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.

Seeing Perfection: Ancient Egyptian Images beyond Representation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

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

“Texts for healing and protection”, in The Oxford Handbook of Egyptology, eds. I. Shaw and E. Bloxam. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2020), pp. 1039–1052.

“The Nile in the Hippopotamus: Being and becoming in faience figurines of Middle Kingdom Egypt”, in Images in the Making: Art, Process, Archaeology, eds. A.M. Jones and I.-M. Back Danielsson. Manchester: Manchester University Press (2020), pp. 19–33.

“Experiencing the dead in ancient Egyptian healing texts”, in Cultural Systems of Classification: Sickness, Health and Local Epistemologies, ed. U. Steinert. London and New York: Routledge (2020), pp. 84–106.

“Servant figurines from Egyptian tombs: Whom did they depict, and how did they work?”, Ancient Near East Today 8/2 (2020).

“Introduction: Egyptian and Egyptological concepts”, in Concepts in Middle Kingdom Funerary Culture: Proceedings of the Lady Wallis Budge Anniversary Symposium Held at Christ’s College, Cambridge, 22 January 2016, ed. R. Nyord. Leiden & Boston: Brill (2019), pp. 1–23.

“The concept of ka between Egyptian and Egyptological frameworks”, in Concepts in Middle Kingdom Funerary Culture: Proceedings of the Lady Wallis Budge Anniversary Symposium Held at Christ’s College, Cambridge, 22 January 2016, ed. R. Nyord. Leiden & Boston: Brill (2019), pp. 150–203.

“The divine beard in ancient Egyptian religious texts’, in Barbe et barbus: Symbolique, rites et pratiques du port de la barbe dans le Proche-Orient ancient et modern, eds. Y. Volokhine, B. Fudge, and T. Herzog. Peter Lang: Bern and Berlin (2019), pp. 47–58.

“Verden i en skål: Bemalet fajance fra det Ny Rige” [The world in a bowl: Painted faience from the New Kingdom], Papyrus: Ægyptologisk Tidsskrift 39/2 (2019), pp. 24–31.

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 an alternative conceptual frameworks for understanding Egyptian mortuary religion from the ancient sources themselves.