Aurélia Masson-Berghoff

Project curator

Department: Greece and Rome 


+44 (0)20 7323 8501

Aurélia Masson-Berghoff joined the British Museum in 2012 as project curator of the Naukratis project, responsible for recording and analysing Egyptian material originating from the early excavations carried out at Naukratis. In 2015-2016, she is the lead curator for Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost World, the first British Museum large-scale exhibition of underwater discoveries showcasing the rediscoveries of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus in the bay of Abukir by Franck Goddio. She is currently reappraising the extensive archival documents and finds from a large-scale archaeological investigation led in the hinterland of Naukratis in 1977-1983

Aurélia gained her PhD from the University of Paris IV- Sorbonne in 2008 on the “Priests’ Quarter”, located within the temenos of Amun at Karnak. It examined the evolution of this settlement through the First Millennium BC, the identity and material culture of its inhabitants, as well as its relationships with the religious and architectural environment.

Aurélia’s research interests include settlements, especially those linked with the world of temples, the material culture of the First Millennium in Egypt (ceramic, seal impressions and other small finds), as well as cultural interactions and trade in the Ancient Mediterranean world. She has been involved in several projects in the Theban Region (various research programmes in the Temple of Karnak, Theban Harbours Project, Luxor Town Mound Project) and in Sesebi in Sudan.

Prior to joining the museum, Aurélia lectured at the University of Cambridge and participated as a post-doctoral fellow at the Université Libre de Bruxelles to a research programme on “Pottery in Ancient Societies: Production, distribution and uses”.

Current projects

Previous projects

Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost World, British Museum

Excavations and study of the Priests’ Quarter in Karnak, on the behalf of the CFEETK (Centre franco-égyptien.d’étude des temples de Karnak, CSA/USR3172 CNRS). Publication in progress.

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

  • Research Associate at the Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Research Associate at the University of Cambridge

Recent publications

A. Masson-Berghoff and M. Marée, Statues in contexts: production, meaning and (re)uses, Proceedings of the Annual Egyptology Colloquium at the British Museum, 13-14 July 2016 (forthcoming).

W.H.J. Toonen, A. Graham, B.T. Pennington, M.A. Hunter, K.D Strutt, D.S. Barker, A. Masson-Berghoff and V.L. Emery, ‘Holocene fluvial history of the Nile's west bank at ancient Thebes, Luxor, Egypt, and its relation with cultural dynamics and basin-wide hydroclimatic variability’, Geoarchaeology (2017), pp. 1-18.

F. Goddio and A. Masson-Berghoff, Sunken Cities: Egypt Lost Worlds, Catalogue for the British Museum exhibition (19 May-27 November), London (2016).

A. Meek, A. Bouquillon, P. Lehuédé, A. Masson, A. Villing, G. Pierrat-Bonnefois and V. Webb, ‘Discerning differences: Ion beam analysis of ancient faience from Naukratis and Rhodes’, Technè 43 (2016), pp. 95-101.

A. Masson, ‘Ptolemaic ceramics of the Theban Region between tradition, imitation and innovation: The Priests’ Quarter as a study case’, Cahier de la Céramique Égyptienne 10 (2016), pp. 149-164.

A. Masson, ‘Naukratis: Egyptian offerings in context’, in M. Bergeron and A. Masson (eds), Naukratis in Context II: Cults, Sanctuaries and Offerings. Proceedings of the Second Naukratis Project Workshop held at the British Museum, 22nd – 23rd June 2013 (forthcoming).

A. Graham, K. D. Strutt, W. H. J. Toonen, B. T. Pennington, D. Löwenborg, A. Masson-Berghoff, V. L. Emery, D. S. Barker, M. A. Hunter, K.-J. Lindholm and C. Johansson, ‘Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey, 2015’, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 101 (2015).

A. Masson, ‘Cult and Trade. A reflexion on Egyptian metal offerings from Naukratis’, in D. Robinson and F. Goddio (eds), Thonis Heracleion in context: The maritime economy of the Egyptian Late Period, Proceedings of the conference in the University of Oxford, 15-17 March 2013, Oxford (2015), 71-88.

A. Masson, ‘Interpréter le matériel grec et chypriote dans un contexte religieux et thébain: l’exemple du quartier des prêtres de Karnak – des consommateurs égyptiens de produits grecs et chypriotes’, in G. Gorre and A. Marangou (eds), La présence grecque dans la vallée de Thèbes, Rennes (2015), 25-43.

A. Masson, ‘Toward a New Interpretation of the Fire at North-Karnak? A Study of the Ceramic from the Building NKF35’, Cahiers de Karnak XV (2015), pp. 189–213.

K. D. Strutt, A. Graham, W. H. J. Toonen, B. T. Pennington, D. Löwenborg, V. L. Emery, D. S. Barker, M. A. Hunter, A. Masson and K. J. Lindholm, ‘Manipulating mud: (re)constructing cosmogonical landscapes in the Nile Valley, Thebes, Egypt’, Archaeologia Polona 53 (2015).

A. Masson, ‘Offering Magazines on the Southern Bank of the Sacred Lake in Karnak: The Oriental Complex of the Twenty-Fifth–Twenty-Sixth Dynasty’, E. Pischikova, J. Budka and K. Griffin (eds.), Thebes in the First Millennium BC, Cambridge (2014), pp. 587-602.

Alexandra Villing, Marianne Bergeron, Giorgos Bourogiannis, Alan Johnston, François Leclère, Aurélia Masson and Ross Thomas, Naukratis: Greeks in Egypt, British Museum Online Research Catalogue (2013-2015)

 A. Graham, K.D. Strutt, M. Hunter, S. Jones, A. Masson, M. Millet, B. Pennington, ‘Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey, 2012’, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 98 (2012), pp. 27–42.

A. Masson, ‘Domestic and Cultic Vessels from the Quarter of Priests in Karnak: The Fine Line between the Profane and the Sacred’, in B. Bader, M. Ownby (ed.), Functional Aspects of Egyptian Ceramics in their Archaeological Context, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 217 (2013), pp. 141-164.

A. Masson, M. Naguib & M. Shafey, ‘Overview of the Ceramic Productions from the Luxor Town Mound’, Bulletin de Liaison du Groupe International d’Étude de la Céramique Égyptienne 23 (2012), pp. 125-146.

A. Graham, K.D. Strutt, M. Hunter, S. Jones, A. Masson, M. Millet & B. Pennington, “Reconstructing Landscapes and Waterscapes in Thebes, Egypt”, eTopoi vol. 3 (2012), p. 135-142.

A. Masson, ‘Persian and Ptolemaic ceramics from Karnak: change and continuity’, Cahier de la Céramique Égyptienne 9 (2011), pp. 269-310.

K. Spence, P.J. Rose, R. Bradshaw, P. Collet, A. Hassan, J. MacGinnis, A. Masson & P. van Pelt, ‘Sesebi 2011’, Sudan & Nubia 15 (2011), pp. 34-38.

M. Millet & A. Masson, ‘Karnak: Settlements’, in W. Wendrich, J. Dieleman, E. Frood, J. Baines (eds.), UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology ( Los Angeles, 2011)

A. Masson, ‘Jarres au décor polychrome du Musée Pouchkine: manifestations originales de la tendance archaïsante des 25e-26e dynasties?’ , in D. Aston, B. Bader, C. Gallorini, P. Nicholson, S. Buckingham (eds.), Under the Potter's Tree - Studies on Ancient Egypt Presented to Janine Bourriau on the Occasion of her 70th Birthday, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 204 (2011), pp. 645-677.

L. Coulon & A. Masson, ‘Osiris Naref à Karnak’, in L. Coulon, Le culte d’Osiris au Ier millénaire av. J.-C. Découvertes et travaux récents, Actes de la table ronde internationale tenue à Lyon les 8 et 9 juillet 2005, Bibliothèque d’Étude 153 (2010), pp. 123-154.

A. Masson, ‘Un nouvel habitant de la rive est du lac Sacré à Karnak: le prophète du pieu sacré Pa sheri-n-aset’, Cahiers de Karnak XIII (2010), pp. 345-357.

A. Masson, ‘Study of the pottery from NKF35”, in S.-A. Ashton, A. Graham “Karnak Nord” (short report)’, Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale 109 (2009), pp. 581-583.

A. Masson, ‘Vivre à la porte du sacré: les maisons des prêtres dans le sanctuaire d’Amon’, Dossier d’Archéologie HS n°16 (2009), pp. 48-55.

A. Masson, ‘Amphore de Chios et amphore à anses de panier découvertes dans la maison VII du quartier des prêtres de Karnak sur le parvis du IVe pylône’, Cahier de la Céramique Egyptienne 8 (2007), pp. 361-367.

A. Masson, ‘Le quartier des prêtres du temple de Karnak: rapport préliminaire de la fouille de la maison VII, 2001-2003’, Cahiers de Karnak XII (2007), pp. 593-655.

A. Masson, ‘Scellé de la réserve incendiée du quartier des prêtres de Karnak: le vizir Psamétik-Méry-Neith’, Cahiers de Karnak XII (2007), pp. 657-658.

A. Masson & M. Millet, ‘Sondage sur le parvis du IVe pylône’, Cahiers de Karnak XII (2007), pp. 659-679.

A. Masson & M. Millet, ‘Foundation deposits of Thutmosis IV at Karnak’, Egyptian Archaeology 23 (2003), pp. 17-19.