Universiteit Leiden

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Olaf Kaper

Professor of Egyptology

Prof.dr. O.E. Kaper
+31 71 527 2041

Olaf Kaper is a professor of Egyptology at Leiden University, specialized in the New Kingdom to Greek and Roman Periods. An expert in the fields of Egyptian religion, iconography and cultural history, he furthermore excavates in the Dakhleh Oasis.

More information about Olaf Kaper

Fields of interest

My fields of interest centre on Egypt from the New Kingdom to the Greek and Roman Periods, particularly in the fields of Egyptian religion, iconography, and cultural history. My particular specialisation is the study of the cultural history and the religious landscape of the Dakhleh Oasis. Based on extensive fieldwork since 1988 in five decorated temple sites, this study combines archaeological, textual, historical, religious and pictorial data to address questions of cultural change, particularly in Greco-Roman times.



  • PhD in Egyptology, University of Groningen (1997)
  • Doctoraal in de Egyptische taal en letterkunde, Leiden University (1988)
  • Kandidaat in de Egyptische taal en letterkunde, Leiden University (1984)

Employment, principal appointments

  • Full Professor of Egyptology, Leiden University (since 2005)
  • Directeur d'étude invité at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris (2005)
  • Lecturer in Egyptology, Leiden University (2003-2005)
  • Lecturer in Egyptology, Monash University, Melbourne (2001-2002)
  • Postdoc researcher for the Humboldt Foundation, Bonn, at the Humboldt University, Berlin (1999-2001)
  • Assistant Director for Egyptology, Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (1994-1996; 2003-2004)
  • PhD researcher, Catholic University of Louvain (1993-1994)
  • Visiting Lecturer, Monash University, Melbourne (1991-1992)
  • Egyptologist at the Netherlands Institute for Archaeology and Arabic Studies in Cairo (1989-1990)


I am currently working on the costume of the Egyptian kings, notably on the finds from the tomb of Tutankhamun.

In the news: We haven't finished with Tutankhamun's tomb yet

Key publications

See also: Publications 1987-2003 (pdf)

Authored monographs

The Egyptian God Tutu: A Study of the Sphinx-God and Master of Demons with a Corpus of Monuments, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 119, Peeters Publishers, Leuven 2003.

Temples and gods in Roman Dakhleh: Studies in the indigenous cults of an Egyptian oasis, PhD thesis Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, privately published 1997.

Edited volumes Broekman, G.P.F. & Demarée, R.J. & Kaper, O.E. (Eds.) (2009), The Libyan Period in Egypt: Historical and Cultural Studies into the 21st - 24th Dynasties.Proceedings of a Conference at Leiden University, 25-27 October 2007. Leiden/Leuven: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten / Peeters.

Life on the Fringe: Living in the Southern Egyptian Deserts during the Roman and early-Byzantine Periods: Proceedings of a colloquium held on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Netherlands Institute for Archaeology and Arabic Studies in Cairo, 9-12 December 1996, ed. by O.E. Kaper, CNWS Publications 71, Leiden 1998.


2010  A Governor of Dakhleh Oasis in the Early Middle Kingdom. In: Woods, A., McFarlane, A., Binder, S. (eds.), Egyptian Culture and Society, Studies in Honour of Naguib Kanawati, Volume I, Supplément aus annales du service des antiquités de l'Egypte 38, pp. 219-245. Cairo: Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt. Together with C.A. Hope

2010  Galba's Cartouches at Ain Birbiyeh. In: Lembke, K., Minas-Nerpel, M., Pfeiffer, S. (eds.), Tradition and Transformation: Egypt under Roman Rule (Culture and History of the Ancient Near East 41, pp. 181-201. Leiden and Boston: Brill.

2006  A Donation Stela in the Name of Takeloth III from Amheida, Dakhleh Oasis, Jaarbericht Ex Oriente Lux 39 (2006), pp. 19-37, together with R.J. Demarée.

2002  ‘Policing the Desert: Old Kingdom activity around the Dakhleh oasis’, together with H.O. Willems and with an appendix by M.A. McDonald, in: R. Friedman (eds), Egyptand Nubia: Gifts of the desert, London, pp. 79-94.

2002  ‘Queen Nefertari and the Frog: On an amphibious element in the vignette to BD 94’, The Bulletin of the Australian Centre for Egyptology 13, pp. 109-126.

2002  ‘Pharaonic-Style Decoration in the Mammisi at Ismant el-Kharab: New insights after the 1996-1997 field season’, in: C.A. Hope and G.E. Bowen (eds), Dakhleh Oasis Project: Preliminary reports of the 1994-1995 to 1998-1999 field seasons, Oxford and Oakville, pp. 217-223.

2001  ‘Local Perceptions of the Fertility of the Dakhleh Oasis in the Roman Period’ in: C.A. Marlow and A.J. Mills (eds), The Oasis Papers 1: The Proceedings of the First Conference of the Dakhleh Oasis Project, Dakhleh Oasis Project Monograph 6, Oxford, pp. 70-79.

1999  ‘Dipinti on the Temenos Wall at Deir el-Haggar (Dakhla Oasis)’, Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale du Caire 99, pp. 233-258, together with K.A. Worp.

1995  ‘The Astronomical Ceiling of Deir el-Haggar in the Dakhleh Oasis’, The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 81, p. 175-195.


  • Cultural history of the Greek and Roman Periods
  • Egyptian religion and religious texts
  • Egyptian archaeology
  • Ptolemaic hieroglyphs

Archaeological fieldwork in Egypt

  • Egyptologist/epigrapher of the Dakhleh Oasis Project, directed by A.J. Mills, 1988 to present
  • Director of the Kellis Mammisi Project, 2004 to present
  • Associate Director of the excavations of New York University at Amheida, directed by R.S Bagnall, 2005 to present

Selected administrative appointments and service to the profession

  • Head of the School of Middle Eastern Studies, Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), 2008-2014
  • Director of the Institute TCMO (Talen en Culturen van het Midden Oosten), 2006-2008
  • Member, Curatorium van het Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, Leiden, 2007 to present
  • Chair, Wetenschappelijke Adviesraad of the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo, 2008 to present
  • Head of the Department of Egyptology, Leiden University, 2005 to present
  • Adjunct Research Associate at Monash University, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Faculty of Arts, 2003 to present

Professor of Egyptology

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SMES Egyptologie



  • Geen relevante nevenwerkzaamheden
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