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Department of Archaeology

The site of Amarna on the east bank of the river Nile, middle Egypt

Archaeological Heritage at Amarna

The Amarna: Egyptian Archaeological Heritage Institutional Links Heritage Project is the latest initiative to take place at the Tell el-Amarna archaeological site. The project is a joint venture between the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the University of Cambridge and builds on the longstanding archaeological work of the Amarna Project.

Focusing on cultural heritage, the project explores awareness of the archaeology of Amarna alongside local relationships with the site. The project brings together Egyptian and international specialists in museum education, participation and engagement, historical research and heritage management. Their joint expertise is being pooled to strengthen site management and participatory strategies at Amarna. From inception, the project has been designed as a collaborative and co-creative undertaking with a dual mission:

  • To widen accessibility of knowledge about this unique archaeological site through outreach and education, and
  • to engage local stakeholders with the archaeological site in ways that bring sustainable benefit to both the and to site-resident communities. 

In the process of co-producing information and site management resources, Amarna: Egyptian Archaeological Heritage is linking the exploration and protection of the best preserved city from ancient Egypt to contemporary local needs and resources; establishing public education and outreach programmes within the recently opened Visitor Centre at Amarna; developing dual-language English/ Egyptian learning resources for use by schools, teachers and visitors; formalising an integrated management plan for the archaeological site; and working with regional Ministry of Antiquities staff through training and research opportunities to lead on the initiatives above.

Project Goals

  1. To develop pathways towards positive engagement between local stakeholders and the archaeological site of Amarna, particularly through heritage-based education and outreach sustained by Ministry of Antiquities staff through the Visitor Centre.
  2. To improve the management and protection of Amarna through a study of local engagement with the site and by improving public awareness of its significance and history. 
  3. To provide regional Ministry of Antiquities employees with career-and skill-development opportunities, through training in museum education and outreach work.
  4. To enhance visitor facilities at Amarna and thereby increase tourism to this site and Middle Egypt generally.
  5. To foster understanding and longer-term collaboration between the research and heritage management sectors at Amarna.

To this end, the McDonald Institute within the Department of Archaeology at Cambridge is working with partners in Egypt, notably the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquitities, and across the world to deliver engaging content about Amarna’s ancient and modern heritage.

The resources included in these project pages were supported by an Institutional Links grant, ID 261861975, under the Newton-Mosharafa Fund partnership. The grant is funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Science and Technology Development Fund in Egypt and delivered by the British Council. For further information, please visit the Newton Fund website. Additional support for the Archaeological Heritage Project was provided by the University of Cambridge through the Arts and Humanities Impact Fund.

The Archaeological Heritage at Amarna web pages have been made possible by funding from the University of Cambridge and adhere to the University of Cambridge’s ethical guidelines and data protection protocols. 

About Project Partner Institutions

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities 

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is the government organization which serves to protect and preserve the heritage of Egypt. Collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is central to all archaeological work that takes place at Amarna. Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities staff work with the University of Cambridge on excavations, site management and public engagement initiatives.

The Amarna Visitor Centre 

The Amarna Visitor Centre, run by Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities staff, provides the hub for outreach and engagement activities with local and visiting audiences. The Visitor Centre opened to the public in 2016 as the result of collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Michael Mallinson Architects and the University of Cambridge through the Amarna Project.

The Visitor Centre is a unique piece of regional heritage infrastructure located next to the Nile in the rapidly growing town of Tell Beni Amran (El-Till) within the archaeological site.  The displays are in Arabic and English and include information panels alongside replicas of monuments and objects from the site held in museums around the world. The centrepiece is a full-scale cut-away reconstruction of a house of an Amarna official. The information panels introduce visitors to the reign of Akhenaten, urban life in ancient Egypt, the archaeological process and other themes. The Visitor Centre also has an active Arabic Facebook page providing the latest news from the site and other associated research.

The Amarna Project 

The Amarna Project developed from a long-running archaeological excavation, formerly carried out under the auspices of the Egypt Exploration Society and now in the name of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, under an annual permit from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.  

The Amarna Project website provides comprehensive archaeological information on the site and the ongoing excavation and research projects, alongside guidance on accessing the site and details on the Amarna Visitor Centre.  The Amarna Project also has an active Facebook page providing the latest news from the site and other associated research.

The British Council

The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.



Project Output

Academic Output

  • An up-to-date list of academic publications on Amarna can be found on the Amarna Project website. Recent contributions by Cambridge researchers have focused broadly on social archaeology, investigating the social organisation, beliefs, economic practices and domestic architecture of ordinary town dwellers at ancient Amarna. 
  • A comprehensive site management plan tailored to local infrastructure and knowledge management resources.

Outreach publications resulting from Egypt Past and Present: Archaeological Heritage at Amarna 

The Institutional Links Heritage Project is delivering a number of public-focused publications:

  • A guidebook for visitors the archaeological site of Amarna
  • A children’s story and activity book exploring ancient and modern life in Amarna
  • Teaching resources in the form of downloadable worksheets and activity guides
  • Film clips for young audiences, developed through collaboration with local residents and involving children from Cairo and Cambridge

(for School Resources please visit the separate project pages Life in Ancient Egypt: Amarna, Resources for Schools)


British Council

Project Team Members

Our core team comprises:

Dr Yasmin El Shazly (Ministry of Antiquities: Egypt PI); Dr Kate Spence (University of Cambridge: UK PI); Dr Anna Stevens (University of Cambridge); Dr Gemma Tully (University of Cambridge); Dr Rasha Kamal (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities); Dr Amr El Tibei (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities); Shreen Amin (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities); Nagwa Bakr (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities); and Mohammed Abd El Fattah (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities).

We are also grateful for the support and input of Ministry of Antiquities colleagues in Middle Egypt, including Mr Fathy Awad, Mr Hamada Kellawy, Mr Helmy Hussein and the staff of the Amarna Visitor Centre.




Project Lead

Project Tags

Periods of interest: 
Geographical areas: 
Egypt and Sudan
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Artefact Analysis & Technology
Art and Iconography
Cultural Heritage
Heritage Studies
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