Prof. Christina Riggs
I am a historian of photography and archaeology, with a particular interest in North Africa and the Middle East. My research has considered how different people, at different times, have imagined, studied, and represented the culture we know as ‘ancient Egypt’ – and how the fields of archaeology, art history, and Egyptology developed in tandem with colonial and imperial expansion.
Trained as an Egyptologist, I began my career working on the visual culture of Roman Egypt and curating museum collections of Egyptian antiquities. After joining the art history department at the University of East Anglia in 2007, I undertook an AHRC-funded research project on the wrapping and unwrapping of ancient Egyptian mummies. I presented the research as the Evans-Pritchard Lectures at All Souls College, Oxford University, in 2012, published as Unwrapping Ancient Egypt (Bloomsbury 2014).
Most recently, I have worked on the photographic archive from the 1920s excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb, considering the impact those photographs had both at the time and up to the present day. Presented in my book Photographing Tutankhamun (Bloomsbury 2019), and in a touring exhibition of the same name, this research was supported by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust.
I am currently extending my research to other photographic archives, media representations, and museum collections, for two reasons: first, to explore the history of colonial-era archaeology in Egypt, and second, to investigate the ways in which the dissemination of images and objects shaped ideas about ancient Egyptian art. More broadly, I am interested in how photography informs historical methods and how photographs function as social and material objects.
I welcome inquiries from potential postgraduate research students interested in the history of photography, archaeology, and visual culture. I am primary supervisor of Maarten Horn (at the University of East Anglia), on the materiality of 'predynastic' Egypt in the excavations of Guy Brunton.
With my Durham colleague Dr Robert Witcher, I will be second supervisor on an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award, held in conjunction with the British School at Rome, on the photographic archive of the South Etruria Survey, 1955-75.
Department of History
- History of photography
- History of museums, collecting, and display
- Archaeology, colonialism, and empire
- Riggs, Christina (2020). Ancient Egyptian Magic: A Hands-On Guide. Thames and Hudson.
- Riggs, Christina (2019). Photographing Tutankhamun: Archaeology, Ancient Egypt, and the Archive. Bloomsbury.
- Riggs, Christina (2017). Egypt. Reaktion Books; University of Chicago Press.
- Riggs, Christina (2017). Tutankhamun: The Original Photographs. The Gower Press.
- Riggs, Christina (2014). Ancient Egyptian Art and Architecture: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
- Riggs, Christina (2014). Unwrapping Ancient Egypt. Bloomsbury.
- Riggs, Christina (2006). The Beautiful Burial: Art, Identity, and Funerary Religion in Roman Egypt. Oxford University Press.
Chapter in book
- Riggs, Christina (2020). Archaeology and photography. In The Handbook of Photography Studies. Pasternak, Gil Bloomsbury.
- Riggs, Christina (2020). Photographing Tutankhamun: PhotoObjects and the archival afterlives of colonial archaeology. In PhotoObjects: On the Materiality of Photographs and Photo Archives in the Humanities and Sciences. Bärnighausen, Julia, Caraffa, Costanza, Klamm, Stefanie, Schneider, Franke & Wodtke, Petra Max Planck Research Library. 12: 291-308.
- Riggs, Christina (2018). Loose bodies: Reserve collections, curatorial reservations, and the ancient Egyptian dead. In Museum Storage and Meaning: Tales from the Crypt. Brusius, Mirjam & Singh, Kavita Routledge. 253-62.
- Riggs, Christina (2015). Discussing knowledge in the making. In Histories of Egyptology: Interdisciplinary Measures. Carruthers, William Routledge. 129-38.
- Riggs, Christina (2015). Egypt. In The Oxford Handbook of Roman Sculpture. Friedland, Elise A., Sobocinski, Melanie Grunow & Gazda, Elaine K. Oxford University Press. 552-68.
- Riggs, Christina (2013). Greco-Roman Egypt. In World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: A Characterization. Hicks, Dan & Stevenson, Alice Archaeopress. 115-21.
- Riggs, Christina (2013). Mourning women and decorum in ancient Egyptian art. In Decorum and Experience: Essays in Ancient Culture for John Baines. Frood, Elizabeth & McDonald, Angela Peeters. 156-62.
- Riggs, Christina (2012). Portraits, prestige, piety: Images of women in Roman Egypt. In A Companion to Women in the Ancient World. James, Sharon L. & Dillon, Sheila Blackwell. 423-36.
- Riggs, Christina (2010). Ancient Egypt in the museum: Concepts and constructions. In A Companion to Ancient Egypt, 2 vols. Lloyd, Alan B. Blackwell. 2: 1129-53.
- Riggs, Christina (2010). Tradition and innovation in the burial practices of Roman Egypt. In Tradition and Transformation: Egypt under Roman Rule. Lembke, Katja, Minas-Nerpel, Martina & Pfeiffer, Stefan Brill. 343-56.
- Riggs, Christina (2008). Gilding the lily: Shrouds, sculpture, and the representation of women in Ptolemaic and early Roman Egypt. In Egypt and Beyond: Essays Presented to Leonard H. Lesko. Thompson, Steven E. & Manuelian, Peter D. Brown University. 285-304.
- Riggs, Christina (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Roman Egypt. Oxford University Press.
- Riggs, Christina (2017). In the shadows: The study of ancient Egyptian art. Orientalistische Literaturzeitung 112(4-5).
- Riggs, Christina (2017). Nuns and guns: Thoughts on heritage, histories, and Egyptology. Review of Middle East Studies 51(2): 221.
- Riggs, Christina (2017). Objects in the photographic archive: Between the field and the museum in Egyptian archaeology. Museum History Journal 10(2): 140.
- Riggs, Christina (2017). Shouldering the past: Photography, archaeology, and collective effort at the tomb of Tutankhamun. History of Science 55(3): 336-363.
- Riggs, Christina (2017). The body in the box: Archiving the Egyptian mummy. Archival Science 17(2): 125.
- Riggs, Christina (2016). An autopsic art: Drawings of ‘Dr Granville's mummy’ in the Royal Society archives. Notes and Records: the Royal Society Journal of the History of Science 70(2): 107.
- Riggs, Christina (2016). Beautiful burials, beautiful skulls: The aesthetics of the Egyptian mummy. The British Journal of Aesthetics 56(3): 247.
- Riggs, Christina (2016). Photography and antiquity in the archive, or how Howard Carter moved the road to the Valley of the Kings. History of Photography 40(3): 267-282.
- Riggs, Christina (2013). A Roman Period child's mummy in the Saffron Walden Museum. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 99: 265-70.
- Riggs, Christina (2013). Colonial visions: Egyptian antiquities and contested histories in the Cairo Museum. Museum Worlds: Advances in Research 1(1): 65.
- Riggs, Christina & Hardwick, Tom (2010). The king as a falcon: A 'lost' statue of Thutmose III rediscovered and reunited. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts Kairo 66: 107-20.
- Riggs, Christina (2009). Lions, pylons, and feet: A small-scale linen shroud in the Bolton Museum and Art Gallery. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 95: 249-54.
- Riggs, Christina (2006). Archaism and artistic sources in Roman Egypt: The coffins of the Soter family and the temple of Deir el-Medina. Bulletin de l'Institut Francais d'Archeologie Orientale 106: 315-32.
- Riggs, Christina & Depauw, Mark (2003). 'Soternalia' from Deir el-Bahri, including two coffin lids with Demotic inscriptions. Revue d’Égyptologie 53: 75-90.
- Riggs, Christina & Stadler, M.A. (2003). A Roman shroud and its Demotic inscriptions in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 40: 69-87.
- Baines, John & Riggs, Christina (2002). Archaism and kingship: A late royal statue and its Early Dynastic model. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 87: 103-18.
- Riggs, Christina (2002). Facing the dead: Recent research on the funerary art of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt. American Journal of Archaeology 106(1): 85-101.
- Riggs, Christina (2000). Roman Period mummy masks from Deir el-Bahri. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 86: 121-44.
Other (Digital/Visual Media)
- Riggs, Christina (2012). Ethnicity.
- Riggs, Christina (2010). Funerary rituals (Ptolemaic and Roman).
- Riggs, Christina (2010). The body.