Dr Michela Luiselli

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
Teaching Fellow in Egyptology

Contact details

Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am an Egyptologist with an expertise in ancient Egyptian religion and with a focus on personal religion beliefs and ritual practices of the Middle and New Kingdom. I also work on mechanism of construction of personal and social identity in Egypt.


  • PhD in Egyptology, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • Laurea in Lettere (BA equivalent), University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’
  • MA in Translation (SSIT, Pescara, Italy)
  • QTS (Qualified Teacher Status), King Edward’s Consortium, Birmingham


I first joined the University of Birmingham as Honorary Research Fellow in 2007 after completing my PhD in Egyptology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 2006 and while working on several post-doctoral research projects, based in Basel and funded by the Swiss National Centre for Research.  In 2009 I also worked in Birmingham as Research Fellow for the online catalogue of the Eton Myers Collection. My first encounter with the Ancient Near East, however, was at the University of Rome, ‘La Sapienza’, where I completed my undergraduate and postgraduate career. During my career, I have taken part to excavations in Egypt and I have taught Egyptology in Switzerland and at the University of Birmingham, where I have been appointed Teaching Fellow in Egyptology in 2020.


Undergraduate teaching:

  • Understanding ancient societies: Egypt seminar  (2nd year)
  • Imperial Egypt (Term 2) (2nd year)

Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching:

  • Egyptian Language  


My main field of research is ancient Egyptian personal religion with a strong focus on the reconstructions of beliefs and practices of elite and non-elite members of the Egyptian society, particularly in the Middle and New Kingdom (ca. 1900-1069 BCE). I draw upon both textual and archaeological evidence which, in ancient cultures, are intertwined. Moreover, I am interested in the application of models and research methods of Religious Studies to ancient Egypt, as well as in the role of religion in the construction and display of personal and social identity in antiquity, including children and their access to religion and the shared belief system of the world around them.

My publications, two major monographs and numerous articles, are mainly centred around these research foci, but, as part of my most recent post-doctoral research project, I have also worked on the reconstruction of the origins of the cult of the Egyptian goddess Mut and her relevance for personal religion practices which has been published in form of two peer-reviewed articles.


Recent publications


Luiselli, MM 2011, Die Suche nach Gottesnähe. Untersuchungen zur Persönlichen Frömmigkeit in Ägypten von der Ersten Zwischenzeit bis zum Ende des Neuen Reiches, Ägypten und Altes Testament , vol. 73, Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden.


Luiselli, MM & Dorn, A 2016, 'Carry along divine protection as a gift. The exceptional case of O.Birmingham 1969W71', Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 102, pp. 97-109.

Luiselli, MM 2015, 'Early Mut(s).On the origins of the goddess Mut and her cult', Revue d'Egyptologie, vol. 66, pp. 111-129.

Luiselli, MM 2011, 'Inszenierung von Individualität. Zur Selbst-Thematisierung in der altägyptischen Porträtkunst', Imago Aegypti, vol. 3, pp. 72-81.

Conference contribution

Luiselli, MM 2020, Living a Religious Life. The Display of Religious Experience in Egyptian Autobiographies. in J Stauder, E Frood & A Stauder (eds), Ancient Egyptian Biographies : Forms, Contexts, Functions. Wilbur Studies in Egyptology and Assiriology, Atlanta.

Luiselli, MM 2018, Les différentes formes de piété personnelle à Deir el-Medina. in H Gaber (ed.), À l’oevre on connaît l’artisan...de Pharaon! Un siècle de recherches françaises à Deir el-Medina (1917-2017). vol. 18, CENIM, pp. 207-219.

Luiselli, M 2018, The lived religion of children in Ramesside Egypt. in S Kubisch & U Rummel (eds), The Ramesside Period in Egypt: Studies into Cultural and Historical Processes of the 19th and 20th Dynasties, Proceedings of the International Symposium held in Heidelberg, 5th to 7th June 2015. Studien des deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo, Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, pp. 205-216.

Luiselli, M 2017, Escaping fear and seeking protection. On the role of Mut in New Kingdom personal religion. in C Zivie-Coche & Y Gourdon (eds), L'individu dans la religion égyptienne. vol. 16, Cahiers Égypte Nilotique et Méditerranéen (CENIM) , pp. 119-135.

Luiselli, MM 2013, Images of Personal Religion in Ancient Egypt: an Outline. in MM Luiselli, J Mohn & S Gripentrog (eds), Kult und Bild. Die bildliche Dimension des Kultes im Alten Orient,in der Antike und in der Neuzeit. vol. 1, Diskurs Religion, Ergon Verlag, Wuerzburg, pp. 13-39.

Luiselli, MM 2011, Die ‘persönliche Frömmigkeit’ in der Ägyptologie. Definition(en), Themen, Terminologie, Forschungsansätze, Ausblicke. in W Friese (ed.), Persönliche Frömmigkeit. Funktion und Bedeutung individueller Gotteskontakte im interdisziplinären Dialog. vol. 28, Hephaistos, Berlin Lit-Verlag, pp. 37-50.

Luiselli, MM 2011, The Ancient Egyptian scene of ‘Pharaoh smiting his enemies’: An attempt to visualise cultural memory? in M Bommas (ed.), Memory Culture in Ancient Societies. vol. 1, Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 10-25.

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Luiselli, M, Dielemann, J & Wendrich, W 2008, Personal Piety (Modern theories related to). in UCLA Encyclopaedia of Egyptology.


Luiselli, M 2008, 'Methoden und Themen der modernen Kulturwissenschaft in der Untersuchung der altägyptischen Religion: Perspektiven and Grenzen', Paper presented at Paper held at the University of Munich, Germany: Symposion on Ägyptologie und Kulturwissenschaft, 1/01/08.

Luiselli, M 2008, 'Smiting the Enemies: an attempt to visualise cultural memory in Egypt?', Paper presented at Cultural Memory Seminar, 1/01/08.

Review article

Luiselli, MM 2011, 'E. Frood, Biographical Texts from Ramessid Egypt', Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 97, pp. 263-265.

View all publications in research portal