Huw Twiston Davies

Huw Twiston Davies


  • Department of Classics, Ancient History, Archaeology and Egyptology
    School of Arts, Languages, and Cultures
    University of Manchester
    Oxford Road
    M13 9PL
    United Kingdom

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile


Dr Huw Twiston Davies is a Lecturer in Egyptology in the Department of Classics, Ancient History, Archaeology and Egyptology, and an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Archaeology, Classics, and Egyptology at the University of Liverpool. He holds a PhD in Egyptology from the University of Liverpool, completed in 2018, as well as a BA (2010) and MA (2012) in Egyptology from this University. His teaching at Manchester mainly focuses on the ancient Egyptian language, and ancient Egyptian literature.

From 2018-2021 he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he worked on the Dutch Research Council (NWO) funded Vidi-Talent Scheme project, The Walking Dead at Saqqara: The Making of a Cultural Geography. His work on the project focused on the transmission of funerary texts at the site of Saqqara in the New Kingdom, with a particular focus on the Book of the Dead. In 2016-2017, he worked as a Curatorial Assistant at the Garstang Museum of Archaeology, where he was responsible for management and training of volunteers, social media, visitor services, and collections research, as well as acting as project curator for two exhibitions. He returned to the Garstang Museum in 2022, to assist in efforts to digitise the collection, before taking up his present post later that year.

His research focuses on the transmission of literary and religious texts in ancient Egypt, focusing mainly on the Middle and New Kingdoms. He is particularly interested in the processes and purposes of literary copying in the New Kingdom, and the role of individual scribes in shaping the texts they copied, which he studies through the research methodology of "material philology". His doctoral thesis focused on the manuscripts of two ancient Egyptian wisdom texts dating to the New Kingdom, the Instruction of Amenemope, and the Instruction of Ani. For his postdoctoral research he broadened this research focus to examine monumental texts found in New Kingdom tombs at Saqqara, publishing on the Harpists' Songs found in Saqqara tombs as well as working on funerary texts and images from the Book of the Dead, and ancient Egyptian mortuary liturgies.

Dr Twiston Davies was a member of the Leiden-Turin excavation team working at Saqqara from 2019 to 2022. He currently serves on the editorial board of the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library.


Research interests

The main focus of current research draws on material philology and textual criticism, and focuses on the process of copying literary and religious texts in and after the New Kingdom (c. 1550-1077 BC), and the contexts in which that copying took place. This involves not only the examination of texts, but also considering archaeological context and physical and visual elements of manuscripts to understand their production. This work considers the way in which texts were used and adapted over time by individual copyists who were actively engaged in editing the texts they copied, rather than seeking to reconstruct a hypothetical “original version” of any given text.


- PhD in Egyptology, University of Liverpool (2018)
- MA in Egyptology, University of Liverpool (2012)
- BA in Oriental Studies (Egyptology), University of Liverpool (2010)


Dr Twiston Davies has taught a variety of subjects in Egyptology at the Universities of Liverpool, Manchester, and Leiden, to undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as to members of the general public. One major focus of his teaching focuses on ancient Egyptian language, from introducing students to the hieroglyphic and hieratic scripts, to fostering their ability to read complex texts independently. This teaching focuses on imparting a clear understanding of how the language works, the practice of translation, and on the in-depth reading of a wide variety of texts.

He is Programme co-Director for the MA Egyptology.

Dr Twiston Davies currently teaches the following courses:

Unit Convenor:
CAHE66311: Fast-Track Middle Egyptian (MA-level course)
CAHE66211 Ancient Egyptian Religion and Funerary Beliefs (MA-level course)
CAHE20091/30091 Literature, Literacy, and Textual Transmission in Pharaonic Egypt (Levels 2/3)
CAHE10032 Introduction to Egyptian Hieroglyphs (Level 1)

Dr Twiston Davies also teaches the hieroglyphs topics on three online short courses in Middle Egyptian, offered twice-yearly by the University of Manchester.

He supervises undergraduate and Master's-level theses chiefly on Ancient Egyptian language, literature and texts, and religion.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, "It is filled with an assortment": The Transmission of the Instruction of Ani and the Instruction of Amenemope, University of Liverpool


Award Date: 5 Feb 2018

Master of Arts, Deus, Deus Meus: Contexts of ntr in Middle Kingdom Literature, University of Liverpool


Award Date: 13 Dec 2012

Bachelor of Arts


Award Date: 20 Jul 2010

External positions

Honorary Fellow, University of Liverpool

Feb 2021 → …

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden (Leiden Univ)

1 Feb 201812 Apr 2021

Areas of expertise

  • PJ Semitic
  • Egyptology
  • Ancient Egyptian language
  • Ancient Egyptian literature
  • New Kingdom Literature
  • Middle Kingdom literature
  • DT Africa
  • Egyptology
  • Ancient Egypt
  • New Kingdom
  • 18th Dynasty
  • LA History of education
  • Egyptian scribal praxis and training
  • P Philology. Linguistics
  • Material philology
  • Z004 Books. Writing. Paleography
  • Literary production in ancient Egypt
  • Hieratic script
  • Egyptian manuscript culture


  • Egyptology
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Ancient Egyptian
  • Ancient Egyptian language
  • Ancient Egyptian literature
  • Middle Egyptian
  • Late Egyptian
  • Late Egyptian literature
  • Middle Egyptian literature
  • Material philology
  • Scribal praxis


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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  • Sakkara: Leven in een Dodenstad / Saqqara: Living in a City of the Dead

    Huw Twiston Davies (Curator), Lara Weiss (Curator) & Nico Staring (Curator)

    10 Mar 202022 Nov 2020

    Activity: Participating in or organising event(s)Organising a conference, workshop, exhibition, performance, inquiry, course etcResearch

  • The Book of the Dead

    Huw Twiston Davies (Curator), Gina Criscenzo-Laycock (Curator), Julia Thorne (Other) & Roland Enmarch (Member of programme committee)

    17 May 201713 Sept 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising event(s)Organising a conference, workshop, exhibition, performance, inquiry, course etcResearch

  • Meroë: Africa’s Forgotten Empire

    Huw Twiston Davies (Curator) & Gina Criscenzo-Laycock (Curator)

    13 May 201614 Sept 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising event(s)Organising a conference, workshop, exhibition, performance, inquiry, course etcResearch

  • The Walking Dead II

    Huw Twiston Davies (Organiser), Nico Staring (Co-Organiser), Lara Weiss (Co-Organiser) & Hisham el-Leithy (Co-Organiser)

    29 Sept 20191 Oct 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising event(s)Organising a conference, workshop, exhibition, performance, inquiry, course etcResearch

  • Bulletin of the John Rylands Library (Journal)

    Huw Twiston Davies (Member of editorial board)

    Aug 2023Aug 2028

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-reviewResearch