The Netherlands Institute for the Near East

Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten  -  Institut nĂ©erlandais du Proche-Orient

Carina van den Hoven is Research Fellow at NINO and Chercheur Associée at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, Équipe d’Accueil 4519 “Egypte ancienne: archéologie, langue, religion”. 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 on the West Bank of Luxor.

Van den Hoven’s expertise and research interests in Egyptology are in the principles and practice of temple decoration and tomb decoration, focusing on the interplay between iconography, inscriptions, architecture and religious ideas. Her research focuses not only on Pharaonic Egypt, but extends into the Graeco-Roman Period, and addresses such varied topics as textual and iconographic transmission processes, uses and reuses of the past, archaeology of religion, landscape archaeology, and collective memory. She also has a keen interest in Digital Humanities and its applications to Egyptology, especially digital epigraphy, photogrammetry, 3D-modelling and 4D-visualisation.

Academic education and research

Van den Hoven obtained her first Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in French language and literature at Leiden University in 2005, specialising in 19th century French travel literature. The topic of her MA-thesis was concerned with male and female perspectives on 19th century Egypt. The analysis was based on 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 Bachelor’s and Master’s 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 MA-thesis was concerned with an analysis of the decoration-system of the temple of Kalabsha and the ways in which it reflects the cultic 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. Her PhD research was 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. 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. Van den Hoven’s research was not only an analysis of the role and function of tradition in new ritual compositions, but it also examined the extent of originality of these compositions. This approach allowed her to reach new conclusions on the conceptualization of innovation in Ancient Egyptian ritual composition. Van den Hoven successfully obtained various (inter)national grants for this research. The results of her research have been published in several (peer reviewed) articles. She is currently preparing the publication of her PhD dissertation as a monograph.

Van den Hoven’s postdoctoral research focuses on the topic of the mechanisms and motives behind tomb reuse in New Kingdom Egypt. Tomb reuse was widespread in Ancient Egypt. Consequently, much information is available in terms of archaeological data. However, there is a surprising lack of academic research on this topic. Tomb reuse is generally documented only as part of the life-histories of individual tombs, i.e. detached from its wider historical, cultural, and geographic context. Van den Hoven’s research project takes a new approach and explores tomb reuse in terms of the theoretical concepts of space and memory. In doing so, she aims to go beyond the investigation of apparent motives associated with individual cases of tomb reuse, and to present an innovative understanding of the collective way in which the Ancient Egyptians used and interacted with the landscape and its monuments in order to connect with their own past and ancestors. This new approach opens the way for cross-cultural comparison of the ways in which societies regard the dead and their own past, an important aspect of the wider phenomenon of cultural identity that is still relevant today. The fieldwork project in Theban Tomb 45 forms the starting point for this research project, but the evidence will be contextualised within the wider mortuary landscape of the Theban necropolis.


From 2006 onwards Van den Hoven participated in various international fieldwork projects in Egypt, including the Saqqara Project (Leiden University and National Museum of Antiquities) and the Amheida Project in Dakhleh Oasis (Columbia University and New York University). She also carried out research independently in Egypt to collect unpublished source material for her MA thesis and PhD research.

Since 2017 Van den Hoven 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”.

Public outreach

Since 2015 Van den Hoven has been editor-in-chief of Phoenix, a Dutch-language journal for the archaeology and history 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.

Selected publications

The coronation ritual of the falcon at Edfu: tradition and innovation in ancient Egyptian ritual composition. PhD dissertation, Leiden and Paris 2017.

“Les noms des témoins divins du traité entre le roi Hittite Hattušili III et le pharaon Ramsès II : un exemple d’interpretatio” [with A. Mouton], in: F. Colin, O. Huck and S. Vanséveren (eds), Interpretatio. Traduire l’altérité culturelle dans les civilisations de l’Antiquité. Études d’archéologie et d’histoire ancienne de l’Université de Strasbourg 25. Paris 2015, 67-93.

“Le couronnement du faucon sacré à Edfou : les rituels de confirmation du pouvoir royal”, in: Chr. Zivie-Coche (ed.), Offrandes, rites et rituels dans les temples d'époque ptolémaïque et romaine. Actes de la journée d’études de l’équipe EPHE (EA 4519) « Égypte ancienne : Archéologie, Langue, Religion » Paris, 27 juin 2013. CENiM 10. Montpellier 2015, 185-198.

“The coronation ritual of the sacred living falcon at Edfu: a divine, royal and cyclical rite of passage”, in: A. Mouton and J. Patrier (eds), Life, Death, and Coming of Age in Antiquity: Individual Rites of Passage in the Ancient Near East and Adjacent Regions. PIHANS 124. Leiden 2014, 159-177.

“Balancing the Gods: Planned Decoration in the Temple of Kalabsha”, in: M. Horn, J. Kramer, D. Soliman, N. Staring, C. van den Hoven and L. Weiss (eds), Current Research in Egyptology 2010. Proceedings of the eleventh annual symposium which took place at Leiden University, The Netherlands, 5-8 January 2010. Oxford 2011, 183-196.

For a full list of publications, see profile.