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

            (didn't 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 arrived before we had 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

            (no, don't say more)

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.

Shubramant the black and white, whatever for?

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?

(Saqqara, 4/11/82)


Cats. A Literary Anthology, edited by Carolyn M. Jones, published by The British Library (ISBN 978-0-7123-5777-7). 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 website of 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, Abû Rawâsh to Abûsîr. 2nd ed. revised and augmented. Oxford: Griffith Institute. 1974. ISBN 0 900416 19 X. 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. Saqqâra to Dahshûr. 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 last of his notebooks, dating to 1928-9, has just been made available online on the website of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford ( ). It was 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:

"Rich and great". In: R. Landgrafova and J. Mynarova (eds.), Rich and Great. Studies in Honour of Anthony J. Spalinger on the Occasion of his 70th Feast of Thoth (Prague: Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Arts, 2016), 7.

"Jaroslav Černý (1898-1970)". In: Predrag Bukovec (ed.), Christlicher Orient im Porträt - Wissenschaftsgeschichte des Christlichen Orients 2, Hamburg, Verlag Dr. Kovač (2014), 795-802. [195]

review of K. Antonicek, R. H
ölzl and L. Jůn (eds.), Egypt and Austria VII. Representations   (Prague, 2012). ASTENE Bulletin 60 (Summer 2014), 15-16.

covering Tutankhamun: the inside story". Minerva. The International Review of Ancient Art & Archaeology 25 [4] (July/ August 2014), 28-31.

Recent lectures:

"Od Vltavy k Nilu a Temzi: egyptolog Jaroslav Cerny (1898-1970)" (SVU Ceskoslovenska spolecnost pro vedy a umeni, London, January 28, 2017)

"The city of Memphis and its cemeteries in the Old Kingdom" (Abusir and Saqqara in the Year 2015, Prague, June 24, 2015)

"The current state of publication of the tomb of Tutankhamun: the reasons for it and where to go from here" (1st International Tutankhamun GEM Conference. Moving and Displaying. 10-14 May 2015).

"Howard Carter: from artist to archaeologist". (Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, exhibition Discovering Tutankhamun, November 1, 2014)

"The tomb of Tutankhamun: was it really intact?" and "The 5,398 objects found in the tomb of Tutankhamun: how did they get them all in?" (Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, Egyptomania, October 31, 2014)

"Reflections of wonderful things: Howard Carter's records of the tomb of Tutankhamun" (Oxford, Griffith Institute / Ashmolean Museum, September 18, 2014)

"The riddle of Tutankhamun's tomb" (Oxford, ASTENE, August 16, 2014)

"Objev hrobky krále Tutanchamona ". (Bratislava, exhibition Tutanchamon. Jeho hrobka a poklady, August 14, 2014)

"The tomb of Tutankhamun: some unresolved problems" (Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, exhibition Discovering Tutankhamun, August 2,  2014).

"It's the economy, stupid!" Egyptian society and economy in the Pyramid Age (Brighton, Sussex Egyptology Society, May 17, 2014). See the society website. Synopsis by Marilyn Smith and Jeff Blunsdon in Papyrus. Sussex Egyptology Society. The Society's Newsletter Akhet 2014 Edition, pp. 14-16.

The division of Egyptian Pharaohs into dynasties: true or false? (Bournemouth, Wessex Ancient Egypt Society, April 5, 2014). See the society website.

"It's the economy, stupid!" Egyptian society and economy in the Pyramid Age (Three Counties Ancient History Society, Upton Snodsbury, January 16, 2014) . See the society website.

Recent ephemera:

“Foreword”. In: Jason Thompson, Wonderful Things. A History of Egyptology i (Cairo, AUC Press, 2015).

"Howard Carter's documentation of the tomb of Tutankhamun". A brief presentation at the inauguration of the Initiation Zone , Museum Garden, Egyptian Museum, Cairo, December 14, 2014.

The latest addition to the Malfine collection of 19th-century photographs of Egypt:

Malfine photo. 31

Field threshing floor

photographer not known

albumen print

26.6 by 20.7 cm

1518 Battage du blé à  Minieh


Work in progress

A small monograph on "The Graffiti from the Saqqara Serapeum", prepared jointly with John D. Ray, is nearly ready to go to the press. This is inscription No. 36, of a certain Hetepnihap, of the Ptolemaic Period.