University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Picardo, Nicholas S.

Nicholas S. Picardo
Research Associate, Harvard University, The Giza Project
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Elected: 1997

Nicholas graduated from Penn in 1997 summa cum laude with a B.A. in Anthropology. He was Phi Beta Kappa (1997), Dean's Scholar, Benjamin Franklin Scholar, and received the Department of Anthropology Undergraduate Thesis Prize. During his graduate career, in addition to the Kolb fellowship, he has received the William Penn Fellowship (1997–2001) and the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs Fellowship (2003–2004). His dissertation, supervised by Prof. Josef W. Wegner is entitled "The Hybrid Household:  A Diachronic Study of Household Activity and Administration Through an Analysis of a Single Elite Domestic Unit in the Town of Wah-sut at South Abydos." Senior Fellows David Silverman and Robert Preucel are also advisors.

Nicholas is now a Research Associate at Harvard University, continuing his work on the Giza Project. He was employed as a Research Associate at the Giza Archives Project of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2010–2011). He has taught household archaeology to undergraduate and graduate students as a Visiting Instructor of Egyptology in the Department of Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies at Brown University (2010). He worked periodically as Research Associate in the Art of the Ancient World Department of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston since 2005. As Curatorial Research Associate (2008–2010) he co-curated the archaeologically oriented exhibition The Secrets of Tomb 10A: Egypt 2000 BC, for which he also co-authored the exhibit's companion volume of the same name (MFA Publications, 2009). He has recently given papers or invited lectures at the 61st Annual Meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt, Brown University, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Nicholas' research interests include domestic/household archaeology, settlement archaeology, Old and Middle Kingdom Egypt, ancient Egyptian society, magic and religious/ritual practices, performance studies, and material culture studies. Though his earliest excavation experience was in northwestern Pennsylvania, he has worked mainly in Egypt at the sites of Abydos, Giza, and Saqqara. His own archaeological fieldwork operates under the auspices of the Pennsylvania-Yale-Institute of Fine Arts, New York University Expedition to Abydos.  Nicholas is Director of the South Abydos Settlement Excavation E (SASEE) Project, from which his dissertation research is drawn. He recently contributed an article, "(Ad)dressing Washptah: Illness or Injury in the Vizier's Death, as Related in His Tomb Biography," to the Jubilee volume in honor of Senior Fellow David Silverman. He explored one interest in the archaeology of ancient Egyptian funerary religion with the article "'Semantic Homicide' and the So-called Reserve Heads: The Theme of Decapitation in Egyptian Funerary Religion and Some Implications for the Old Kingdom," Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, 43 (2007): 221–252. He has twice (2006, 2007) written on aspects of work at Abydos, Egypt for the Penn Museum Journal, Expedition, and has contributed several entries/articles to a recent World History Encyclopedia, ABC-Clio, 2011.


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