Hello! Dr Chris Naunton here. I’m an Egyptologist, writer and broadcaster.
Now that the world seems to be emerging from the pandemic I’m back out on the road giving lectures in person, while also continuing the series of online talks that began during lockdown. More on that kind of thing here.
My NEW book for children, Cleopatra Tells All! has just been published (June 2022). For more info or to order a copy please go here.
Cleo, it seems, was inspired to tell her story by her distinguished predecessor, Tutankhamun who published his own memoir, King Tutankhamun Tells All! in 2021. More about that here.
Egyptologists’ Notebooks, ‘A celebration of Egyptologists’ intimate diaries and journals, brilliantly capturing the excitement of the golden age of Egyptology’
was published in October 2020. More on that one here.
My first book, Searching for the Lost Tombs of Egypt was published by Thames & Hudson in October 2018. For more information or to get a copy please go here.
I do quite a lot of TV work (more here) and have several other projects on the go; with any luck most of them will eventually make their way onto the ‘Books’, ‘TV’ and ‘Lectures’ pages here.
I’m also Director of the Robert Anderson Research Charitable Trust (RARCT), a London-based charity that provides support to visiting academics – more on this sort of thing here. Lastly, in 2020 I was appointed President of the Thames Valley Ancient Egypt Society (TVAES), one of the largest such groups in the UK with a very busy programme of lectures and short courses.
Any questions, just let me know. Thanks for reading 🙂
155 thoughts on “Home”
Hello Dr. Chris! During these challenging times of being on lock down during the pandemic, my family and I have been enjoying documentaries on ancient Egypt and have been pleased to see that you are featured in many of these quality programs. My children are ages 10 and 5 and they have become increasingly fascinated with the wonderful world of the ancient Egyptians. My 5 year old daughter says that she wants to become an Egyptologist herself.
Thank you for sharing your vast knowledge in such an eloquent and accessible way! Best regards and great work!
This is so lovely to read, thanks Sierra! As it happens I am just working on the second of two books for children, due out next year, all being well… Best wishes to you and your family, stay safe and well!
My daughter (9) has also recently decided she wants to be an Egyptologist after watching The Secret of the Valley of the Kings and doing the subject in school before the lockdown. Can you give her any advise how to start getting into the field when a little older ? We are gutted we’ve just missed finding out about your talk last night on Tutankhamun but we’ve registered for one on the 20th May and she can’t wait
Hi Michelle, Great to know that you have a budding Egyptologist in the family! Most professional Egyptologists have higher degrees in the subject so it’s a long road but If she’s still interested in a few years’ time you and your daughter could look at studying Egyptology or something related – ancient history, archaeology etc – at university. The chances of succeeding are not great but as long as she bears in mind that Egyptology is first and foremost something to enjoy – while studying and beyond, whether professionally or otherwise – and if she remains open to other possibilities / opportunities then I’d recommend it. I’ve always done it for the love of the subject – it’s not something to do if high earnings or job security are your priorities! – and have always, even now, worked on the basis that I might need to go off and do something else to pay the bills at some point. there will always be plenty of ways to indulge an interest – loads to read, documentaries to watch, exhibitions to attend and sites and monuments in Egypt to visit. Even online lectures to attend these days! I hope this helps, and wish you both all the best – hope to see you at another lecture soon! (By the way recordings of older talks are appearing online see e.g. https://chrisnaunton.com/people-at-amarna-links-further-reading/)
Chris Naunton 🏳️🌈💞😉⛩️🇯🇵🗾🏯☀️🌙🇮🇹✌️
I agree, i have just watched a history timline stream with him in it, it was fascinating!
Hi Chris – really enjoying the online lectures and have just ordered your book – thanks for making lockdown more bearable – kind regards – Linda
hi Linda, Delighted to know you’re enjoying the lectures and thank you for ordering the book! Hope you enjoy that too 🙂 All the best, Chris
Hello Mr. Nauton! I have a question! I have a picture i drew when I was very young. There are signs depicting symbols of Egypt. I wanted to look for someone who analyzes Egyptian art: egyptologist. I am thinking there can be more signs of Egypt depicted in this picture. I came across you on YouTube. Is there anyway this can be done? Thank you.
Drop me a line via the ‘contact’ page?
According to the Daily Express I see that you appeared on a show with Dan Snow recently in which you revealed the precise location of the tomb of Alexander the Great. Unfortunately, the Express fails to give this location. Perhaps you can tell me where you think it is.
I have been working on a paper on this subject for a long time along with Dr Niall Finneran and the late Dr Geoffrey Tassie. You may be interested in seeing the draft which also gives our idea of the location.
Digby Stevenson (Archaeologist)
Hi Digby, Thanks for your message! The Express has rather sensationalised what I had to say (…), all of which is based on a chapter I wrote for my book on Lost Tombs (ch 6, see here: https://chrisnaunton.com/writing/). What I wrote is really just a summary of the evidence we have, and history of claims made. In my view the evidence doesn’t allow for the location of any of the three tombs it is likely were built for Alexander in Egypt to be identified with accuracy, at least not until more evidence comes to light. I’d be very interested to see what you’ve written in any case – I’ll drop you a line!
Please expose the truth and give justice and credit to the African of today. The Masai people and the Amhara resemble the people of the past in their rituals, skin and dress. These people were displaced that is why they live in dessert like spaces. Arabs moved these people out. Egypt was long ago not a state but a region that included Ethiopia, Sudan etc. Some of this is starting to be exposed but please do better. Please correct the lies of the past that have treated black Africans as though they are less than when they ran a powerful kingdom before the Arabs came in.
Thanks for your comment. I think the situation may be more complex than you suggest here. I recognise that there are many problems with the way ‘Egyptology’ has developed and been taught – hence my post on ‘Decolonising, Egyptology & the dirty little secret’: https://bit.ly/32OvbGu – and I am absolutely caught up in that myself. And I am eager to (re-)learn! According to what I have learned there were a number of different groups and cultures in north-east Africa in ancient times in the areas now covered by e.g. modern Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and Libya, including the ‘Egyptians’ (of hieroglyphs, pyramids etc) but also Kushites, ‘Libyans’ (various different tribes including the Libu and Meshwesh) and others. They all interacted with one another and shared certain things in common but were also distinct from one another in various ways (language, script, religious beliefs, material culture, political and social hierarchies, art, architecture etc). My focus has been on the period up to the Ptolemaic in Egypt, i.e. several centuries before the Arab conquest. The post I refer to above was principally about the effect of British and other European influence in North Africa and the effect this has had on the study of the region in ancient times. The extent of the impact of the Arab conquest on the study of the region is outside my sphere of expertise, but not beyond my interest and I would be keen to know about the connections between the tribes you mention and the ancient people of the Nile Valley. We must all be open to challenges to our understanding of the ancient past, but I would just note that many believe that there is clear connection between the Coptic tradition in Egypt (still current today), and the more ancient past – e.g. the Coptic language script is essentially Greek with the addition of a few characters to accommodate the Egyptian language, and the Coptic language preserves a number of ancient Egyptian words. The issue of ‘survivals’ of ancient culture is contentious, but it may well be that there are such survivals evident in various different places and among different present-day cultures. Thanks again for your comment.
Hi Chris I’ve just watched a fascinating programme which you did for History Hit series of podcasts. The programme was defining Egyptology, from its inception to current day. It was really interesting and very easy to understand. I’ll definitely be looking at your online lectures and catching up with more programmes of yours on History Hit.
Great to know, thank you!
Hello, my name is Gwenda Jeisman, Adelaide Australia. I have enjoyed your shows on tv very much. I have just received your book, The Lost Tombs of Egypt, but I am unable to read it as the printing is so small. I think the publishers should let people know when they buy books like this (I book from the Book Depository in England) if the books has been printed in a much smaller font.
I am tremendously disappointed. I am 78, housebound, and was looking forward to reading this books very much. It is useless to me now as the print is so small.
Gwenda Jeisman, Adelaide, South Australia.
Dear Mrs Jeisman, I’m very sorry about this. As you can probably imagine I don’t, myself, have any control over the size of the print or the information provided by booksellers. If it’s any consolation the text is significantly larger in the hardback version 9copies are still available here and there) and in the Kindle version you can of course change the text size to suit your needs. I hope you get a chance to read the book one way or another! Best wishes, Chris N
I have bought the Kindle version as I really want to read this book.
That’s great to know, I hope you enjoy it!
Hi Chris. Loved your introduction to Egyptology Zoom presentation yesterday. It happened to be the same day I received your beautiful new book Egyptologists Notebooks and my compliments also to Thames and Hudson for reminding me just how wonderful reading traditional books can be. I love the graphic design and illustrations and once I finish Kathyn Bard’s introduction to Egyption Archaeology I will dive into it. I look forward to next weeks talk on Tutankhamun for the Glen Eira Library.
Hi Len, Thanks for coming along to the talk yesterday! It was great to ‘see’ you – I hadn’t realised I’d be able to see anyone in the audience so it was a great surprise to see you, and a copy of Notebooks! Really glad to see that it’s reached you so quickly and hope you enjoy it when you get the chance to dig into it properly. See you at the next Glen Eira talk! All the best, Chris
Hello Chris! Roger Hunter here from the Oriental Institute in Chicago.
Couple of comments:
Firstly, I am thoroughly enjoying the zoom sessions on your latest book! I have it in physical form and I have to say that the presentation of the archival material is outstanding. I know in your book release session you gave credit to your accomplices but could you mention them again? Really an superlative effort and such delightful results.
Secondly, the upcoming expedition with Ancient World Tours to the Theban Tombs looks fabulous! I was last in Egypt with the OI in November 2019 and access to private entries to tombs are always the highlight of any Egyptian experience. However the dates overlap with an OI proposed trip to Sudan and Egypt in that November 2021 timeframe. I’m so conflicted. Your “Kingdom of Kush” talk got me interested in the Nubian relationship to Egypt. It’s so difficult and frustrating to talk about future travels in the age of COVID-19. At this time, we don’t really know which of our travel hopes will actually materialize. We all look forward to a future “normalcy” regarding travel.
Finally, about Ethiopia. I was last in Ethiopia in 1998 shortly after the attacks on the US installations in Kenya and Tanzania and the responding US retaliations to Khartoum, Sudan and Kabul, Afghanistan. Needless to say, Ethiopia is a fascinating country to visit and the sites like Lalibella are extraordinary. In 1998, I was only able to venture as far north as Lake Tana and Gondor due to the Eritrean conflict and was unable to get to Axum. The current situation in Tigray poses problems as well. Let’s hope for better times…
Hello Roger! Very nice to hear from you and from the OI! Delighted to know that you approve of the book! The material speaks for itself of of course but I do feel very grateful to my colleagues at Thames and Hudson for all their investment in its presentation. I tried to make sure that everyone who contributed is thanked in the acknowledgements at the end but the key players were Ben Hayes (commissioning editor), Jen Moore (editor), Sally Nicholls (picture researcher) and Aman Phull (design). It was a real team effort!
Delighted also to know that the ‘Theban tombs’ trip in autumn 2021 is of interest. Although this wasn’t deliberate on my part just making plans for travel – even if we all know it might not be possible – gave me a lift and seems to have had the same effect on others too. I sincerely hope the virus recedes to the point where we can travel again – I suspect there will be something of a boom as soon as its possible again. If and then that happens it sounds as though you will have good options! I have no plans to return to Sudan at the moment but I would love to of course.
I am keeping my fingers crossed for Ethiopia but as you say even the postponed trip looks threatened by more than just COVID. Again, fingers crossed, I have never been and have been hoping to get there for many years… One day!
Best wishes, Chris
Chris, I sincerely thank you because you are an inspiration and helping fulfilling my dream of Egyptology. I’m thankful because you have made your amazing lectures be available anywhere! You are my favorite Egyptologist and you have my endless admiration! Thank for your passion about Egypt
Thank you Shadid!
Hello Chris Naunton,
I saw a video of you about discovery of “the Lost Pyramid”. A ten tonne block was lifted to open its burial chamber.
You unexpectedly found that it had been robbed and you are mistaken.
So, I would like to try to inform you about what happened there .
My statement seems blunt but to dance around the matter is a waste of time.
You will or won’t be interested to learn.
I believe you can dance circles around me with your knowledge about ancient Egypt but you (and others) missed a few things that I chanced upon in personal study since 2013.
I was simply curious to answer a silly question for myself and information unexpectedly surfaced.
I prefer email. Please let me know if you’re interested to hear. I am not selling or seeking.
Ancient Egypt is really interesting.
(Please do publish this note. I use your site only because I don’t have your direct e-mail.)
Hi, you can contact me via this page (it will send me an e-mail): https://chrisnaunton.com/contact/ Thanks!
I failed to see that I had visited this site (and posted here) earlier in Febraury. So, silly me, I posted again before seeing your response. (Another reason I prefer email).
In any case, there might be images that I want to have you access (by link) but that I don’t want to make public.
Will I be able to post via this site without it going public?
Hi Jean-Louis, If you visit the ‘Contact’ section (https://chrisnaunton.com/contact/) you’ll find a form which will allow you to send a message direct to me.
Hi Chris! I’m currently watching the National Geographic doc you’re in and love it it! Australian fan here 😃
PS: are you single? 😅
No… 🏳️🌈💞✌️… I am married… 🤗😉
No… 🏳️🌈💞✌️… I am married… 🤗😉
Hello Dr Naunton, I have been a major Histroy nerd all my youth, going on 28. I have become increasingly fascinated by Ancient Egypt, as far of as to reconstituting some of the more popular and known Religious Rituals. I am also looking into studying Egyptology.
What is the best piece of advice you could give to an aspiring Egyptologist?
Thank you soo much for the quality documentaries you ahve been a part of. I think i’ve watched them all, possibly 3-4 times each. You and Dre Joann Fletcher are inspiring. 🙂
Hi Francis, So glad to know that you’ve been enjoying the films! I love that kind of work and it’s a bonus to know that the product makes a difference to people! Great to know that you’re thinking of taking your interest in Egyptology further! It’s difficult to think of one single piece of advice but I hope the following thoughts might be helpful… Remember you’re doing this because you love it. Of all the people who study Egyptology very few are subsequently able to make a living from it, and those who do mostly earn a good living without ever earning megabucks. Work is hard to come by, permanent position even rarer, and most of us have to be prepared for at least a few years of unpaid / badly work and short-term contracts. If you get to this point, be open to taking whatever opportunities come along including those that might take you away from to track you might have thought you were on. A few years ago I had a permanent job in a highly regarded institution but I wasn’t enjoying it any more so I decided to take a leap and try to carry on doing Egyptology as a freelancer – I decided it was better to take the risk that I might not be able to work in the field at any more, than carry on doing it when it wasn’t making me happy. I don’t earn as much any more and sometimes worry that I don’t know from where / when my next pay cheque will come but I’m enjoying the work much more and that’s what’s important to me. Other thoughts: accept yourself and your strengths and weaknesses – you don’t have to be brilliant at everything and there will always be someone better than you at this or that, but somewhere there will be a niche for you – find that, concentrate on that and make yourself the best you can be at that. For me, it turned out not to be fieldwork, not reading hieroglyphs, not academic research… But I enjoy and reckon I’m pretty good at communicating with non-specialist audiences so I’ve tried to focus on writing books, doing TV and giving lectures. There was a time when I would have been desperately worried that not being better at understanding the ancient language would have meant I failed but I’m OK with it now – other people are much better than I am at it, but I reckon I’m better than them at other things! GOOD LUCK!
I’ve watched one of your shows on the treasures of Tutankhamun. I was intrigued by the segment on the iron dagger whose X-ray spectrum presumably revealed iron, nickel, and cobalt. It was then concluded, since such a composition doesn’t exist, the dagger is of extraterrestrial origin. I find this conclusion particularly problematic for a couple of reasons:
One, the X-ray spectrum only reveals the elemental state (and this could be a mixture, an alloy, or there may even be surface/sub-surface contaminants).
Two, the X-ray spectrum only shows iron and nickel (but not cobalt).
Please see the attached screenshot (+ English sub-titles) from the show:
Do you have a more recent update on this, or a better explanation for the faulty X-ray analysis?
Dear Furqan, Thanks for your comment. You probably realise all the following but in case not: first, although television documentaries like the one you refer to are intended to convey the results of new scientific research, they inevitably have to simplify things for the audience. In this case the analysis that was performed in the museum was undertaken for the cameras, which may not have captured accurately the process or the results as per the prior lab-controlled research which the film drew on. Second, my own expertise is not in metallurgy of any kind – my background is in archaeology and Egyptology so I’m dependent on the credentials of the experts involved in the research – in this case Dr Abdelrazek Elnaggar of Faiyum University and Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology. I can’t comment on your specific queries therefore but I can direct you to the publication – by Dr Elnaggar and colleagues – of the research: Comelli, D et al, ‘The meteoritic origin of Tutankhamun’s iron dagger blade’ Meteorics and Planetary Science 51, 7 (July, 2016), 1301-1309. the article is available online here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/maps.12664
Just recently saw your documentary on tutankhamun although not a scholar myself I found it absolutely fascinating and extremely absorbing well done on putting together such an interesting documentary.
Hi Chris, I was given a copy of your ‘Egyptologists’ Notebooks’ soon after publication and enjoyed it immensely. Please consider producing a second volume to include the 15 or so other people not included. I especially would like to see more work by Robert Hay. Perhaps the doctoral candidate you mentioned in your presentation (Australian) and you should get together.
Dear Gerald, I’m delighted to know you enjoyed the book, thank you for taking the time to write and say so! I have been in touch with Gemma Renshaw is working on the Hay material and will perhaps suggest a collaboration when she has her doctorate in hand, it would certainly make for a very handsome volume! Best wishes, Chris
Hello, Dr. Chris! I’m a fan of your life’s work and have watched just about every show on Egypt. Your knowledge and presence is a wonderful educational experience. My question to you, is: Is there any validity to a possible undiscovered room connected to the tomb of King Tut? Any plans to explore further? Thanks, and keep up the great work!
Hi Tom, Thanks for your kind words, much appreciated! I really like the idea that there are hidden chambers yet to be discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamun and I think the case it well-argued by Nicholas Reeves but the radar evidence seems to show that no such chambers are present. As you probably know I discuss the ideas in my book on Lost Tombs (https://chrisnaunton.com/searching-for-the-lost-tombs-of-egypt/); since the book came out Reeves has published further arguments, and further radar evidence has appeared – there’s more on all of this in my talk ‘After Akhenaten’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Djw8zLErMg&t=1061s (see also this page for further reading: https://chrisnaunton.com/after-akhenaten-links-further-reading/). Hope this will give you plenty to think about! Best wishes, Chris
I listed to your Podcast Nile cruise then & now during lockdown and I have since listed to it a few times since. I really enjoyed listening to yourself and Dr Kate Sheppard, and that vast knowledge you both have. You both made it so interesting and engaging, I had been on a Nile cruise in the past when I was 18 which was about 16 years ago now, definitely want to go again. I was wondering do you have any plans to work together again? maybe on another podcast? I do hope so. Kind regards Ross
Hi Ross, Great to know that you enjoyed the podcast and it’s almost spooky that you should write about this now as Kate and I have been talking in the last few days about something more… So far it’s just an idea and I’m sounding out a few other collaborators but one way or another we’d both love to do some more… Watch this space!
The long awaited Nile cruise you both said you wanted to make on the podcast? Haha. That’s good to know you will both be doing more work together. Looking forward to what that might be. Keep up the amazing inspiring work you do.
That’s great to know! Maybe the long awaited Nile cruise you both spoke about on the podcast haha.
Looking forward to you both working together again and seeing that the brings. Keep up the amazing and inspiring work.