Photograph copyright Jaromir Malek

Shubramant the Golden                                    

A lonely blinkered donkey,

                his flanks sore

from endless kicks of green plastic sandals,

tried to bray his broken heart

out of his numbed body (did not we all?)

               as the car came sliding to a halt.

Shubramant the golden-brown, whatever for?


The mucky fetid air,

             feverish with expectations

             with which the crimson Orient allures,

             announced that we had arrived before we departed

            (don’t we so often?)

            and the world stood still.

Shubramant the purple-black, whatever for?


The Museum of Science,

            heavy with wisdom

            of endless aeons of grim perseverance,

            loomed as a warning finger to would-be scholars

            (aren’t we all?)

            trespassing where angels fear to tread.

Shubramant the silver-grey, whatever for?


Her orchid-like arms

whispering passion softly

through the blackness of the dress,

                which gently touched, though did not cling,

she graciously

offered us fresh dates.

Shubramant the orange-green, whatever for?


At last the screaming child,

his begrimed face 

peering anxiously at the khawagas

feeling uncomfortable under the gaze of the universe

(don’t we always?) 

was removed by his mother.

And only when the car,

                haltingly at first, got under way again,

                she smiled,  finding safety in the distance.

                The worlds clashed –

                and parted  (don’t they always?)

Shubramant the golden, whatever for?


 (J. Malek, Saqqara,  4/11/82)


Cats. A Literary Anthology

edited by Carolyn M. Jones, published by The British Library (ISBN 978-0-7123-5777-7) in 2015. I am delighted that an extract from my The Cat in Ancient Egypt has been included. I am preceded by Herodotus and followed by Rudyard Kipling, so I am in very good company.

A facsimile copy of the paintings in the burial chamber of the tomb of Tutankhamun

has been installed in the vicinity of the Carter House on the approach to the Valley of the Kings by the team of Factum Arte, Madrid, led by Adam Lowe. I had the pleasure of writing the texts accompanying the twenty-three panels with photographs showing Carter's work in the tomb in 1922-1932. The photographs, most of them by Harry Burton, come from the Archive of the Griffith Institute in Oxford and the panels were designed by Blanca Nieto. For more details, images and the list of other participants in the project see the website of Factum Arte. The photographs accompanying this note are by Ferdinand Saumarez Smith, copyright Factum Arte, included with permission.

Volume iii of the Topographical Bibliography is now available online from the websiteof the Griffith Institute:

B. Porter and R. L. B. Moss, assisted by E. W. Burney, edited by J. Malek, Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings, iii. Memphis. Part 1. Abu Rawash to Abusir. 2nd ed. revised and augmented. Oxford: Griffith Institute. 1974. ISBN 0 900416 19X. Online version.

B. Porter and R. L. B. Moss, assisted by E. W. Burney, edited by J. Malek, Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings, iii. Memphis. Part 2. Saqqara to Dahshur. 2nd ed. revised and augmented. Oxford: Griffith Institute. 1981. ISBN 0 900416 238. Online version.

Also volumes i and ii (2nd edition)  and iv-vii can be consulted on the same site (but not volume viii parts 1-4).

The Tutankhamun notebooks of Alfred Lucas.

The work in the tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter and his team in 1922-32 was one of the first excavations in Egypt during which the finds were meticulously conserved and restored. This was the task of Alfred Lucas, the chemist to the Egyptian Antiquities Service. The are now available online on the website of the Griffith Institute ( They were edited by Jaromir Malek and Vincent Razanajao, and others involved in this enterprise were Lindsay Allen (transcript), Kent Rawlinson and Jenni Navratil (scanning), and Elizabeth Fleming and Cat Warsi (coordination). Such notes will be of immense value to conservators in the future. For the whole discovery, go to

Some more recent publications

"The golden pharaoh". Minerva. The International Review of Ancient Art & Archaeology 30 [5] (September/October 2019), 14-21.

J. Malek and J. D. Ray, The Graffiti from the Memphite Serapeum. Oxford: Perdita Press. 2017. Pp. 85, ills. ISBN 978-0-9955648-1-7.

'Jaroslav Cerny (1898-1970).' In: Predrag Bukovec (ed.), Christlicher Orient im Portrat - Wissenschaftsgeschichte des Christlichen Orients 2. Hamburg: Verlag Dr. Kovac. 2014. Pp. 795-802.

Some more recent lectures

"Adoration of the Great Cat" (The British Library, London, March 7, 2019)

"The City of Memphis - Egypt herself" (St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society, St Albans, March 5, 2019)

(with Hana Navrátilová) "Oxfordskí českí egyptológovia o tajoch každodenného života v starovekom Egypte"  (SVU Československá společnost pro vědu a umění, London, September 22, 2018)

More recent ephemera

'Rich and great.' In: R. Landgrafova and J. Mlynarova (eds.), Rich and Great. Studies in Honour of Anthony J. Spalinger on his 70th Feast of Thoth. Prague: Charles University in Prague. 2016. P. 7.

'Foreword.' in: Jason Thompson, Wonderful Things. A History of Egyptology i. Cairo: AUC Press. 2015.