Matthew D. Adams is a Senior Research Scholar at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where he has directed archaeology at North Abydos since 1999. He holds a dual PhD in Anthropology and Egyptology from the University of Pennsylvania, where he began his fieldwork in the Middle East as an undergraduate and then graduate student in the early 1980s, including excavations in Turkey, Syria, and Egypt. He led his first excavation at Abydos in 1991, and since then he has directed excavations at many different areas of the site, from the predynastic to the late antique, and from the Abydos town site that was the subject of his PhD dissertation to the monumental cult enclosures of Egypt’s first kings. As Associate Director and Field Director of the Expedition from 1999 to 2017, in collaboration with Prof. David O’Connor, he led a range of initiatives that have redefined our understanding of the importance of Abydos in Egypt’s early history, the emergence of Egyptian kingship, and the transformation of the site into a religious center of national importance, in addition to directing a pioneering architectural conservation program at the Second Dynasty cult enclosure of King Khasekhemwy, known today as the Shunet el-Zebib. He has published, taught, and lectured widely on the archaeology of Egypt, and has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, National Geographic Magazine, and a number of television documentaries. He recently edited the fourth volume of the Egypt at its Origins series, and has previously served on the Board of Governors of the American Research Center in Egypt and of the Egyptological Seminar of New York. The Expedition’s 2018 season marked his thirtieth year as an archaeologist at Abydos, as well as the beginning of a new phase of his research, exploring the economic underpinnings of early royal activity at the site. Forthcoming publications include “The Origins of Sacredness at Abydos” in Abydos: The Sacred Land at the Western Horizon (Ilona Regulski, ed., British Museum/Peeters) and “Abydos in Late Antiquity” in Late Antique Abydos (Elisabeth O’Connell, ed., British Museum/Peeters).
Art Historian, Archaeologist, Egyptologist
Deborah Vischak is an Assistant Professor of Egyptian Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, where she joined the faculty in 2015. She specializes in the art history and archaeology of ancient Egypt, with research interests ranging from community identity and localized forms of material culture to comparative studies of ancient Middle Eastern art. She holds a PhD in Egyptian Art and Archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where she first joined the excavations at Abydos in 1997. Since then, she has directed independent field research at a number of sites in Egypt, including Aswan, Saqqara, Hawawish, and Luxor, while continuing to collaborate on excavations at Giza and Abydos. She has taught extensively on all periods of Egyptian history, as well as on archaeological method and theory and the art and archaeology of the ancient Middle East. She is the author of Community and Identity in Ancient Egypt: The Old Kingdom Cemetery at Qubbet el-Hawa, published by Cambridge University Press (2015), which is the first in-depth work on the social dynamics of local communities in the Old Kingdom. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Program in Archaeology at Princeton and on the Board of Governors of the American Research Center in Egypt. She became co-director of the Expedition in 2018, opening a new chapter of research on community and society at Abydos during the Old Kingdom. Forthcoming publications include Egyptian Tombs: Self and Society (Reaktion Press) and The Egyptian Image in Context, ed., with John Baines (University of Pennsylvania Press).