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Dr Leire Olabarria

Randall-MacIver Student in Egyptology/Archaeology


I am originally from Spain, where I studied for my undergraduate degree in History. In 2008 I came to Oxford to do an MPhil in Egyptology at Saint Cross College. I moved to Queen’s in 2010 to start a doctorate, which I submitted in October 2014. Since 2012 I have participated in the Dayr al-Barsha archaeological project in Middle Egypt. For the academic year 2015-16 I am a departmental lecturer in Egyptology to cover an absent member of permanent staff. I hold the Randall-MacIver Studentship in Archaeology at Queen’s.


I teach undergraduate and postgraduate courses on pharaonic history and civilisation, art and architecture, and material culture, and I give text classes in Late Egyptian. I currently supervise undergraduate and graduate dissertations on a variety of subjects.


My research interests include kinship and social structure, and the material culture of Egypt. I am particularly interested in theoretical and interdisciplinary approaches to ancient Egyptian culture, which I integrate with my fieldwork experience. I am currently excavating a First Intermediate Period to Middle Kingdom (2050-1650 BCE) cemetery at Dayr al-Barsha with burials of comparatively low-status social groups. These are located near the tombs of the local governors carved in the cliffs above. This case study demonstrates how the social hierarchy was embodied in the landscape and develops my doctoral work on material agency and social structure, which was based primarily on inscriptional and iconographic material.


El hermano de la madre y el hijo de la hermana en el Reino Medio, in L. M. de Araújo and J. C. Sales (eds) Novos trabalhos de egiptologia ibérica. IV congresso ibérico de egiptologia. IV congreso ibérico de egiptología, volume 2. 2012, 878–898.

Review of ‘Die sakrale Legitimation Sesostris’ I.: Kontaktphänomene in königsideologischen Texten’, by Eileen Hirsch (2008), Journal of the American Oriental Society 132 (4). 2012. 715–717.

When the land was milk and honey and the magic was strong and true’: Edward Said, ancient Egypt, and heavy metal, in K. Fletcher and O. Umurhan (eds) Heavy metal classics. Forthcoming.