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Miss Tessa Baber 

  • Overview
Tessa Baber picture
Position:PhD Archaeology

Academic History

BA Archaeology (2:1) – Obtained in June 2010 – Cardiff University

BA Thesis:  How Far are Changes in Funerary Texts in the New Kingdom Royal Tombs          
                   Reflected in the Private Tombs of the Same Period?

MA Archaeology (Distinction) – Obtained in September 2011 – Cardiff University

MA Thesis:  The Mummy Pits of Ancient Egypt: The Long Kept Secret of Early                 

PhD Research

Working title: The Mummy Pits of Ancient Egypt: an Investigation into a Lost Burial Form

My PhD research which builds upon a pilot study undertaken during my MA, is an investigation into the ‘mummy pits’ of ancient Egypt. These ‘pits’ contain mass burials of mummies and are frequently recorded by early travellers to Egypt in accounts dating from the 12th – 19th centuries A.D. It is within these accounts that the mummy pits are preserved as they now appear to have been lost to us. My research involves forensically examining these accounts in order to extract archaeological information which can be used to reconstruct this unusual burial form.

My research aims to:

  1. reveal the form and content of the mummy pits
  2. date the mummy pits and determine where they could once be found in Egypt
  3. investigate what may have happened to the pits, with the possibility that their contents were used to manufacture ‘mummy products’ such as fertiliser and paper
  4. to link information gathered by modern archaeological investigation with that
    provided by early travellers in order to reconstruct the mummy pits as a burial rite

The ultimate aim is to add to current understanding of the burial practice of ancient Egypt’s lower classes, as the mummy pits appear to represent communal burials of these individuals.

Start date: January 2012
First Supervisor: Dr Paul Nicholson
Second Supervisor: Dr Peter Guest


Papers Presented

‘Mummymania: Exploitation of Egypt's Mummies through the Centuries’
Celtic Learners Network – St David’s Hall, Cardiff
22nd September 2012

‘The Mummy Pits of Ancient Egypt: Revealed by Early Travellers’
Study day for Andante Travels - Cardiff University
18th February 2012

‘Travellers and Mummy Pits’
Ninth Biennial ASTENE Conference – Oxford University
15th July 2011

Bursaries and Funds Awarded

Bursary Awarded by ASTENE (Association for the Study of Travellers to Egypt and the Near East) (awarded 15th – 18th July 2011)
Bursary to attend ASTENE’s 9th biennial conference at St Anne’s College - Oxford University
Role in Conference: Chair of Chairs
Paper presented: 15th July 2011

Sir Cyril Fox Fund (awarded July 2011)
Awarded for travel expenses to ASTENE’s biennial conference at St Anne’s College, Oxford University


Teaching Experience

Postgraduate practical demonstrator for module:
• HS2302: Material Study and Recording
Postgraduate Seminar Tutor for modules:
• HS2120: Introduction to Ancient Egypt
• HS2117: Great Discoveries in Archaeology
• HS2362: Roman Britain

Adult Education

Celtic Learners Network – In partnership with Cadw and the National Museum Cardiff
I am currently an adult education tutor for the Celtic Learners network where I design and deliver lectures and workshops which centre around my current research interests.

Website: (


Archaeological Illustration

Current work:
Producing archaeological illustrations of artefacts (faience moulds) for Dr Paul Nicholson – part of the Petrie Museum (UCL) collection (drawn 5th November 2012) – To be published (Nicholson 2013 forthcoming)
Producing additional archaeological illustrations for Dr Paul Nicholson of artefacts from his project at Kom Helul, Memphis (Egypt) – To be published (Nicholson 2013 forthcoming)
Producing archaeological illustrations for Dr Paul Nicholson of artefacts from the dog catacomb project at Saqqara (Egypt, 2012)

Past work:
April 2012: Archaeological Illustrator for Dr Paul Nicholson’s project undertaken in the dog catacombs of Saqqara (Egypt) – Season of 2012
March-June 2012: Produced set of archaeological illustrations for Dr Paul Nicholson of artefacts from his project at Kom Helul, Memphis (Egypt) – To be published (Nicholson 2013 forthcoming)

National Museum Cardiff

The Clore Discovery Centre

I am currently an archaeological facilitator for the Clore Discovery Centre, the National Museum Cardiff’s interpretation gallery. My role involves interacting with members of the public in order to encourage them to explore the museum’s collections which have been made available to them to handle. I also participate in and direct school and family workshops in the gallery as well as being involved in designing and developing educational material for visitors. I also assist with the collections management of specimens on display and I am also currently assisting in redeveloping the archaeology handling material within the gallery.

Department of Archaeology & Numismatics

Portable Antiquities Scheme:I currently volunteer my time as a Portable Antiquities Scheme Assistant for Mark Lodwick (Finds Co-ordinator for Wales)
Cowbridge Collection: I currently volunteer my time as a Data-input Assistant for the Cowbridge collection - working for Evan Chapman (Curatorial Officer)
Human Remains within the Llandough collection: I currently volunteer my time as a Curatorial Assistant, working with the human remains of the Llandough collection - working for Jody Deacon (Curatorial Assistant)

Additional Information


Member of the Association for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East (ASTENE) (
Member of Egypt Exploration Society
Member of the Museums Association
Member of British Association for Near Eastern Archaeology (BANEA)