Betsy M. Bryan

Betsy Bryan

Vice Dean for Humanities and Social Sciences

Wyman N619

Dr. Betsy M. Bryan is the Alexander Badawy Professor of Egyptian Art and Archaeology at Johns Hopkins University, where she has taught since 1986. Dr. Bryan specializes in the history, art, and archaeology of the New Kingdom in Egypt, ca. 1600-1000 B.C., with a particular emphasis on the 18th Dynasty, ca. 1550-1300 B.C.

Dr. Bryan's research interests include the organization and techniques of art production as well as the religious and cultural significance of tomb and temple decoration. As part of this research she studies the social meaning of painting and sculpture in the 18th Dynasty as well as the interrelationships of cult and craft.

Since 2001 Dr. Bryan has led the Johns Hopkins fieldwork project in the temple complex of the goddess Mut at South Karnak. Her excavation and conservation work focuses on defining the earliest forms of the temple of Mut of Isheru and clarifying the ritual functions of that goddess between approximately 1700 and 1200 B.C.. Excavations behind the temple have identified the support areas to the temple in that period, where granaries, bakeries, and ceramic kilns have been discovered. The nature of the goddess Mut’s cult before 1350 B.C. has been greatly changed by the results of the work, and currently Dr. Bryan is working with an interdisciplinary team of archaeologists, surveyors, geophysical experts, osteologists, and ceramicists to publish fifteen years of work at the site. 

Dr. Bryan has also been interested in the presentation of Egypt's visual history to the public. With Arielle Kozloff and the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1992 she created the traveling exhibition and accompanying book on the art of the reign of Amenhotep III, "Egypt's Dazzling Sun." The form presented in Cleveland won the Apollo award as best exhibition of the year. Between 2002 and 2007 Dr. Bryan was guest curator and catalogue editor to the National Gallery of Art for the traveling exhibition from Egypt, "The Quest for Immortality” (2002-2006), which illustrated New Kingdom concepts of afterlife, particularly associated with the ancient book called the Amduat, "that which is in the netherworld." Dr. Bryan has also consulted for reinstallations at the Walters Art Museum and the National Museum of Natural History and since 2006 has been Director of the Johns Hopkins University Archaeological Museum. The new facility and installation opened in December 2010, and Dr. Bryan worked with former Trustee Marjorie Fisher to bring the world class Eton College Egyptian Myers Collection to Johns Hopkins for twenty years. It is being used as part of undergraduate and graduate curriculum, while students and faculty catalogue and photograph the nearly 3000 objects representing Egypt’s past between 4000 B.C. and 1000 A.D.