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Donald Redford

Donald Redford

Professor, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies and History

325 Weaver Building University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 863-8945


  1. BA, MA, PhD University of Toronto
  2. FRSC – Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada


Sometime vice-president of the Canadian Mediterranean Institute; sometime trustee of the American Schools of Oriental Research; research associate of the University Museum (UPenn) and the Royal Ontario Museum; president of the new CIC institute in Cairo; editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopaedia of Ancient Egypt (2001). Director – Akhenaten Temple Project (1972-1976), East Karnak Excavations (1976-1991), Mendes Excavations (1991-present), Tel Kedwa excavations, Sinai, (1993-1997).  Sometime consultant for Dreamworks, and has appeared in numerous documentaries on Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, French television, Deutsche Welle, and ABC’s Nightline.

Professor Redford is a historian and philologist of north-east Africa and the Near East. He was trained in Semitics and Akkadian under W. Lambert, J.V. Kinnier-Wilson, and A. Sachs; and in Egyptian language under R.A. Parker, H.J. Polotsky and R. Caminos. From 1964-1967 he served under Dame Kathleen Kenyon in the excavations of the old city of Jerusalem. In 1976 he discovered the oldest temple of the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten, and in subsequent years revealed a major domestic area of the capital city of Thebes. From 1991 his annual expeditions to Mendes in the Nile Delta  have contributed to our knowledge of the advent of complex society and state formation in Egypt c. 3100 BCE; and have refined and added to our knowledge of Egypt in the Late and Hellenistic Periods (c. 700 – 200 BCE). Professor Redford has produced and advised over 30 successful PhD candidates, all of them having achieved “placement.”

Recent Publications:

A History of Ancient Egypt, Dubuque IA (Kendall-Hunt), 2007.

Delta Reports I. Research in Lower Egypt, Oxford (David Brown), 2009.

“Some Observations on the Traditions surrounding ‘Israel in Egypt,’” in O. Lipschits, G.N. Knoppers, M. Oeming (eds), Judah and the Judaeans in the Achaemenid Period, (Winona Lake [Eisebraun’s], 2011), 279-364.

City of the Ram-Man: the Story of Ancient Mendes, Princeton (Princeton University Press), 2010.

Recent Courses:

CAMS 020 - Egyptian Civilization
CAMS 481 - Introduction to Middle Egyptian & Hieroglyphics
CAMS 496 - Independent Studies (Archaic Egyptian, Old Egyptian, Late Egyptian, Demotic, Coptic)
CAMS 497A - Seminars in the Amarna Period, Race Relations in Ancient Egypt, Egypt and the Bible, the Amarna Letters

Student Testimonial

“The Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies is an incredibly helpful community of individuals who love to learn. The faculty members of this department are very thoughtful and provide invaluable assistance to otherwise confused undergraduates. (...)
The smaller department size allows students to establish relationships with faculty and to establish a community in a school that might otherwise seem dauntingly large. The Classics and the study of the ancient Mediterranean world are strong at Penn State. For a school that prides itself on cutting-edge research and applied sciences, Penn State is a superb promoter of the Humanities. This support allows the CAMS department to recruit world-class faculty, provide generous funding and aid to undergraduates, and establish resources for research. The structure of the department was a perfect fit for me and allowed me to explore a wide-range of subjects related to my interests. In my four years in the program, I strengthened my Latin and Greek and was also able to study Egyptian Hieroglyphs and Sumerian. I now look forward to continuing my training in philology as I pursue graduate study.”

Timothy W. Dooley
2011 CAMS graduate

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