Belgian expansionism and the making of Egyptology, 1830-1952


Art & History Museum Brussels|Museum Kunst & Geschiedenis Brussel|Musée Art & Histoire Bruxelles AH

Wouter Claes

Wouter Claes

Wouter Claes is head of the department of scientific documentation at the Royal Museums of Art and History which houses important archival collections that are crucial to P&P. He has participated in many excavations in Egypt and elsewhere (Syria, Italy, Easter Island,…) and he is currently the acting director of the Belgian Archaeological Mission to Elkab. Besides his interest in early Egyptian settlement archaeology and prehistoric rock art, he has also a keen interest in the accounts of early travellers to Egypt. On the latter subject, he has published in 2014 and in collaboration with Marie-Cécile Bruwier and Arnaud Quertinmont “La Description de l’Égypte de Jean-Jacques Rifaud (1813-1826)”.

Luc Delvaux

Luc Delvaux

Luc Delvaux has a PhD in Egyptology (Université de Strasbourg) and an International Certificate in African Archaeology (University of Brussels). He is Curator of the Dynastic and Greco-Roman Egypt collections at the Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels (RMAH), and Maître d’Enseignement at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He is in charge of the epigraphic projects of the RMAH at the site of Elkab (Upper Egypt), and coordinates the research and publication program on the Egyptian collection of the RMAH.

His main scientific projects are the study and publication of the antiquities of various archaeological sites, kept in the RMAH, and the coordination of Brain research projects.

KU Leuven KUL

Marleen De Meyer

marleen de meyer

Marleen De Meyer is Assistant Director for Archaeology and Egyptology at the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (NVIC) and Postdoctoral Researcher at KU Leuven in Belgium for the EOS Project 'Pyramids and Progress'. She is the Co-Director of the Dayr al-Barsha Project, where since 2002 her work concentrates on Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period funerary culture, on which she also wrote her PhD (2008). She teaches courses mainly in Egyptian archaeology and epigraphy at KUL and NVIC. Within P&P her research focus is on the American career of Jean Capart.

Vincent Oeters

Vincent Oeters

Vincent Oeters studied Egyptology, Archaeology and Arabic at Leiden University. He obtained a MA in Egyptology with a thesis on the tomb of Tatia in Saqqara, excavated in 2009. He conducted fieldwork in the Fayum, Wadi Natrun, Saqqara, Gebel el Silsila and Gebelein. After graduation he worked several years for the international academic publisher Brill. Since 2017 he is the chairman of the Friends of Saqqara foundation. Within P&P he is writing his PhD on the position of Belgian Egyptology in the western intellectual history of the first half of the 20th century.

Athena Van der Perre

athena van der perre

Athena Van der Perre obtained a PhD in Egyptology at the KU Leuven, with a dissertation on Amarna Period limestone quarries in the greater Dayr al-Barsha region (Middle Egypt). Between 2015 and 2017, Athena was involved in the Egyptian Execration Statuettes project at the Art & History Museum, Brussels. In collaboration with the KU Leuven and the museum, she worked on the development and implementation of the multispectral Portable Light Dome for ancient Egyptian heritage. Currently she works as a post-doctoral researcher for the P&P project, and as a teaching assistant at the KU Leuven. Within P&P her research focus lies on the development of the Egyptian collection at the Art & History Museum.

Harco Willems


Prof. dr. Harco Willems, the coordinator of P&P, studied Egyptology at the University of Leiden and defended his PhD at the University of Groningen. Since 1996 he has been professor of Egyptology at KU Leuven. Many of this studies concern the archaeology, philology and social structure of Old and Middle Kingdom Egypt. He is the director of the interdisciplinary archaeological project of KU Leuven to Dayr al-Barshā in Middle Egypt.

In many of his studies he has addressed the historical setting and the evolution in which Egyptological hypotheses developed.

Musée Royal de Mariemont musee-mariemont

Marie-Cécile Bruwier


Marie-Cécile Bruwier (PhD) is Honorary Director of the Musée Royal de Mariemont (Belgium), and is specialized in New Kingdom funerary iconography and in funerary furniture of the Ptolemaic period. She also published several books and papers about ancient travel accounts in Egypt and the history of Egyptology, and co-edited a book about Heliopolis and the building of the Palace Empain in Heliopolis.
She has been a lecturer at the Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve and curator of many exhibitions mostly in Mariemont but also in Namur, Mons and Brussels. She has conducted archaeological research in Smouha (Alexandria) in cooperation with the Centre d’
Études Alexandrines.

Arnaud Quertinmont


Arnaud Quertinmont (PhD) is curator of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at the Musée royal de Mariemont (Belgium) since 2006, and specialized in iconography of hybrid deities, mostly canids (Anubis, Upuaut…) and in meroitic cultures. He curated the exhibition: Dieux, génies, démons en Égypte ancienne (2016), and edited the accompanying catalogue. He is co-editor of the books La Description de l’Égypte de Jean-Jacques Rifaud (1813-1826) and Sur le chemin du Mouseion d’Alexandrie. Études offertes à Marie-Cécile Bruwier (2018).

Sophie Urbain

Sophie Urbain

Sophie Urbain is a historian and archivist, who works since October 2018 as an archivist for the EOS research project. She is currently mandated to compile archives of the metallic structures (mostly bridges on the Nile) built in Egypt by the company Baume et Marpent (Archival holdings located in SAICOM, Bois-du-Luc). Afterwards she will inventorize archives concerning the egyptian artefacts acquired by Raoul Warocqué (1870-1970) and industrial archives related to E. Empain and Heliopolis. Both archival fonds are housed in the Musée royal de Mariemont.

Université libre de Bruxelles ulb

Laurent Bavay


Prof. Laurent Bavay holds the chair of Egyptian archaeology at the Université libre de Bruxelles since 2008, including archaeological methods and fieldschools in Belgium and France. With extensive fieldwork experience in Egypt, his current research focuses on the Theban necropolis, where he leads the joint ULB and Liège University mission studying a group of New Kingdom monumental tombs and their later reuses. From 2015 to 2019, he served as Director of the Institut français d’archéologie orientale (IFAO) in Cairo.

Jean-Michel Bruffaerts

Jean-Michel Bruffaerts

Jean-Michel Bruffaerts is a historian trained at the Université Saint-Louis (Brussels) and the UC Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve). He began his career as a researcher at CRISP (Centre de recherche et d'information socio-politiques, Brussels).  He is the author of publications on the history of the Belgian dynasty (including a biography of Edmond Carton de Wiart, the last chief of staff of King Leopold II) and publications focusing on Jean Capart and the history of Belgian Egyptology. In 2016, he was closely associated with the creation of the Jean Capart Fund, whose aim is to safeguard and promote the work and historical heritage of the founder of Belgian Egyptology. Within P&P, he is finalizing a biography of Jean Capart.

Mathieu Geeraerts

Mathieu Geeraerts

Mathieu Geeraerts obtained a BA Librarian and Documentalist from the Institut Lallemand in 2019. He joins P&P as a documentalist. As one of his primary tasks, he will be in charge of the digitisation of the archives kept at the RMAH.

Gert Huskens

Gert Huskens obtained a MA in History at KU Leuven following a dissertation on Belgian imperialism and diplomacy in China in the era of the Boxer War. Additionally, he acquired an MSc in Comparative and International Politics at the same institution analysing civil society participation in contemporary debates on international development. Combining his expertises as historian and political scientist, Huskens primarily looks at histories of colonialism, expansionism, imperialism, decolonization and postcolonialism. He also contributes regularly to postcolonial debates in Belgian and Dutch media. Within P&P, his PhD focuses on ‘Belgian diplomatic representatives in Egypt before WW1 and the making of Egyptology’.

Joffrey Liénart

Joffrey Liénart

Joffrey Liénart earned a Master's degree in History at the Université libre de Bruxelles with a thesis on Belgian genealogists (1830-1970). He worked as an archivist at the European Commission and at the  State Archives of Belgium. He has also been a researcher at the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Religions and Secularism (CIERL). Within the P&P project, Joffrey will be cataloguing the archival fonds held at the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels, thus rendering these primary sources accessible for further research.

Dorian Vanhulle


Dorian Vanhulle holds a PhD in Egyptology from the Université Libre de Bruxelles thanks to a fellowship of the F.R.S.-FNRS. His research focuses on the Egyptian Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods and on the Egyptian collection of the RMAH. Guest lecturer at Namur University in 2018, he is a member of the Belgian mission in the Theban Necropolis (ULB/ULg), of the archaeological mission in Tell el-Iswid (IFAO), and of the Elkab Desert Survey Project (Yale University). In the context of his post-doctoral position within P&P, he is currently working on Leopold II’s collection of Egyptian antiquities.

Eugène Warmenbol

Warmenbol Eugène

Eugène Warmenbol is professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), where he teaches the archaeology of the Bronze and the Iron Age in Northwestern Europe, with a special focus on what Julius Caesar called Gallia belgica. His career begun on the field in Syria and Egypt, and he wrote his doctoral thesis on the early collections, and collectors, of Egyptian antiquities in Belgium. On this theme, he published “Le lotus et l’oignon. Egyptologie et égyptomanie en Belgique au XIXe siècle" in 2012. The study of the reception of Antiquity has been, and still is, a recurring theme in his research.

Universiteit Gent UGENT

Hans Blomme


Hans Blomme is historian and has been working for Ghent University's History Department since 2012. He has been involved in several Digital Humanity projects and developed skills and knowledge of GIS, spatial history, historical cartography, database systems and content management systems for historical research.

Jan Vandersmissen

Jan Vandersmissen

Jan Vandersmissen holds a PhD in History (2008) from Ghent University. He is interested in the history of science and technology in imperial contexts, more in particular in the scientific and technological aspects of expansionist projects developed by various European nations, as well as in the knowledge transfers that resulted from these undertakings. He published extensively on issues related to the world of travelers, prospectors, geographers, cartographers and environmentalists from the 18thto the 20thcenturies. He is a member of both the Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences (President 2019) and the International Academy of the History of Science.

Christophe Verbruggen


Prof. dr. Christophe Verbruggen is director of the Ghent Centre for Digital Humanities and associate professor at the research unit Social History since 1750. He is also a member of the Institute of Public History and the Centre for the History of Science at Ghent University.Verbruggen directs DARIAH-VL, the Flemish contribution to the European research infrastructure DARIAH (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities). He is specialized in the social history of intellectuals and cultural mobility in the 19th and 20th century.