Carina van den Hoven is Research Fellow at NINO and Collaborateur Scientifique of the Research Unit UMR 8546 AOrOc « Archéologie et philologie d’Orient et d’Occident » at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE/PSL), École Normale Supérieure (ENS), and Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).
Since 2017 she is Director of the Leiden University Mission to the Theban Necropolis, which undertakes a fieldwork project in Theban Tomb 45 in Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the West Bank of Luxor (see www.StichtingAEL.nl).
Van den Hoven’s expertise and research interests in Egyptology are in the function and materiality of Ancient Egyptian temple decoration and tomb decoration, and the practices and rituals they reflect. Her research focuses not only on Pharaonic Egypt, but extends into the Graeco-Roman Period, and addresses in particular the topics of textual and iconographic transmission processes, uses and reuses of the past, cultural memory, and cultural identity in Ancient Egypt. Van den Hoven’s research interests also include cultural heritage management and the field of Digital Humanities and its applications to Egyptology, and in particular the use of photogrammetry, digital epigraphy, and digital imaging techniques in the documentation and material analysis of ancient wall paintings.
Van den Hoven obtained her first doctoraal (BA and MA) degree in French language and literature at Leiden University in 2005, specialising in 19th century French travel literature. The topic of her doctoraal (MA) thesis was concerned with male and female perspectives on 19th century Egypt, based on an analysis of the travel narratives of Suzanne Voilquin, Gérard de Nerval, Valérie de Gasparin, Gustave Flaubert and Maxime Du Camp.
In 2009 Van den Hoven obtained her second doctoraal (BA and MA) degree in Egyptology at Leiden University, specialising in Egyptian art & archaeology as well as in the entire range of ancient Egyptian languages and writing systems (6-year curriculum). The topic of her doctoraal (MA) thesis in Egyptology was concerned with an analysis of the decoration system of the temple of Kalabsha and the ways in which it reflects the ritual landscape of the Dodecaschoenos and imperial religious policy in Lower-Nubia in the early Roman Period.
In 2017 Van den Hoven obtained a double PhD degree in Egyptology at Leiden University and the École Pratique des Hautes Études/Université Paris Sciences et Lettres (EPHE/PSL). Her PhD research was concerned with an analysis of the use of tradition and the conceptualisation of innovation in the composition of ritual texts and temple wall decoration in Ptolemaic Egypt (304-30 BCE). This analysis allowed her to identify various modes and strategies of textual and iconographic transmission that were used by the ancient scribes in the processes of composing religious ritual texts and temple wall decoration. The importance of tradition in the Ptolemaic temples has often been explained as a way of preserving the indigenous religious traditions in the face of a dominant Greek culture, and as a statement by the Egyptian priests against their marginalization under foreign rule, which is thought to have led to a loss of indigenous culture and identity. However, Van den Hoven’s research has shown that the Ptolemaic temples were a major contemporary cultural phenomenon in themselves and constituted the intellectual centers of the indigenous culture, in which Egyptian cultural identity was defined. The intensive religious life in the Ptolemaic temples, including the composition of numerous new religious texts, indicates that processes of redefining cultural and religious identity on the basis of tradition were at work rather than processes of loss of indigenous culture and identity. Van den Hoven argued therefore that Ptolemaic temple culture should be described in terms of creativity and innovation, rather than in terms of decline and fall.
Van den Hoven’s current research continues on the topic of referencing the past in Ancient Egypt, but from a new perspective. Since 2017 she directs an international fieldwork project in Theban Tomb no. 45 in the Theban Necropolis, near modern Luxor (see www.StichtingAEL.nl). This tomb is a fascinating case of tomb reuse, in which the original painted decoration (ca. 1400 BCE) was respectfully altered by the second tomb owner (ca. 1200 BCE) in order to conform to contemporary style and taste. This fieldwork project is the starting point for Van den Hoven’s current research project, which investigates the topic of the tensions between religious ideals of respectful care for the dead on the one hand and the actual practice of reuse of tombs and burial equipment on the other. Traditionally, the study of Ancient Egyptian funerary religion and mortuary practice focuses on the analysis of conceptions of the afterlife, grave goods and funerary rituals. Van den Hoven’s research project takes a new approach and explores Ancient Egyptian mortuary practice in terms of the ways in which the Ancient Egyptians used and interacted with the mortuary landscape and its monuments in order to connect with their own past and ancestors.
From 2006 onwards Van den Hoven participated in various international fieldwork projects in Egypt, at Saqqara and at Dakhleh Oasis. Since 2017 she is Director of the Leiden University Mission to the Theban Necropolis, which undertakes conservation, documentation, publication, art historical analysis, heritage preservation and site management activities in Theban Tomb 45 in Sheikh Abd el-Qurna on the West Bank of Luxor.
From 2013 to 2015 Van den Hoven held a position as lecturer in Egyptology at Leiden University, teaching various courses on Bachelor, Master and Research Master levels in the multidisciplinary programs “Ancient Cultures of the Mediterranean World” and “Classics and Ancient Civilizations”. Since 2016 she has been a guest lecturer in the Research Master program “Classics and Ancient Civilizations”.
Since 2015 Van den Hoven has been editor-in-chief of Phoenix, a Dutch-language journal for the archaeology, history and cultures of the Ancient Near East and Egypt. She is also a board member of Ex Oriente Lux, the Netherlands-Flemish Association for Ancient Near Eastern Studies.