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Personal profile


Alexandra Woods is a senior lecturer and Digital Art Historian in the Department of Ancient History, Faculty of Arts. She studied Egyptology and Ancient History at Macquarie University (2001-2003), and completed an Honours degree in Egyptology (2004) before undertaking doctoral studies at Macquarie (2005-2008) based on an interpictorial analysis of Old Kingdom elite tomb imagery. At Macquarie University Alex now teaches Egyptology with a focus on Egyptian archaeology and visual culture studies.


Research | See Alex's Profile on Academia.edu

Alex's research focuses on the study of visual culture in ancient Egyptian temple and tomb environments, particularly during the Old to Middle Kingdom (Dynasties 3-13, c. 2686 – 1650 BCE). Alex studies:

  1. the context, function, iconographical and iconological significance of the tomb and temple imagery;
  2. artisan practices behind the portrayals to understand how the images were constructed and created within the limitations imposed by function, decorum and tradition and;
  3. archival practices of early Western and European exploration and documention of Egypt's antiquity through a post-colonial lens;
  4. How past graphical material is drawn upon in periods of state reformation.


Alex is principal supervisor to the following students:

  • John Burke – The False Door in Old Kingdom Egypt: Form, Function and Evolution. PhD. 
  • Susan Kelly – Following the Female Footprint: The Social Construction of Women in Early Egypt. PhD. 

Recent completions:

  • Nicolle Leary – Natural Selection: Examination of Animal Figures and the Canon of Proportions in Old and Middle Kingdom wall scenes. PhD. 2019.
  • Alexander Devenport – 'Be A Man': Masculinity and the Intersection of Gender and Class: Eighteenth Dynasty Non-Royal Men and their Artistic Representation. MRes. 2017.
  • John Burke – The Tomb Owner at the Offering Table: A Pilot Study on applying Statistical Analysis to Dating Old Kingdom Memphite Tombs. MRes 2015.
  • Nicolle Leary – Walk on the Wild Side: Animal figures and the canon of proportion in Middle Kingdom wall scenes at Meir. MRes 2014.

Learning and Teaching

Alex is the academic lead for the student led of the Beni Hassan Research Group and convenor of the following units in the Major in Ancient History - Egypt and the Near East:

  • AHIS1250: Egyptian Archaeology - An Introduction
  • AHIS2250: Ancient Egyptian Culture and Society
  • AHIS2251: Ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern Art: Theory and Practice


  • Faculty of Arts Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning: For expertise in implementing active-learning approaches through developing and delivering a multi-media integrated flipped classroom unit to enhance student engagement and independent learning. Alexandra Woods, Ellen Ryan and Eve Guerry. 

External Appointments

  • Visiting lecturer, Department of Art History, Emory University, Fall Semester, 2010.

Archaeological Fieldwork

Since 2003 Alexandra has been involved in archaeological fieldwork in Egypt an epigrapher at a number of sites including Saqqara, Deir el-Gebrawi, Meir, Tehna and most recently Beni Hassan.

Grants Awarded

  • 2016-2018: Australian Research Council Discovery-Project Grant - 'Measuring Meaning in Egyptian Art: A new approach to an intractable problem'. In collaboration with N. Kanawati, L. Evans and J. Kamrin (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
  • 2015: Macquarie University Learning and Teaching Delivery Grant - 'Mediating Student Learning: Archaeology and Social Media in the 21st century: A Case study on AHIS170: Egyptian Archaeology - An Introduction.' In collaboration with P. Keegan, P. Vlachopoulos, O. Coady, M. Rampe.
  • 2011-2014: Australian Research Council Discovery-Project Grant - 'Immortal Egypt: Cultural Tradition and Transition during the First Intermediate Period at Meir'. In collaboration with N. Kanawati, L. Evans and G. Robins (Emory University).
  • 2011-2013: Macquarie University Research Development Grant - 'Civil War and its Aftermath: Interpreting the Egyptian Middle Kingdom Art and Inscriptions in the Tomb of Khnumhotep II at Beni Hassan'. In collaboration with N. Kanawati and D. Gore.
  • 2011: Macquarie University Systems Infrastructure Scheme - 'The Macquarie University Archaeological Fieldwork Laboratory'.  In collaboration with S. Lieu (CI) and Ancient History Staff.
  • 2010: CORE Start-up Grant - 'Teaching and Research Collaboration: Visiting Faculty: Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.'
  • 2008-2009: Macquarie University New Staff Grant - 'Egyptian Art at its Peak: The Case of Beni Hassan'.
  • 2005-2008: Australian Postgraduate Research Award, Macquarie University.


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Research Outputs

'Art', aesthetics and the functioning image in ancient Egyptian elite tombs

Woods, A. & Leary, N., 2017, Death is only the beginning: Egyptian funerary customs at the Macquarie Museum of Ancient Cultures. Tristant, Y. & Ryan, E. M. (eds.). Oxford: Aris and Phillips, p. 74-83 9 p. (The Australian Centre for Egyptology Studies; vol. 11).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Further Evidence that Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were twins

Evans, L. & Woods, A., 2016, In : Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. 102, 1, p. 55-72 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Relief

    Woods, A., 2015, A Companion to Ancient Egyptian Art. Hartwig, M. K. (ed.). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, Wiley, p. 219-248 30 p. (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Chronological considerations: fragments from the Tomb of Hetepet at Giza

    Woods, A. & Swinton, J., 2013, In : Bulletin of the Australian Centre for Egyptology. 24, p. 127-158 32 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Grand. Simple. Tasteful. Exploration and Documentation of the Necropolis at Beni Hassan by the Royal Prussian Expedition to Egypt (1843)

    Woods, A., 2019, (Accepted/In press) Contextualising the Weidenbach Diary: studies on the Prussian Expedition to Egypt 1842-1845. Binder, S. (ed.). 10 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Faculty of Arts Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning

    Alex Woods (Recipient), Ellen Ryan (Recipient) & Eve Guerry (Recipient), 1 Jun 2016


  • Activities

    • 3 Oral presentation
    • 2 Organising a conference, workshop, ...
    • 1 Participating in a conference, workshop, ...

    Egyptology Workshop

    Karin Sowada (Participant), Alexandra Woods (Organiser)
    28 Feb 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising a conference, workshop, ...

    Macquarie University Ancient History Research Seminar

    Alex Woods (Chair)
    18 Aug 201830 Oct 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising a conference, workshop, ...

    Grand. Simple. Tasteful.: Max Weidenbach and the Tombs at Beni Hassan

    Alexandra Woods (Speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

    The Australasian Egyptology Conference (3rd : 2014)

    Alex Woods (Participant)
    16 Jul 201418 Jul 2014

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipating in a conference, workshop, ...

    Archaism and innovation: tomb decoration in the Middle Kingdom

    Alexandra Woods (Speaker)
    23 Jul 2011

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

    Press / Media

    New pyramid remains discovered south of Cairo

    Alex Woods


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    New 'void' discovered in the Great Pyramid at Giza

    Alex Woods


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    A lost tomb and an excited Aussie researcher

    Alex Woods


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment