Alex Woods



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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. Alex is the academic lead of the Beni Hassan Research Group, comprised of academic staff, doctoral candidates and undergraduate students. The group aims to develop employability skills in Ancient History students and enable active, authentic and collaborative engagement with research undertaken at Macquarie University. 


Research | See Alex's Profile on

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. evaluation of archival practices of early Western and European exploration and documention of Egypt's antiquity through a post-colonial lens;
  4. digital humanities frameworks embedded in Higher Education settings.


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. 
  • Shannon Collis - Engaging with Visual Language Theory: Understanding the Meaning, Modality and Grammar of Elite Mortuary Imagery in Middle Kingdom Egypt. MRes.
  • Kate Keeble - The Art of Art History in Egyptology - Towards a Deconstruction of Disciplinary Traditions. MRes.
  • Bree Kelly - Innovations in Machine Learning: A Case Study on the Fabricius Workshop. MRes.
  • Hannah Vogel - Contesting Abelist Narratives in Egyptology: A Theoretical Recalibration of 'Disablity' in Old Kingdom Egypt. MRes. 

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 – 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 Executive Dean's Excellence in Higher Degree Research Supervision of the Year Award. 2019.
  • 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. 2016. 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, Beni Hassan, and most recently the Macquarie Theban Tomb Project, in Luxor.

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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