Bettina BaderCeramicsUniversity of Viena


Bettina Bader is the head of the research group Archaeology in Egypt and Sudan (Department of Prehistory and Western Asian and Northeast African Archaeology, formerly OREA) at the re-organised Austrian Archaeological Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences since January 2021. She is currently leading the START Project ‘Beyond Politics: Material Culture in Second Intermediate Period Egypt and Nubia’ awarded by the Austrian Science Fund, specialising in material culture of the Second Intermediate Period and its interpretation beyond the political lens using theoretical approaches from material culture studies. Over the years her time span of interest expanded to include the time from the First Intermediate Period to the early New Kingdom working on several post-docs at the Universities of Vienna, Cambridge, UK, and again Vienna with prestigious grants awarded by the Austrian National Bank, the European Commission and the Austrian Science Fund.

Bettina studied Egyptology at the University of Vienna where she graduated with both an MA (1997) and a PhD (2004). Her M.A., published as Tell el-Dab’a XIII, provides a detailed overview of the typology and distribution of Marl C pottery in Egypt from the late First Intermediate Period to the early New Kingdom. Her PhD project compared the material culture found in settlement areas from Tell el-Daba and Kom Rabia/Memphis from the end of the Middle Kingdom to the Second Intermediate Period, highlighting the numerous differences and diverse developments between these two bodies of material, consisting mainly of pottery. This project was published as Tell el-Dab’a XIX, providing a typological overview of both corpora. In 2019 she obtained the teaching qualification (Habilitation) with research on the connection between material culture and identities at the Institute for Egyptology at the University of Vienna (Material Culture and Identities - Complexities of Identity Research in Archaeology in a late Middle Kingdom Settlement in Ancient Egypt - A Case Study). The publication appeared in 2021: Material Culture and Identities in Egyptology. Towards a better Understanding of Cultural Encounters and their Influence on Material Culture, Vienna.

Since 1994 Bettina worked on excavations in Egypt at sites such as Tell el-Daba, Kom Rabia/Memphis, Lisht, Herakleopolis Magna, Deir el-Bershah, Deir el-Ballas, Thebes and Elephantine in many international collaborations (Austrian Archaeological Institute, Egypt Exploration Society, Metropolitan Museum New York, Univ. of Birmingham, Alabama, Museo Nacional Arquèologico, KU Leuven, The Egypt Heritage and Conservation Fund, ThAWs – Theban Ancient Waterways Survey, The Djehuti-Project and the Swiss Institute for Architectural Research and Archaeology in Cairo). Her initial specialisation was pottery, which is still a large part of her interest as this object type is usually the most numerous found in any excavation, but now she is also interested in other types of material culture such as stone vessels, faience vessels, scarabs, stone tools, other stone objects, beads and other types of jewellery as well as objects made of clay.

Bettina has published widely on ceramic finds, pottery typology, methodological aspects of working on pottery and functional aspects, a topic on which an international workshop was held in Cambridge in 2009 together with Mary F. Ownby (published in 2011 in Leuven by Peeters as volume 217 in Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta). Other interests are manifest in publications on settlement archaeology, contextual issues, domestic architecture and the theoretical approaches to the interpretation of material culture in general with a view to the identities of the people who used it.