I studied Egyptology, Classical Archaeology and Near Eastern Archaeology at the Universities of Heidelberg (Germany) and Leiden (The Netherlands). I became field director at the excavations on Elephantine Island when I was 23 and Research Fellow in a philological research project on Mortuary Liturgies with Jan Assmann four years later. After my PhD I became Assistant Professor at the University of Basel (Switzerland) before I arrived at Birmingham in 2006. I had visiting appointments at the Universities of Heidelberg, Basel, Rome, Venice and Sheffield.
I am Reader in Egyptology, Curator of the Eton Myers Collection of Ancient Egyptian Art at the University of Birmingham, and Director of the Qubbet el-Hawa Research Project in Aswan, Egypt. Since 2013 I am the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology (JEA). In 2016-17 I was a Research Fellow at The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA.
I am currently working on the latest of what I call coffin books, glorification spells which are turned into funerary literature when they are written on sarcophagi. The sarcophagus of Ankhhapi in the Cairo Museum (CG 29301) owns 56 of these spells which, if read in the anticipated order, make a funerary, or: coffin book. Other projects include The Ritual of Opening of the Mouth according to an unpublished papyrus and a book on Isis in the Mediterranean in English. A research focus on First Intermediate Period cemeteries and several unpublished texts are what I keep myself busy with. Among more recent publications are Das Alte Ägypten, Darmstadt (2012, currently translated into Arabic and English) two edited volumes in the series Cultural Memory and History in Antiquity (2011 and 2012) and Das ägyptische Investiturritual (Oxford 2013).