Archaeology (archaeology of Egypt and Nubia [the Sudan], ethnicity, culture contact and imperialism, ideology and legitimization, funerary practice, ceramics and residue analysis)
PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
British Museum, 2006 Kirwan Memorial Lecture. The Kirwan Memorial Lecture was inaugurated in 2000 in honor of the First President of the Sudan Archaeological Research Society, Sir Laurence Kirwan (1907-1999), whose interest and involvement in Sudanese archaeology spanned over 60 years. Speakers to date have included a number of senior scholars whose work has made significant contributions to Nubian archaeology.
Professor Smith’s research centers on the civilizations of ancient Egypt and Nubia. He is particularly interested in the identification of ethnicity in the archaeological record and the ethnic dynamics of colonial encounters. The origins of the Napatan state, whose rulers conquered Egypt, becoming Pharaohs of the 25th Dynasty, provides the focus of his current archaeological research. He has published on the dynamics of Egyptian imperialism and royal ideology, the use of sealings in administration, death and burial in ancient Egypt and Nubia, and the ethnic, social and economic dynamics of interaction between ancient Egypt and Nubia. Smith’s material specialization lies in ceramic analysis, including the chemical characterization of absorbed residues. He is also an active field archaeologist, having participated in and led archeological expeditions to Egypt, including the Luxor’s Theban Necropolis, and since 1997 to Sudanese Nubia, where he directs excavations at third cataract of the Nile in the New Kingdom and Napatan cemetery of Tombos, along with co-director and UCSB alum Prof. Michele R. Buzon of Purdue University, discovering pyramids of the Egyptian and Nubian elite. From 2007-2009 he also excavated at the fourth cataract, contributing to the Merowe Dam Salvage Project in a joint project with Prof. Brenda Baker of Arizona State University.
In 1993, he took a break from the academic world and became the Egyptological Consultant on the hit MGM movie ‘Stargate,’ giving advice on the script, sets and costumes, and recreating spoken ancient Egyptian for about half the movie’s dialog. He renewed his Hollywood connection in 1998 by consulting on the script and reconstructing spoken ancient Egyptian for another hit movie, the recent Universal remake of ‘The Mummy,’ continuing this work in 2000 with the sequel ‘The Mummy Returns.’
UCSB-Purdue Tombos Project (2000-Present)
UCSB-ASU Fourth Cataract Archaeological Expedition, a part of the Merowe Dam Archaeological Salvage Project (2003-2009)
UCLA Dongola Reach Survey (1996-1999)
Askut Publication Project (on the UCLA excavations of the late Alexander Badawy, which contributed to the Aswan High Dam Salvage Campaign in the early 1960’s, currently curated at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History)
Participant in the UCSB Center for Middle East Studies Fulbright Hays Teacher Training Program (http://www.cmes.ucsb.edu/outreach.html)
Valley of the Kings, with Nancy Barnard. Oxford University Press, 2003. A book for young adults.
Some affiliations on campus
Center for Middle East Studies
African Studies RFG
Department of Religious Studies (0% affiliation)
Department of History (0% affiliation)
- Wretched Kush: Ethnic Identities and Boundaries in Egypt's Nubian Empire, Routlage London 2003
- Askut in Nubia: The Economics and Ideology of Egyptian Imperialism in the Second Millennium BC. Kegan Paul 1995
- In Empires and Complexity: On the Crossroads of Archaeology, Gregory Areshian, ed., Revenge of the Kushites: Assimilation and resistance in Egypt’s New Kingdom empire and Nubian ascendancy over Egypt. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, Los Angeles, 2013.
- In Sacred Darkness: A Global Perspective on the Ritual Use of Caves, Holley Moyes, ed., The Chamber of Secrets: Grottos, Caves, and the Underworld in Ancient Egyptian Religion, University of Colorado Press, Boulder, Colorado, 2012.
- “A portion of life solidified: Understanding ancient Egypt through the integration of archaeology and history.” Journal of Egyptian History 3 (2010): 159-189.
- Julia Carrano, Jeffrey R. Ferguson, Gary H. Girty, Stuart T. Smith, “A Chemical Analysis of Ancient Nubian and Egyptian Style Ceramics: Evaluating the Substance of Style,” Mitteilungen des Archäologisches Instituts, Kairo 64:35-61.
- In Box Office Archaeology, Julie M. Schablitsky, ed., Unwrapping The Mummy: Hollywood Fantasies, Egyptian Realities Left Coast Press, 2007.
- In Anthropology and Egyptology, Judy Lustig, ed., State and Empire in the Middle and New Kingdoms. Sheffield, 1999.
- In Studies in Culture Contact, James Cusick, ed., Nubia and Egypt: Interaction, Acculturation, and Secondary State Formation from the Third to First Millennium BC. Center of Archaeological Investigations, 1998.