Photo of Dr Silvia Zago

Dr Silvia Zago BA, MA, PhD, FHEA

Lecturer in Egyptology Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology


Research Overview

My research focuses on ancient Egyptian religious texts (especially funerary texts) as well as on related magic and ritual practices. More specifically, I am interested in concepts of the otherworld and their evolution over time and in cosmological and astronomical notions. I also study cultural geography and how it shaped the conceptualisation and use of the (sacred) landscape in which the ancient Egyptians lived.

Funerary Texts and Concepts of the Afterlife

Ancient Egyptian funerary texts provide a wide range of information not only about afterlife beliefs and customs, but also the ritual and magic practices, which were believed to be effective in this life and the next. Multifaceted and fascinating notions and images of the otherworld (Duat) existed side by side over time, which form the core of my research. I have published extensively on this topic, including my recent monograph 'A Journey through the Beyond: The Development of the Concept of Duat and Related Cosmological Notions in Egyptian Funerary Literature' (Lockwood Press, 2022). Link to the Publisher's webpage

Sacred landscape

Landscapes are physical spaces as much as they are culturally defined – and culturally specific – entities, which both generate and are shaped by human perception and experiences. The ancient Egyptians superimposed a quite complex net of symbolisms to the environment surrounding them. By integrating the study of the material/visible and the immaterial/invisible features of real and imaginary landscapes, I hope to achieve a more comprehensive picture of the engagement of the ancient Egyptians with the world in which they lived. This aspect of my research focuses specifically on the necropolis domain and its connection with the supernatural world.

Iconographic tradition in Ramesside tombs of Deir el-Medina

As a member of the mission of the Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale (IFAO) at Deir el-Medina, I am currently studying the iconographic tradition underpinning the decoration of the artisans' tombs in the Ramesside period, looking to trace interconnections with the contemporary royal and non-royal tombs of the Theban necropolis. Link to the IFAO Deir el-Medina mission webpage