Rune Nyord

Rune Nyord

Assistant Professor

Office: 128 Carlos Hall
Phone: 404-727-6285

Mailing Address:

Art History Department
Emory University
581 South Kilgo Circle NE
Atlanta, GA 30322

Curriculum Vitae



  • Ph.D., University of Copenhagen, 2010


Rune Nyord is Assistant Professor of Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology at Emory University. Before joining Emory in 2018, he held positions at the University of Copenhagen, University of Cambridge (Christ's College), and the Free University Berlin. His research focuses on conceptions and experiences of representation, ontology, and personhood in ancient Egypt, especially as evidenced in Middle Kingdom (Middle Bronze Age, early 2nd millennium BCE) funerary culture, and drawing on a combination of archaeological and textual sources.

Research Interests

  • Ancient Egyptian mortuary religion and funerary culture
  • Middle Kingdom
  • Personhood, conceptions of images, conceptions of the body, anthropological and cognitive approaches to ancient material culture and texts
  • History of interpretations of Egyptian religion, ancient Egyptian language, cross-cultural comparison of funerary practices

Selected Publications


Click here for a full list of books.

Breathing Flesh: Conceptions of the Body in the Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, CNI Publications no. 37, 2009.

Edited Volumes

Concepts in Middle Kingdom Funerary Culture. ed. Rune Nyord. Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2019. Culture and History of the Ancient Near East, Volume: 102.

Egyptology and Anthropology. Historiography, Theoretical Exchange and Conceptual Development: Proceedings of the Lady Wallis Budge Symposium held at the University of Cambridge, 25-26 July 2017. eds. Kathryn Howley and Rune Nyord. Tucson: University of Arizona, 2018. Special issue of the Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections, no. 17. Open Access at:

Lotus and Laurel. Studies in Egyptian Language and Religion in Honour of Paul John Frandsen. eds. Rune Nyord and Kim Ryhold. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, CNI Publications no. 39, 2015.

Being in Ancient Egypt. Thoughts on Agency, Materiality, and Cognition: Proceedings of the seminar held in Copenhagen, September 29-30 2006. eds. Rune Nyord and Annete Kjølby. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2009. British Archaeological Reports International Series, 2019.

Recent Articles and Book Chapters

‘Death before Time. Mythical Time in Ancient Egyptian Mortuary Religion’, in Mirrors of Passing: Unlocking the Mysteries of Death, Materiality, and Time. eds. Sophie Seebach and Rane Willerslev. New York–Oxford: Bergahn, 2018. pp. 57­­–73.

‘“Taking Ancient Egyptian Mortuary Religion Seriously?” Why Would We, and How Could We?’. Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 17 (2018). pp. 73–87.

(Kathryn Howley and Rune Nyord) ‘Editorial Introduction - Egyptology and Anthropology: Historiography, Theoretical Exchange, and Conceptual Development’. Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 17 (2018). pp. vi–ix.

‘Analogy and Metaphor in Ancient Medicine and the Ancient Egyptian Conceptualisation of Heat in the Body’, in The Comparable Body: Analogy and Metaphor in Ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Greco-Roman Medicine. ed. John Wee. Leiden: Brill, 2017. pp. 12–42.

‘“An Image of the Owner as he was on Earth”. Representation and Personhood in Middle Kingdom Funerary Images’, in Company of Images. Modelling the imaginary world of Middle Kingdom Egypt: Proceedings of the International Conference of the EPOCHS Project held 18th-20th September 2014 at UCL, London. eds. Gianluca Miniaci, Marilina Betrò, and Stephen Quirke. Leuven: Peeters, 2017, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 262. pp. 337–360.

Current Projects

Rune Nyord’s current book project examines the history of the Egyptological notion of the ancient Egyptian ‘quest for eternal life’. Arguing that important details of this framework stem more from 19th-century expectations than from ancient Egyptian sources, the book explores the possibility of deriving a alternative conceptual frameworks for understanding Egyptian mortuary religion from the ancient sources themselves. Related to this project, he is also editing a volume of symposium proceedings on Concepts in Middle Kingdom Funerary Culture to be published by Brill.