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PhD Studentship in Archaeology: Children in the afterlife: the mummification and funerary treatment of non-adults in ancient Egypt

University of Reading. Application deadline: 19th May 2023.

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Project title: Children in the afterlife: the mummification and funerary treatment of non-adults in ancient Egypt

Department/School: Archaeology/SAGES

Supervisors: Prof Mary Lewis, Dr Daniel Antoine (British Museum), Prof Hella Eckardt, Dr Marie Vandenbeusch (British Museum)

Project Overview:

The University of Reading and the British Museum (BM) are pleased to announce a fully funded Collaborative doctoral studentship under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme. Mummification evolved over thousands of years and was used by the ancient Egyptians to preserve bodies for the afterlife. Mummified remains from Pharaonic Egypt (c. 3000-332 BC) are mostly of elite adults, but Egypt's integration into the Roman Empire (30 BC-AD 395) marked a shift in mortuary traditions, with a greater number of child mummies recovered throughout the country.

The paucity of mummified children from the Pharaonic period is often seen as evidence that they were at the edge of society, while attitudes appear to have changed under the Romans. Our uncertainty about the social and funerary status of children in Egypt stems from limited research on the child mummies themselves, and a lack of a comprehensive comparative dataset.

This project involves direct analysis of c. 50 child mummies held at the British Museum using Computerised Tomography (CT) scanning, with data compared to non-adult skeletal remains, and published data and CT-scans of mummified adults and children held elsewhere. The age, sex and health of the children will be combined with funerary evidence for items such as amulets to understand the transition of attitudes towards children in life and death in ancient Egypt.


We welcome students from different backgrounds to apply, in particular applications from individuals from BAME backgrounds.
Applicants should have or expect to receive a relevant Masters-level qualification, or equivalent experience in a professional setting in disciplines such as bioarchaeology, archaeological science, osteology, anthropology or Egyptology.
This studentship is open to both Home and International applicants. International students will have to pay the difference in tuition fees.

Funding Details:

Starts October 2023
AHRC CDP doctoral training grants fund full-time studentships for 45 months (3.75 years) or part-time equivalent.
The studentship covers

(i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (currently £17,668, based on 2022/23),
(ii) a ‘London’ allowance of £1000/year,
(iii) a travel and research expenses grant from the British Museum of up to £1500/year,
(iv) a CPD maintenance payment of £550 per year,
(v) UK tuition fees.

How to apply:

To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in Archaeology at

Please quote the reference ‘GS23-034’ in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding Section of your on-line application.
When you are prompted to upload a research proposal, please insert the title of the Project and continue with the application.

Application Deadline: 19 May 2023

Further Enquiries:

Please note that, where a candidate is successful in being awarded funding, this will be confirmed via a formal studentship award letter; this will be provided separately from any Offer of Admission and will be subject to standard checks for eligibility and other criteria.

For further details please contact Prof. Mary Lewis email:


  • Anthropology
  • Anthropology, Primatology
  • Archaeology