Dr Henry Bishop-Wright
I joined Cardiff University in March 2023 as a Research Associate based in the Department of Archaeology (School of History, Archaeology and Religion). I work with Professor Paul Nicholson to reassess the chronology of the Sacred Animal Necropolis at Saqqara (Egypt). This project – ‘Dating the Dead: Chronology and Context at Saqqara’s Sacred Animal Necropolis’ – and my position are funded by the Leverhulme Trust. During periods of annual leave, I will be on excavation in Sudan.
For the period May 2022 - February 2023, I was a Project Curator at the British Museum (Department of Middle East) where I co-curated the 'Luxury and power: Persia to Greece' exhibition (British Museum, 2023).
My PhD (Exeter, 2021) examined the chronology and material connections of the Kingdom of Meroë (c.300 BC – AD 350), in what is now Sudan. Using the unpublished records of Francis Llewellyn Griffith’s (1862-1934) excavation of the Meroitic cemetery at Faras (northern Sudan), I proposed a new chronology for the northern Meroitic kingdom. This project was supervised by Dr Robert Morkot (Exeter) and Prof. Paul Nicholson (Cardiff). It was supported by The Griffith Institute (University of Oxford) and funded by the AHRC SWWDTP. A summary of my doctoral research is available here.
Broadly, my interests include Meroitic Sudan, Ptolemaic-Roman Egypt, the Hellenistic period, and ancient glassware. I also have an interest in the theoretical aspects of archaeological research; namely, questions of identity, frontier exchange and cross-cultural interaction.
I am a specialist in the archaeology of Meroitic Sudan (c. 300 BC - AD 350) and Ptolemaic-Roman Egypt. I also have expertise in the eastern Mediterranean c. 323-30 BC (the 'Hellenistic period') and ancient glassware. Broadly, my research falls into the following areas:
- The Kingdom of Meroë (pronounced 'Meh-row-ay') and, generally, the archaeology of Sudan.
- Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt (c. 323 BC - AD 300).
- Alexander III ('the Great') and the Hellenistic world.
- Hellenistic-Roman material culture, particularly glassware.
- Archaeological theory, particularly that concerning identity, frontier exchange, and cross-cultural interaction.
I am currently preparing the publication of my PhD thesis 'Chronology and Connectivity at Meroitic Faras' as a monograph for the series British Museum Publications on Egypt and Sudan (Peeters) and, since 2019, have published academic papers, chapters and minor media notes as follows:
Publications (journal articles and chapters):
- Bishop-Wright, H.C. 2023. ‘Power, prestige and luxury in the age of Alexander’. In: J. Fraser., L. Llewellyn-Jones., and H.C. Bishop-Wright. Luxury and power: Persia to Greece. British Museum Press. 156-213.
- Bishop-Wright, H.C. 2022. 'Dying for a Drink on the Meroitic Frontier: imported objects in funerary assemblages at Faras, Sudanese Nubia'. Mare Nostrum: Estudos sobre o Mediterrâneo Antigo, vol. 13, no. 1. 87-121.
- Francigny, V., and H.C. Bishop-Wright. 2022. ‘Beyond the Roman world: a decorated glass plate in Sudanese Nubia’. Journal of Glass Studies, Vol. 64. 59-73.
- Bishop-Wright, H.C. 2019. ‘Reconsidering the Lower Nubian “Wine-Presses” and their Leonine Spouts’. Sudan & Nubia, No. 23. 158-168.
- Bishop-Wright, H.C. In Press. ‘Glass vessels from the Meroitic cemetery at Faras, Sudanese Nubia’. Annals of the 22nd Congress of the International Association for the History of Glass.
- Bishop-Wright, H.C. In Press. ‘Across Rome’s Southern Frontier: the Meroitic cemetery of Faras in Sudanese Nubia’. Proceedings of the XXV International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies, Nijmegen, 21.08.2022 - 27.08.2022.
Publications (popular notes):
- Bishop-Wright, H.C. 2022. ‘Elephants from Meroë’. Middle East Newsletter, Issue 7. British Museum Press. 32-33.
- Bishop-Wright, H.C. 2023. ‘The Politics of Opulence’. British Museum Magazine Spring 2023, Issue 105. British Museum Press. 26-29.
- Bishop-Wright, H.C. In Press. ‘The Power of Presents’. ARGO, A Hellenic Review, no. 17. Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. 18-23.
As a Research Associate, I do not have any teaching responsibilities and cannot formally supervise students. However, I would welcome discussion with any student interested in my areas of research, particularly the Meroitic archaeology of present-day Sudan.
Research Associate, Cardiff University (March 2023 - present). Working to reassess the chronology of the Sacred Animal Necropolis at North Saqqara, as part of Prof. Paul Nicholson’s 'Dating the Dead: Chronology and Context at Saqqara’s Sacred Animal Necropolis' project. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust.
Project Curator, British Museum Department of Middle East (May 2022 - February 2023). Co-curating, with Dr James Fraser, the 'Luxury and power: Persia to Greece' exhibition, opening 4 May 2023.
Archival Intern, British School at Athens (January 2022 - March 2022). Working to catalogue the paperwork from Winifred Lamb's excavation of Bronze Age Thermi (1929-33; Lesbos, Greece).
PhD Candidate, University of Exeter (September 2018 - October 2021). I produced a thesis entitled 'Chronology and Connectivity at Meroitic Faras' and was awarded my doctorate (Classics and Ancient History) in November 2021. I was supervised by Dr Robert Morkot (Exeter) and Prof. Paul Nicholson (Cardiff). My PhD was funded by the AHRC ‘South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership’ and benefited from generous collaboration with the Griffith Institute (University of Oxford).
English Teacher, Sudan (January - March 2018). Volunteering for the ‘Sudan Volunteer Programme’, I spent three months in Sudan and visited most of its major archaeological sites.
Field Archaeologist, Archaeology South-East UCL (August 2017 - January 2018). I returned to commercial archaeology for short intervals at various points between 2018 and 2021, amounting to some 12 months’ full-time experience in UK field archaeology.
Post-graduate student residency, British School at Rome (April – May 2017). During my MA at Exeter, I spent two months living in Rome enrolled on the BSR’s ‘City of Rome’ post-graduate course.
MA Classics and Ancient History, University of Exeter (September 2016 - September 2017).
BA Ancient History, University of Exeter (September 2013 – July 2016)
Honours and awards
AHRC SWWDTP PhD Studentship (2018-21)
Member of the Sudan Archaeological Research Society.
Member of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.
Member of the Classics Association.
2022-23: Project Curator, Department of Middle East, British Museum.
10.06.23: ‘Beyond Egypt’s Southern Frontier: Lower Nubia and the Kingdom of Meroë’. Thames Valley Ancient Egypt Society, SARS Study Day.
13.05.23: ‘Reassessing Griffith’s work at Meroitic Faras: chronology and its implications on Lower Nubia in the final centuries BC’. Sudan Archaeological Research Society Annual Colloquium.
10.05.23: ‘Objects, change and academic dogma beyond Rome’s southern frontier: the case of Meroitic Faras’. University of Exeter, Classics and Ancient History Research Seminar.
20.02.23: ‘Chronology on the Meroitic Frontier’. British Museum Department of Egypt and Sudan, Lunchtime Lecture Series.
25.01.23: ‘Interconnections on the Meroitic Frontier: Griffith’s work at Faras and the legacy of early-20th-century archaeology in Sudan’. University of Cambridge, Egyptian World Seminar Series.
24.08.22: ‘Across the Southern Frontier: Roman objects in Meroitic graves at Faras, Sudanese Nubia’. LIMES Congress XXV, Nijmegen.
15.07.22: ‘Meroitic North and South’. Bloomsbury Summer School. Greater Nubia: exploring the land and archaeology of the Middle Nile Valley.
16.11.21: . ‘What about Meroë? Roman glassware and gaming across Egypt’s Southern Frontier’. Roman Finds Group. Zoom in on Roman Finds: artefacts from Roman and Late Antique Egypt and Sudan.
13.09.21: ‘Glass vessels from the Meroitic cemetery at Faras, Sudanese Nubia’. 22nd Congress of the Association International pour l'Histoire du Verre & ICOM Glass Annual Meeting 2021.
I am not currently available to supervise students, but see comment under ‘Teaching’.
- Meroe and the archaeology of Sudan
- Late Period - Roman Egypt