John Tait

  • MA, D.Phil.
  • Emeritus Professor of Egyptology

The text of John's Inaugural Lecture is available here»

Research Interests

  • Ancient Egyptian social history
  • Languages, texts, and documents of ancient Egypt (from Early Egypt into the Islamic period)


  • North Saqqara and Memphis projects of the Egypt Exploration Society (London)
  • Rifeh Project (with Wolfram Grajetzki and Petrie Museum staff)

Educational Background

  • First degree in Classics
  • D.Phil. in Egyptian and Greek papyrology
  • Tait, J. (2013) "On the singularity of Wenamun", in Frood, E. and McDonald, A. (eds) Decorum and experience: essays in ancient culture for John Baines. Oxford: Griffith Institute, 72–76.
  • Tait, J. (2013) Review of Receipts, scribes, and collectors in early Ptolemaic Thebes (O. Taxes 2), by B. P. Muhs. Journal of Hellenic Studies 133, 250–251.
  • Tait, J. (2013) Review of Egypt in England, by Chris Elliott. Egyptian Archaeology 43, 43–44.
  • Tait, J. (2013) Review of Walk like an Egyptian in Kensal Green Cemetery, by Cathie Bryan. Egyptian Archaeology 43, 44.
  • Tait, J. (2013) "Uniconsonantal signs and patterns of change: exploring the orthography of the Demotic script", in Vleeming, S. P. (ed.) Aspects of Demotic orthography: acts of an international colloquium held in Trier, 8 November 2010 (Studia Demotica 11). Leuven Paris Walpole MA: Peeters, 127–143.
  • Tait, J. (2013) "The reception of Demotic narrative", in Enmarch, R. and Lepper, V. M. (eds) Ancient Egyptian literature: theory and practice (Proceedings of the British Academy 188). London: British Academy, 251–260.
  • Tait, J. (2012) "Comparing structures in the Greek Novel and Demotic narrative", in Schubert, P. (ed.), Actes du 26e Congrès international de papyrologie, Genève, 16–21 août 2010 (Recherches et Rencontres: publications de la Faculté des Lettres de l’Université de Genève 30). Genève: Droz, 739–745.
  • Tait, J. (2011) "'He did its like': some uses of repetition in Demotic narrative fiction", in Bechtold, E., Gulyás, A., and Hasznos, A. (eds), From Illahun to Djeme: papers presented in honour of Ulrich Luft (BAR International Series 2311). Oxford: Archaeopress, 279–285.
  • Tait, J. (2011) "The sinews of Demotic narrative", in Hagen, F., Johnston, J., Monkhouse, W., Piquette, K., Tait, J., and Worthington, M. (eds), Narratives of Egypt and the ancient Near East: literary and linguistic approaches (Orientalia lovaniensia analecta 189). Leuven: Peeters, 397–410
  • Tait, J. (2010) "Pa-di-pep tells Pharaoh the story of the condemnation of Djed-her: fragments of Demotic narrative in the British Museum", Enchoria 31 (2008/2009), 113–143.
  • Tait, J., (2009) "Anger and Agency: the role of the emotions in Demotic and earlier narratives" in Nyord, R. Kjølby, A. (eds) ‘Being in ancient Egypt’: thoughts on agency, materiality and cognition: proceedings of the seminar held in Copenhagen, September 29–30, 2006 (BAR International Series 2019). Oxford: Archaeopress, 75–82.
  • Tait, J. (2007) "‘Were There Gamesters in Pharaonic Egypt?" in Finkel, I.L. (ed.) Ancient Board Games in Perspective: papers from the 1990 British Museum colloquium, with additional contributions. London: British Museum Press, 46–53. ISBN: 9780714111537
  • Clarysse, W., Tait, W., Thompson, D.J. (2006). [Texts] 53,Demotic household record (kat’ethnos) [and] 54, Demotic record of males(kat’ethnos) in Clarysse, W., Thompson, D.J. (eds) Counting the people in Hellenistic Egypt. Cambridge Classical Studies series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 540-579. ISBN: 052183838X
  • Tait, W. (2005). Review of The Heqanakht papyri, by James Allen. Antiquity 79, 464–465
  • Tait, J. (2004). "A Papyrus bearing a shrine plan and a Book of the Dead" in Hoffmann, F. and Thissen, H.J. (eds) Res severa verum gaudium: Festschrift
    für Karl-Theodor Zauzich zum 65. Geburtstag am 8. Juni 2004
    . Peeters, Leuven: 2004. Pp. 573–582 with Pll.LII-LIV.
  • Tait, J. (2003). "The ‘Book of the Fayum’: mystery in a known landscape", in Mysterious Lands, ed. David O’Connor and Stephen Quirke (Encounters with Ancient Egypt [4]), London, UCL Press,183–202
  • Tait, J. 2003. Introduction “...since the time of the gods”’, Chapter 1 in ‘Never Had the Like Occurred’: Egypt’s view of its past, ed. John Tait (Encounters with Ancient Egypt [7]), London, UCL Press, 1–13
  • Tait, J. (2003). ‘The wisdom of Egypt: classical views’, Chapter 2 in The Wisdom of Egypt: changing visions through the ages, ed. Peter Ucko and Timothy Champion(Encounters with Ancient Egypt [5]), London, UCL Press, 23–37
  • Tait, J. (2003). ‘Cleopatra by name’. In Cleopatra reassessed,ed. Susan Walker and Sally-Ann Ashton (British Museum Occasional Paper Number103), London, The BritishMuseum, 3–7
  • Tait, J. (2002). Review of "Reflectionsof Osiris: lives from ancient Egypt", by John Ray, London, Profile Books,2001 — Egyptian Archaeology 20: 43.
  • Tait, J. (2002), (with Andrew Monson) ‘Putting Papyri into Archaeological Context: new insights from Tebtunis,Egypt’, Archaeology International [5], 2001/2:40-43.
  • Tait, J. (2002). ‘Papyri, digitisation,and the web: accessibility and management of collections’, Manuscripta
    8, ii: 61-67.
  • Tait, J. (2001). (With Cornelia EvaRömer) 374. Mummienbegleitbrief in dreifacher Ausfertigung, pp. 131-135.In Kölner Papyri (P. Köln), Band 9, bearbeitet von Michael Gronewald[and others]. Papyrologica Coloniensia, Vol. VII/9.Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag.
  • Tait, J. (2001). Review of "Libraries in the Ancient World", by Lionel Casson, New Haven, CN & London, YaleUniversity Press, 2001 — Alexandria 13, iii:193-194.
  • Tait, J. (2001). Demotica selecta 2000, Archiv für Papyrusforschung 47, ii: 278-283
  • Tait, J & Leach, B, (2000). Papyrus, in P T Nicholson & I Shaw (eds). Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology,227-253. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Tait, J & Jeffreys, D G, (2000). Disability, Madness and Social Exclusion in Dynastic Egypt, in J Hubert (ed). Madness,
    Disabilty and Social Exclusion
    , 87-95. London: Routledge
  • Tait, J & Thomas, J D, (1998). Greek and Demotic Accounts on a Papyrus at the Bodleian Library Oxford, in The
    Two Faces of Graeco-Roman Egypt (studies presented to P. W. Pestman)
    , 93-125.Leiden, Brill

Current Students

  • John Johnston Aspects of display and identity in 'Egyptian' burials at Panopolis (Akhmim) during the Ptolemaic period (second supervisor Corinna Riva)

Previous Students

  • Brigitte Balanda Ancient Egypt and Napata: Exchange and development of funerary traditions along the Lower and Middle Nile Valley, and their impact on the rise of the Kingdom of Napata (principal supervisor Dorian Fuller). Submitted 2011

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