Dr Lidija McknightBSc, MSc, PhD

Research Associate

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Overview

Through my research, I use non-invasive radiographic imaging techniques to study mummified human and animal remains from ancient Egypt. Mummies are generally wrapped in linen bandages and it is often impossible to see what the bundles contain simply by examining them visually. The use of radiographic techniques such as X-ray and CT scanning, enables us to see what the bundles contain without disturbing the integrity of the bundle and causing irreparable damage. I use enhanced 3D visualisation software and 3D printing to improve identification of anomalies. As techniques improve, the quality of images we can acquire also improves and we are able to gather more and more information about the animals and the way they lived, died, and were treated at the hands of the embalmers.

Engaging the public with academic research and improving our knowledge of museum collections remain key factors behind my research. In turn, this improves accessibility and interpretation of museum objects and creates enthusiasm for the study of ancient civilisations. I enjoy supporting fellow researchers through mentoring, reviewing and assessing applications and publications, and through sharing my knowledge and experience of academia.

Biography

My fascination with archaeology and historic buildings began as a young child, intrigued by the history and experiences of people, animals and places in the past. Studying for a BSc in Archaeology at the University of York was something of a logical progression, combining learning about archaeology in a city with a rich and varied history. It was during my time at York that I first became involved in the study of Egyptian mummies; a research area which went on to form the focus of my academic career. 

The study of the ancient Egyptian civilisation and its material culture has long captivated the imagination of people of all ages. I work extensively with broadcast and print media to share my research with the general public. Recently, this includes live and pre-recorded features for the BBC, Channel 4, the Discovery Channel, Discovery Science, local and national television and radio stations, and international print media outlets. In my role as Honorary Curator of Archaeozoology at Manchester Museum, I passionately work towards improving accessibility to cultural collections, to enhance learning and to promote interaction with the people of the past, particularly for the underrepresented groups within the visitor demographic. As Project Curator of a touring exhibition developed around my research, I continue to gain valuable expertise in exhibition design, content, contractual arrangements, artefact selection and care, logistics, cross-institution communication, project management and public engagement. The interdisciplinary nature of my research relies on my ability to manage projects across academic and cultural institutions, to forge and maintain exemplary collaborative relationships with partners in the public, private and heritage sectors, and to communicate science to broad audiences in a comprehensive way.  Ultimately, with advancements in science and technology continuing at lightening pace, the ability to work across disciplinary and institutional boundaries to investigate material culture, and to present results in interactive and captivating ways, leads to an increased understanding of the past.

I am an experienced grant writer, having successfully attracted funding for my own research from the Leverhulme Trust, the Wellcome Trust, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the University of Manchester and charitable trusts. I regularly support colleagues with reviewing their own grant applications and publications. I mentor post-doctoral researchers and assess portfolios submitted for accreditation to the Higher Education Academy, and I support candidates on the Institute of Leadership and Management ‘Researchers into Management’ course.

External positions

Visiting Researcher, Mummy Studies Field School, University of Nebraska-Lincoln & Department of Cultural Heritage and Sicilian Identity

1 Jul 2017 → …

Honorary Curator of Archaeo-Zoology, Manchester Museum

18 Sep 2014 → …

Project Director, Perth Mummy Project

1 Jun 2013 → …

Vice Chair of Governing Body (Parent), New Mills Nursery School

1 May 20121 Jul 2018

Areas of expertise

Keywords

  • imaging, image processing, animal mummies, mummified remains, radiography

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2009 - Doctor of Philosophy, Egyptology, The University of Manchester (2004 - 2008)
  • 2001 - Master in Science, Biomedical and Forensic Studies in Egyptology, The University of Manchester (2000 - 2001)
  • 2000 - Bachelor of Science, Archaeology, LocalizedString(id=76155869, text={en_GB=University of York}) (1997 - 2000)

Related information

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Prizes

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