Jacquelyn Williamson

Jacquelyn Williamson

Jacquelyn Williamson

Associate Professor

Art History: Ancient Egypt, The Amarna Period, Gender and Women's Studies, Religion, Archaeology

Dr. Jacquelyn Williamson is an Egyptologist, with a special focus on gender and religious power. Her book, Nefertiti’s Sun Temple: A New Cult Complex at Tell el-Amarna, part of Brill’s Harvard Egyptology Series, was published in September 2016. She is involved in the ongoing investigation of Kom el-Nana at Tell el-Amarna in Egypt, the site of a sun temple associated with Queen Nefertiti, which is the subject of her first book. She has been a member of several archaeological missions in Egypt and has worked in many museums including the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the Harvard Semitic Museum, and has held teaching and research positions at UC Berkeley, Harvard University, and Brandeis University. Dr. Williamson teaches classes on the art and archaeology of the Ancient Mediterranean World.

Selected Publications

Book Manuscripts:

Nefertiti’s Sun Temple: A New Cult Complex at Tell el-Amarna, Harvard Egyptology Series (September 2016)

Refereed Journal Articles:

‘Power, Piety, and Gender in Context: Hatshepsut and Nefertiti,’ in: Women in Ancient Egypt: Revisiting Power, Agency, and Autonomy, edited by Mariam F. Ayad, Cairo and New York: AUC Press. Forthcoming 2022.

Amarna: Ancient Egypt’s City of the Sun. A Guide to the Archaeological Site of Amarna, American University in Cairo Press, edited by Anna Stevens, 2020, 170-174.

Catalogue entries for Toutankhamon À la Découverte du Pharaon Oublié 12/14/2019-5/31/2020, Europa Expo/Liège-Guillemins Station. Presses Universitaires de Liège. (in French), 2020.

‘Tell el-Amarna, autumn 2017 and spring 2018,’ co-authored with: Anna Stevens et al., Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 2019, paper publication pending, see permanent link: https://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/FBQY85QPJFW5KUWFP7US/full

‘Evidence for Innovation and Experimentation on the Akhenaten Colossi,’ Journal of Near Eastern Studies 78(1), 2019, 25-36.

 ‘Tell el-Amarna, 2017 Field Report,’ co-authored with: Gretchen R. Dabbs, Anna Garnett, Amandine Mérat, Anna Stevens, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 1-15, 2018.

 ‘Death and the Sun Temple: New Evidence for Private Mortuary Cults at Amarna’ Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 103(1), 2017, 117-123.

‘Alone before the God: Gender, Status, and Nefertiti’s Image’ Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 51, 2015, 179-192.

‘Two Names, One Compound: the rwd ʿnḫw ỉtn and the Sunshade of Re at Kom el-Nana’ Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 49, 2013, 143-152.

 ‘Hieroglyphic Inscriptions from Kom el-Nana: The rwd ʿnḫw itn and the Sunshade Temple Complex’  in M. Gabolde, R. Vergnieux, Les édifices du règne d’Amenhotep IV – Akhenaton Urbanisme et revolution; The Buildings from the Reign of Amenhotep IV –Akhenaten Urbanism and Revolution, Actes du colloques international organisé par Archéovison , Université Bordeaux 3, 18-19 Novembre 2011, CENiM (Cahiers de l’ENiM) 15, Montpellier, 2018, 225-233.

‘Carved Stone Fragments from Kom el-Nana and el-Mangara’ in B. Kemp, ‘Tell el-Amarna 2007-8’ Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 94, 2008, 59.

‘The sunshade of Nefertiti’ Egyptian Archaeology 33, 2008, 5-7.

 ‘Carved stone fragments from the excavations at Kom el-Nana’, in B. Kemp, ‘Tell el-Amarna 2006–07’ Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 93, 2007, 60.

Grants and Fellowships



2020                Nomination, George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award

2019                American Research Center in Egypt research and travel grant/fellowship

2018                Mathy Junior Faculty Award, Sabbatical Research Support, George Mason University

2017                Nelson Travel and Research award, George Mason University

2017                Highest Rated student core requirement course, George Mason University

2013-2014       Visiting Faculty and Research Associate, Harvard University, Women’s Studies in Religion and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

2012                Petrie Museum Grant, research at Kom el-Nana

2010-2012       American Council of Learned Societies/Mellon New Faculty Fellow

Post-Doctoral Fellow Faculty Lecturer, Near Eastern Studies, University of California Berkeley

2006                Singleton Research Fellow to the Villa Spelman, Florence, Italy

2004-2005       Fulbright Fellow, dissertation research grant in Egypt

2004-2005       American Research Center in Egypt Fellow (deferred)

2002                Dean’s Fellow, teaching excellence grant, Johns Hopkins University

1998-2009       Graduate Fellowship, Near Eastern Studies, Johns Hopkins University

Courses Taught

ARTH 200: Survey of Western Art, part 1

ARTH 318: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt

ARTH 319: Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East

ARTH 321: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Greece

ARTH 399 (temporary number): Ancient Nubia and the Black Pharaohs

Assorted advanced seminars for undergraduate and graduate students, including:

Ancient Egypt in the New Kingdom

Art and Identity in Antiquity

Gender, Sex, and Religion in Ancient Egypt

The Museum



PhD     2009    The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Dissertation Title: Reconstruction and Identity of Kom el-Nana at Tell el-Amarna: An Analysis of the decorated stone fragments from Kom el-Nana, and the role of the structures called “Sunshades of Re” in the Amarna Period


MA      2000    The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Major: Ancient Egyptian Languages/Egyptian Art and Archaeology

Minor: Ancient History/Art History (Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome) Thesis: Comparison of Narrative in Egypt, Greece, and Byzantium


BA       1995    Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY

Areas of Specialization: Ancient History and Art History


Undergraduate Credits 1993-1994 Wadham College, Oxford University, Oxford, England


Recent Presentations



2021    Podcast, “Female Pharaohs, parts 1 and 2,” July, August. American Research Center in Egypt Podcast Series. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/arce-podcast/id1525749141.

2021    “Excavations at Tell el-Amarna: A Window into Ancient Egypt.” Smithsonian Associates Weekend Seminar, April 10th 2021

2021    “Finding Gender in Egyptian Mortuary Ritual: Agency, Individuality, and Choice.” A panel conversation with Mariam Ayad, Women’s Studies in Religion, Harvard University. March 10th 2021

2020    “Sun Temples, Nefertiti, and the Afterlife at Tell el-Amarna,” Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK. The Egyptian World Seminar Series November 4 2020

2020    “Beyond The Fifth Dynasty: solar cults,” Bloomsbury School, London, UK. July 25th 2020

2020    “Ancient Egypt Through its Art, Architecture, and Archaeology” Smithsonian Associates, Weekend Seminar, S. Dillon Ripley Center, February 8, 2020

2020    “New Discoveries at Kom el-Nana,” ARCE local DC chapter, BASONOVA funded, March 15. (Cancelled due to Covid-19)

2020    “Excavations at Tell el-Amarna: A Window into Ancient Egypt” Smithsonian Associates, Weekend Seminar, S. Dillon Ripley Center, June 20 2020 (postponed due to Covid-19)

2019    “Agency and the Individual,” Women in Ancient Egypt: Current Research and

Historical Trends Conference, The American University in Cairo, Egypt. October

31st-November 2nd.

2018    “The Queen’s Sunshade,” Queens of Ancient Egypt: Symposium of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, Canada, November 1.

2018    “Egypt’s A-List: Power, Empire, and Propaganda,” Smithsonian Associates, Weekend Seminar, S. Dillon Ripley Center, October 27.

2018    “Kom el-Nana and Nefertiti” Local Outreach Lecture Series, Visitor’s Center, Tell el-Amarna, Egypt, April 19.

2018    “New Discoveries at Kom el-Nana” Research Reflections Lecture Series, Fenwick Library, George Mason University, February 21.

2017    “From Rome to Hollywood: The Imaginary Cleopatra and Sexual Anxiety,”

            Folger Shakespeare Library, November 17.

2017    “Queen Nefertiti: Life after Death at Tell el-Amarna,” Denver Egyptian Study Society, June 19th.

2017    “Gender, Power, and Nefertiti’s Image,” Key Speaker, Fundraising Event, American Research Center in Egypt, DC Chapter. May 6th.

2016    “Queen Nefertiti: Life after Death at Tell el-Amarna,” The Henry T. Rowell Lecture, The Johns Hopkins University and the American Institute of Archaeology Baltimore. October 14th.

2015    “Alone Before the God: Gender, Status, and Nefertiti’s Image,” The British Museum, London, England. April 9th.

2015    “Death and the Sunshade of Re: New Evidence for Private Mortuary Cults in the Amarna Period.” Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London, England. April 10th.

2014    “Queen Nefertiti and Mortuary Practices at Tell el-Amarna.” Brown University and the New England Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt, Rhode Island, October 16th.

2014    “The Lost Temple of Nefertiti: Sex and Death.” Harvard University Semitic Museum, Cambridge, MA. February 4th.

2013    “New Discoveries at Kom el-Nana: Funerary Aspects of the Sunshade of Nefertiti.” Ägyptisches Museum, Berlin, December 3rd.

2013    “A Sex Goddess and a Queen: Nefertiti’s Lost Temple” Harvard

Divinity School, Cambridge, MA. November 12th.

2012    Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, Study Day, London

subjects included discoveries at Kom el-Nana and work on the traditional nature

of Pharaoh Akhenaten’s kingship. July 20th.

2012    “Revolution or Redefinition: The Role of Tradition in the Reign of Akhenaten.” American Research Center in Egypt North California Chapter, CA, April 22.

2012    “Queen Nefertiti’s Lost Sun Temple and the Role of Royal Women at Tell

el-Amarna.” American Institute of Archaeology Society Function, San Francisco, CA, January 29th.

2011   “The Discovery and Reconstruction of the Sun Temple of Nefertiti.” Specialist Amarna conference: “The Buildings from the Reign of Amenhotep IV-Akhenaten (urbanism and renewal)” The Centre de Ressources Numériques 3D ARCHEOVISION Université Bordeaux, as part of the ANR ATON3D and the research unit Égypte nilotique et méditerranéenne of the Centre dʼégyptologie François Daumas —  Université Paul Valéry – Montpellier III, November 18-20.

2011    “Queen Nefertiti’s ‘Lost’ Sun Temple: Royal Women and their Role in the

Reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten.” California Museum of Ancient Art, Los Angeles, CA June 6th.

2011    “Report on progress and discoveries of the Talatat Project in Luxor, Egypt.” Orange County Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt, Orange County, CA. December 3rd.

2010    “Akhenaten: Revolution or Redefinition? The Influence of Tradition on the ‘Heretic’ Pharaoh and the Amarna Period.” Memory and Identity series, University of California, Berkeley, December 7th.

2010    “The Sunshade of Nefertiti and the Rewed Ankhew: New Discoveries.” Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, June 10th.

2009    “Recent Discoveries at Kom el-Nana.” Mummification Museum, Luxor, Egypt, March 22nd.       

2006    “The motif of the Body Cartouche as Indicator of Intercession.” Villa Spelman, Florence, Italy, May 11th.


In the Media

Podcast, “Female Pharaohs, parts 1 and 2,” July, August, 2021 American Research Center in Egypt Podcast Series. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/arce-podcast/id1525749141


Cleopatra and Fake News: How ancient Roman political needs created a mythic temptress. Shakespeare and Beyond Blog, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC.



The Disappearing Sun Temple of Nefertiti








Katie Nodjimbadem, “Pyramid Scheme: The Secrets of the Shine,”

                        Smithsonian Magazine, October 2015, 36.


Appearance, Blink Films/Smithsonian Channel “Secrets:” Re: the Great Pyramid. (UK series title “Treasures Decoded”)

  1. producer Naomi Zola


Appearance, Blink Films/Smithsonian Channel “Secrets:” Re: Nefertiti. (UK series title “Treasures Decoded”)

  1. producer Julia Mair.


Appearance, Discovery Channel. “Josh Bernstein: Into the Unknown.” Re: Tell el-Amarna

  1. producer Darlow, Smithson Productions.


Appearance, BBC2. “Egypt- Lost City.” Re: Tell el-Amarna. 2007. Producer John Hayes-Fischer.



General Information on Kom el-Nana:


Specific Information on some of my work (summary):