Research projects

The mission of the Museo Egizio is to produce knowledge on the basis of research that fosters sustainability. The curatorial department is studying the collection and engaging in research projects.

Susanne Töpfer

Susanne Töpfer has been the curator responsible for the papyrus collection in the Museo Egizio since 2017. Graduating from Leipzig University in 2007, she subsequently obtained a PhD in Egyptology at Heidelberg University in 2013. Before joining the Museo Egizio, Susanne worked as a research assistant at the Egyptian Museum in Leipzig and on the ‘Book of the Dead Project’ at the University of Bonn (2007-2010). As a research and post-doctoral fellow at Heidelberg University (2010-2017) she edited various magical, lexical, and ritual texts from ancient Egypt and produced various publications on these topics.

Since 2017 she is among the editors of the journal Rivista and the series Studi del Museo Egizio. Susanne is lecturer at Pisa University (collaboration) since 2019 and occasinally lecturer at Turin University. From 2020 - 2022 she was among the members of ANVUR's Third Mission Evaluation Expert Group (VQR 2015-2019). 

Susanne's research projects

In her role as curator, Susanne coordinates the ‘Turin Papyrus Online Platform’ and research projects concerning Turin papyri; furthermore she manages the Turin section of the ‘Crossing Boundaries’ Project. Since the start of her studies in Egyptology, Susanne passions have been divided equally between the fields of papyrology, philology, and museology. Hieroglyphic and hieratic studies (with a focus on funerary and ritual texts in their social context) comprise her main research interests in the Turin collection, though she is also interested in the material features of ancient Egyptian scripts, from the New Kingdom through to Roman Egypt. Susanne is currently preparing the publication of several manuscripts from Tebtunis. 

Andrea Fanciulli

Andrea Fanciulli graduated in Egyptology from the Pontifical Biblical Institute and University of Rome 'La Sapienza'. He is currently enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Liège, supervised by Stéphane Polis, with a project entitled 'Picturing the king from Deir el-Medina: a Twentieth dynasty perspective'.

Andrea's research project

The aim of this PhD is to investigate how pictorial and written images of the king were constructed by the Deir el-Medina community during the Twentieth dynasty (1190–1076 BC). Although the tomb builders of Pharaoh were working for the king’s eternity, they could never interact directly with the king, who is a quite evanescent figure in the administrative texts from Deir el-Medina. The representatives of the State that actually visited the village were the vizier and the mayor of Thebes. Despite that, people of Deir el-Medina represented and described the Pharaoh on many occasions. Through the study of a variety of sources from Deir el-Medina, I propose to describe patterns of representation and of interaction.

As part of this study, I will produce a complete edition of selected texts from papyri collated in the Museo Egizio of Turin, namely the following four manuscripts: Cat.1892 + Cat.1886 + Cat.1893; CGT54038; Cat. 1965; CGT 54018 (only the Hymn). Along with other text types, these papyri contain some interesting hymns to the king, which should help to shed light on my research question.

Martina Landrino

Martina Landrino graduated from the University of Turin in 2018 with an M.A. in Archaeology and Ancient History (with a focus on Egyptology). She subsequently enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Leipzig, where Martina is working under the supervision of Hans-W. Fischer-Elfert, co-subervised by Ben Haring (Leiden). Her PhD project is entitled ‘The “Archive” of Ramesses IX: Administrative Documents Housed in the Museo Egizio.’

Martina's research project

The first aim of the project is the comprehensive publication of a selected group of papyri housed in the Museo Egizio. This corpus comprises roughly 30 papyri related to the administration of the village of Deir el-Medina, and which can be dated to the reign of Ramesses IX. These documents came to Turin in 1824 as part of the collection of Bernardino Drovetti. The papyri have received the attention of scholars ever since, Jaroslav Černy in particular. Nevertheless, there remains still a complete edition of the majority of the texts in this corpus. The project will also investigate the social context of of these papyri and their production. Its goal is to draw a clearer picture of the workmen’s life in Deir el-Medina, providing insights into the organisation of social and economic structures during the reign of Ramesses IX.

Letizia Loprieno

Letizia Loprieno graduated in Egyptology from the University of Pisa in 2022 and in 2023 enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Heidelberg. Her research project is entitled “The corpus of papyri containing ‘Books of Breathing and related texts’ in the Museo Egizio in Turin”, it is supervised by Joachim Friedrich Quack and co-supervised by Susanne Töpfer.

Letizias's research project

The first aim of this project is producing a complete edition of the manuscripts containing the ‘Books of Breathing’ stored in the Museo Egizio. The corpus comprises 22 unpublished papyri, dating to the Ptolemaic and Roman period (late 1st century BC – 2nd century AD). The ‘Books of Breathing’ are funerary texts which purpose is granting the deceased full access to the Afterlife and ensuring their eternal existence, thus allowing them to become part of Osiris’ followers. The use of the ‘Books of Breathings’ spread from the Ptolemaic period, alongside the Book of the Dead and other original compositions.

In addition to the in-depth study of the texts, the material aspects of the papyri will be also analysed, with a focus on their features of production. Furthermore, the owners of the documents will be investigated, in order to contextualise the papyri within the Turin collection, seeking connections with other objects, and to deepen the knowledge of the society of the time based on the owners.

Francesca Gaia Maiocchi

Francesca Gaia Maiocchi graduated from Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan in restoration of paper, parchment, archival book, photographic and digital artefacts. Since 2019 she is working on papyrus restoration, starting with an internship at the Leipzig University Library's restoration laboratories between 2019 and 2020. Subsequently, in 2021, she came into contact with the collection of the Museo Egizio in Turin, dealing with the restoration of six papyrus fragments dating between the New Kingdom and the Byzantine period as the subject of her thesis. Since 2023, under the supervision of Susanne Töpfer, she is involved in the conservation and restoration of papyri in the Museo Egizio.

Micòl Di Teodoro

After graduating from the University of Rome 'La Sapienza' with a thesis on the Middle Kingdom administrative institution ḫnrt wr, Micòl Di Teodoro obtained a PhD in Egyptian Archaeology from University College London (UCL) in 2015, under the guidance of Stephen Quirke and Richard Bussmann. Her dissertation was published in 2018 with the title Labour organisation in Middle Kingdom Egypt. Micòl did museum internships at the Archaeological Museum in Florence, and in London at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and the Department of Egypt and Sudan of the British Museum (papyri collection).

Micòl's research project

Micòl's three year project (2019-2022), funded by the Museo Egizio, is titled 'The transmission of literary knowledge on papyrus in Ramesside time. The Turin collection in focus'. The corpus of literary works of the Ramesside time includes copies of previous compositions that continued to be transmitted in Classic Egyptian, and new works in the 'colloquial' Late Egyptian. Production and re-production, innovation and canonisation coexist in the Ramesside literary production. The project seeks to explore what literary knowledge was transmitted on papyrus in the late New Kingdom, how, and the uses of literary texts. Special attention will be given to the manuscripts from Deir el-Medina as the written production circulating in that community may enable us to see how the selection process of time worked in texts transmission within a narrowly defined geographical and temporal context. The research focuses are the 'story' of the papyrus fragment and the texts written on it (e.g. phases of existence of the papyrus fragment, and the way in which multiple texts clustered on a document) and texts transmission (e.g. open VS closed transmission, production VS reproduction). Special case study are the Calendars of lucky and unlucky days, also called hemerologies, which assign good or ill omens to each day of the year.

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