Profile image
  • Paolo Del Vesco
  • Honorary Research Associate
  • p.vesco@ucl.ac.uk
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Paolo Del Vesco

Research Interests

  • Egyptian Archaeology
  • Ancient Egyptian Household Religion
  • Theban Necropolis in the Third Intermediate Period
  • History of Egyptology and near Eastern Archaeology
  • Ethical Issues in Archaeological Practice
  • Archaeological Theory and Methods
  • Computer Applications in Archaeology
  • Ethnography of Archaeology

Current Research Project

MAKAN: Moving Archaeological Knowledge Away from Neo-colonialism

The history of archaeology is tightly intertwined with colonialism. Archaeology of ancient Middle Eastern civilizations, in particular, coincided, from the mid-19th century, with the process of colonial appropriation of the Ottoman Empire. Archaeological “campaigns” were conducted side by side with gradual European intrusion, in a "civilizing mission", later relabelled "development assistance". The Middle East became a source both for ancient materials, enriching major Western collections, and for historical antecedents, but remained itself disciplinarily excluded from the recovery of its own past. Even today, despite great advances in methods and technologies, Middle East excavation praxis retains 19th century colonial structures; in Egyptian Archaeology, colonial rule reinforced a rigid exclusion of local inhabitants, recreated by each subsequent generation of archaeologists, of all nationalities including Egyptian. The challenge of giving local inhabitants a primary role in developing and disseminating archaeological knowledge is of the outmost importance for the decolonization of Egyptology. The project objectives are:

  • a self-critical history of the discipline, through critical archive-based historical inquiry
  • evaluation of current strategies, to propose new approaches for re-connecting local inhabitants with their own expropriated pasts, building on the experience of current Collaborative Archaeologies in different world areas
  • analysis of possible venues for local re-appropriation of pasts, and contribution to constructing accessible virtual and physical spaces for dialogue between formal and informal research communities, focussing on residents of collection-locations and residents of site-locations
  • implementation of multi-site ethnography, designed from Petrie Museum proposed links and collection provenances, addressed to the production of a holistic evaluation report including guidelines for ethics in Egyptian Archaeology projects

Research Directory Records

Educational Background

  • 2012-2014 Marie Curie Intra European Research Fellow at the UCL Institute of Archaeology
  • 2010 - 2011  Research fellow at the Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO) in Leiden (The Netherlands)
  • 2008 - 2010  Research fellow at the Egyptology Institute of the University of Pisa (Italy)
  • 2008 PhD in Oriental Studies: Egypt, Near and Middle East (University of Pisa, Italy). Thesis of Egyptology on “Archaeology of Religion in Egypt. Votive Beds and Popular Religion at Thebes during the Third Intermediate Period”
  • 2002  MA in Ancient History (University of Pisa, Italy). Thesis of Egyptology on “Tell Nebesheh - Imet, Archaeology of an Eastern Delta Town”

Bookmark and Share