectives on Materiality in Ancient Egypt: Agency, cultural reproduction and change, eds. É. Maynart, C. Velloza and R. Lemos, 24–34. Oxford: Archaeopress. https://www.archaeopress.com/Archaeopress/download/9781784919337

Lemos, R., P. von Seehausen, M. di Giovanni, M. Giobbe, O. Menozzi and A. Brancaglion. (2017) Entangled temporalities in the Theban necropolis: A materiality and heritage approach to the excavation of Theban Tomb 187. Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 5 (2): 178–197. http://www.doi.org/10.5325/jeasmedarcherstu.5.2.0178

Teaching and Supervisions

Teaching: 

I teach the Egyptian archaeology papers for the Archaeology and Egyptology Tripos and MPhil in Archaeology and Egyptology and contribute to other papers. This year I am teaching the following courses:

A28/G12 Ancient Egypt in context: An archaeology of foreign relations (paper co-ordinator)

A3 Introduction to the cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia (with Dr Steve Renette)

A61 Archaeology of Colonialism (with Prof Paul Lane)

A35/G17 Archaeology of Africa (with Prof Paul Lane)

A1 World Archaeology (with Prof Paul Lane)

A10 Archaeological Theory and Practice (with Dr Susanne Hakenbeck)

G24 Heritage in the post-colonial world (with Dr Lila Janik)

 

In previous years, I have also taught:

A27/G11 Settlement and society in ancient Egypt (paper co-ordinator)

 

I have also been involved in:

AS9 Archaeological Materials and Technology (co-ordinator: Dr Carmen Ting)

A25 Mesopotamian Archaeology I: prehistory and early states (with Dr Tina Greenfield)

A29 Archaeology of Religion in Ancient Egypt (co-ordinator: Dr Christina Geisen)

Research supervision: 

At Cambridge I supervise and examine undergraduate and MA students in Egyptian archaeology.

Other Professional Activities

I organise the Egyptian World Seminar Series (https://www.arch.cam.ac.uk/events/egyptian-world-seminar-series)

I maintain strong academic connections to my home country. I am an Honorary Research Fellow at the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), where I am also Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in Archaeology. There I contribute to Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology research projects in Department of Anthropology, where I am co-supervising three PhD projects and one MPhil project focusing on Egyptian and Nubian material.

I am also a Research Associate (freier Mitarbeiter) of the ERC DiverseNile project (LMU Munich), where I am involved in the investigation of a large Kerma cemetery in Ginis East, north Sudan.

I am a member of the Code of Ethics and Heritage and Community Engagement working parties of the International Society for Nubian Studies. I am also a member of the Sudan Archaeological Research Society, the International Association of Egyptologists and the Society of Africanist Archaeologists.

I am a managing editor of Dotawo: A Journal of Nubian Studies (https://escholarship.org/uc/dotawo).

Job Titles

Teaching Associate in Egyptian Archaeology
Affiliated lecturer
College Research Associate, Emmanuel College

General Info

Available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Artefact Analysis & Technology
Archaeological Theory
Egyptology and Egyptian Language

Contact Details

rdsl3 [at] cam.ac.uk

Affiliations

Person keywords: 
Nubia
Africa
Egypt
Material Culture
Archaeology of Empire
Archaeology of Colonialism
Sudan
Subjects: 
Archaeology
Egyptology
Themes: 
Material Culture
Rethinking Complexity
Geographical areas: 
Africa
Egypt and Sudan
Periods of interest: 
Copper/Bronze Age
Iron Age
Other Historical
Other Prehistory
Pharaonic