Richard Parkinson

Former Assistant Keeper,

Ancient Egyptian pharaonic culture

Department: Ancient Egypt and


External profiles

Richard Parkinson joined the Museum in 1991 and was the curator responsible for the care, research, publication and display of the collection’s papyri, as well as hieratic and hieroglyphic texts, inscribed materials including the Rosetta Stone, and the Nebamun wall-paintings. He supervised the department’s archival material and epigraphy, and was responsible for university liaison and access to the department’s collections. In 2013, he left the Museum to become Professor of Egyptology at the University of Oxford, but remains in close contact with the department.

Parkinson’s research interests centre on the interpretation of ancient Egyptian literature, especially the poetry of the classic age (1940-1640 BC). As well the philological editing of manuscripts, he works on material contexts, actors’ perspectives, and literary theory (‘new historicist’ and ‘material philology’ practices). He is interested in literary texts as a means for a ‘subaltern’ history, and in issues of performance practice, cultural power, and sexuality in Egyptian culture.

Current projects

Previous projects

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

  • Visiting lecturer, University of Goettingen, University of Koln
  • Honorary doctorate, New Bulgarian University, Sofia

Recent publications

R. B. Parkinson and L. Baylis: Four 12th Dynasty Literary Papyri (Pap. Berlin P. 3022-5): A Photographic Record (Berlin: Akademie Verlag 2012).

R. B. Parkinson, The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant: A Reader’s Commentary (Lingua Aegyptia Studia Monographica 10; Hamburg: Widmaier Verlag 2012).

R. B. Parkinson, The Ramesseum Papyri. (Online Research Catalogue 2012)

R. B. Parkinson, Reading Ancient Egyptian Poetry: Among Other Histories (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell 2009)

R. Parkinson, The Painted Tomb-chapel of Nebamun (London, and Cairo, British Musuem Press and American University Press in Cairo 2009)

R. B. Parkinson, The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant (Oxford, Griffith Institute 2006 [1st ed. 1991])

R. Parkinson, The Rosetta Stone (British Museum Objects in Focus series; British Museum Press 2005)

R. B. Parkinson, Poetry and Culture in Middle Kingdom Egypt: A Dark Side to Perfection (Athlone Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies; London and New York, Continuum Press 2002; paperback edition in press: Equinox publishing)

R. B. Parkinson, The Tale of Sinuhe and other Ancient Egyptian Poems 1940-1640 bc. (Oxford Worlds classics; Oxford, Oxford University Press 1999[1997]) [Awarded the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Literary Award by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies: 1998]

R. B. Parkinson, Cracking Codes: The Rosetta Stone and Decipherment (London: British Museum Press, University of California Press 1999)