Neal Spencer


+44 (0)20 7323 8311

Neal gained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2000 (on temple building in Late Period Egypt). Research interests include thirtieth dynasty Egypt, non-royal construction initiatives, Ramesside Nubia and Nile Delta archaeology.

In addition to leading the Department, Neal has recenly finished a nine-year field project at Kom Firin in Egypt’s western Nile Delta, a large settlement site occupied from the Ramesside Period (thirteenth to twelfth century BC) until the seventh century AD.

Since 2008, Neal has directed the British Museum fieldwork at Amara West, administrative capital of Upper Nubia in the Ramesside era. He has also participated in rescue fieldwork at the Fourth Cataract, and at sites throughout Egypt.

Neal manages the British Museum’s annual International Training Programme, for curators from countries outside the EU.

Current projects

Previous projects

  • Exhibition on the Gayer-Anderson Cat

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Recent publications

Amara West

N Spencer, 2014: Creating and re-shaping Egypt in Kush: responses at Amara West. Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 6/1: 42-61.

N Spencer, Amara West: considerations on urban life in occupied Kush. In D. A. Welsby and J. R.  Anderson (eds), Proceedings of the 12th International Conference for Nubian Studies. (Leuven. British Museum Publications on Egypt and Sudan 1. Leuven, 2014), 457-85.

M Spataro, M Millet and N Spencer, The New Kingdom settlement of Amara West  (Nubia, Sudan): mineralogical and chemical investigation of the ceramics. Archaeological and Anthropological Science.

N Spencer, “Kom Firin: witnessing the transformation of the Egyptian urban fabric in the 6th-5th centuries BC”. In S. Marchi (ed), Les Maisons-Tours en Égypte durant la Basse Époque, les Périodes Ptolémaïque et Romaine. NeHeT 2 (Paris, Sorbonne, September 2014), 157-79.

N Spencer, and M Millet, “Amara ouest : aspects de la vie quotidienne au nouvel empire en nubie”, CRAI 2013, ii (Avril-Juin, 2014), 639-59.

N Spencer, A Stevens and M Binder, Amara West: Living in Egyptian Nubia, (London: British Museum, 2014)

N Spencer, 2013. ‘Ancient Egyptian sources’ in Edwards, J., Spencer, N. and Laurenson, P. The Singer and Applause by Edward Onslow Ford”, Tate In Focus

N. Spencer, “Insights into life in oc­cupied Kush during the New Kingdom: new research at Amara West”, Antike Sudan 23 (2012), 21–8

N. Spencer, (with Sophie Hay) “Amara West: Remote sensing at a pharaonic town in northern Sudan”, in Proceedings of the conference, Archaeological Survey and the City. University of Cambridge, 2012: 176­-201.

N. Spencer, (with Philippa Ryan and Caroline Cartwright) “Archaeobotanical research in a pharaonic town in ancient Nubia”, British Museum Technical Research Bulletin 6, 97-106.

N. Spencer, (with Jamie Woodward and Mark Macklin) “Re-assessing the abandonment of Amara West: the impact of a changing Nile?”, Sudan & Nubia 16 (2012): 37-43.

N. Spencer, “Nubian architecture in an Egyptian town? Building E12.11 at Amara West”, Sudan & Nubia 14 (2010), 15–24.

N. Spencer, (with Michaela Binder and Marie Millet), “Cemetery D at Amara West: the Ramesside Period and its aftermath”, Sudan & Nubia 14 (2010), 25–44 [also appeared as BMSAES 16, 47–99;

N. Spencer, “Cemeteries and a Ramesside suburb at Amara West”, Sudan & Nubia 13 (2009): 47–61.

N. Spencer, (with Richard Parkinson) “The Teaching of Amenemhat at Amara”, EA 35 (2009): 25–7

Kom Firin

N. Spencer, Kom Firin I: The Ramesside temple and the site survey (British Museum Research Publication 170, 2008).

N. Spencer, Review: H. De Meulenaere, CdE 86 (2011): 143–5.

N. Spencer, “Ramesside rodomontade and a usurpation on the western Delta frontier’, in M. Collier and S. Snape (eds), Ramesside Studies in Honour of Kenneth Kitchen (Bolton, 2009), 307–18.

N. Spencer, “Kom Firin after the New Kingdom”, in Ikram, S. and Dodson, A. (eds), Beyond the Horizon: Studies in Egyptian Art, Archaeology and History in Honour of Barry J. Kemp, I (Cairo, 2008), 505–34.

N. Spencer, “The temples of Kom Firin”, Egyptian Archaeology 24 (2004): 38−40.

Late Period Egypt

N. Spencer, The Gayer Anderson Cat (British Museum Objects in Focus, 2007)

N. Spencer, A Naos of Nekhthorheb from Bubastis (British Museum Research Publications 156, 2006)

N. Spencer, “Statue de Bastet sous forme de chatte diute “Gayer-Anderson Cat”, in O. Perdu (ed.), Le crépuscule des pharaons. Chefs-d’oeuvre des dernières dynasties égyptiennes. Exhibition catalogue, Musée Jacquemart-André. Paris: 218–19 [107].

N. Spencer, “Sustaining Egyptian culture? Non-royal initiatives in Late Period temple building”, in L. Bareš, F. Coppens and K. Smoláriková (eds), Egypt in transition. Social and religious development of Egypt in the first millennium BCE (Prague, 2011), 441–90.

N. Spencer, (with J. Ambers, D. Hook, F. Shearman, S. LaNeice, R. Stacey and C. Cartwright) ‘A new look at an old cat: a technical investigation of the Gayer-Anderson cat’. British Museum Technical Bulletin 2 (2008): 1–12. 

N. Spencer, “A Theban Statue Base from the reign of Nekhtnebef” in T. Schneider and K. Szpakowska (eds), Egyptian Stories. A British Egyptological Tribute to Alan B. Lloyd on the Occasion of His Retirement (AOAT 347; Münster, 2007): 373–91.

N. Spencer, “Egypt” in J. Curtis and N. Tallis, Forgotten Empires. The World of Ancient Persia (British Museum Press, 2005): 43-4.

N. Spencer, “The Great Naos of Nekhthorheb from Bubastis”, Egyptian Archaeology 26 (2005): 21−4

Nile Delta

Jamie Woodward, J., M. Macklin, L. Fielding, I. Millar, N. Spencer, D. Welsby and M. Williams 2015: Shifting sediment sources in the world's longest river: A strontium isotope record for the Holocene Nile, Quaternary Science Reviews, (130), 15 December 2015, 124–140

N. Spencer, “Naville in northern Egypt” in P. Spencer (ed.), The Egypt Exploration Society – the early years (EES Occasional Publication 16, 2007), 1–31.

N. Spencer, “Edouard Naville et l’Egypt Exploration Fund à la découverte des temples de la XXXe dynastie dans le Delta”, Égypte Afrique & Orient 42 (2006): 11-18.

N. Spencer, “Excavating in Egypt’s Nile Delta”. Archaeology Abroad (Spring 2005): 17−20.

N. Spencer, (with Penny Wilson) “Ancient Sites in Beheira and Kafr esh-Sheikh”, Egyptian Archaeology 24 (2004): 10−11.

N. Spencer, “Samanud: the urban context”, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 87 (2001), 23−31.

N. Spencer, “The Epigraphic Survey of Samanud”, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 85 (1999): 55–83.

N. Spencer, “The temple of Onuris-Shu in Samanud”, Egyptian Archaeology 14 (1999): 7–9.




N. Spencer, “Shrines”, in UCLA Encyclopaedia of Egyptology

N. Spencer, (edited with Claire Messenger and Shezza Edris) The International Training Programme. Towards a global network. London, British Museum, 2011.

N. Spencer, “Training at the British Museum – Egyptian and Sudanese curators and archaeologists at the heart of a global network”, Ancient Egypt 10/6 (June/July 2010), 41–5.

N. Spencer, “Londres” [British Museum], in Andreu-Lanoë, G. (ed). Inventaire de l’Égypte (Paris 2010), 453–6.

N. Spencer, “Priests and Temples: Pharaonic”, in Lloyd, A.B. (ed). A Companion to Ancient Egypt, I (Chichester 2010), 255–73.

N. Spencer, The British Museum Book of Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Coloured signs from the collection with illustrations by Claire Thorne (London, 2003).