Butterflies of ancient Egypt

Vazrick Nazari, Linda Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


A review of butterflies depicted in ancient Egyptian tomb scenes and other artifacts dating from the predynastic period (c. 3000 BCE) until the end of the pharaonic era (c. 100 BCE) reveals a wide spectrum of stylistic changes over time. A cladistic analysis shows relative consistency of style during the Old Kingdom period, copying of old styles during the Middle Kingdom period, and a deviation from tradition during the New Kingdom period. The utility of a cladistic approach in assigning dates and localities to ancient Egyptian artifacts with unknown origins is demonstrated. We discuss lepidopteran symbolism in ancient Egypt, and investigate how some of these depictions may highlight historical shifts in species ranges since pharaonic times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-267
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of the Lepidopterists' Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


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