Professor Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner Appointed Chair and Graduate Chair of the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations

July 4, 2022 by Our Department News

Professor Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner has been appointed Chair and Graduate Chair of the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, effective July 1, 2022 until June 30, 2027.

Professor Pouls Wegner received her PhD in Egyptology with a specialization in Egyptian Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania, and has been teaching at the University of Toronto in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations since 2000. She is currently Associate Professor of Egyptian Archaeology, and has served as Associate Chair and Undergraduate Coordinator for the Department. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on Ancient Egyptian archaeology, social and political history, culture, and artifacts (utilizing the collections of the Royal Ontario Museum), and also provides students with opportunities to participate in her archaeological research program focusing on sacred landscape, performative rituals, and votive activity at the site of Abydos in southern Egypt.

Professor Pouls Wegner’s research interests include: landscape archaeology and the reconstruction of aspects of ancient ceremonial activity through analysis of material culture and spatial patterning, the roles of state and private agency as well as animals and objects in the development of the environment, experiential aspects of ceremonial activity and sacred place, state formation, cultural interaction.

She is the Director of the Toronto Abydos Votive Zone Project, an ongoing archaeological field project under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania-Yale University-Institute of Fine Arts, New York University Expedition to Abydos ( The project’s discovery of a previously unknown temple built during the reign of Thutmose III (ca. 1450 BCE) at Abydos in the course of archaeological excavations in the Votive Zone site produced dramatic new evidence of popular ritual practice and state-level activity in the cult center of the god Osiris. The area formed the setting for an annual performative festival in which the murder and subsequent transformation and resurrection of Osiris were re-enacted. The identification of a second, less well-preserved structure of the same period provides further evidence of a coherent large-scale building program through which the state exerted control over the development of the sacred landscape. Intact, stratified archaeological deposits associated with the royal structures allow a rare glimpse of activities carried out there over the course of more than 1500 years, and point to their highly specialized function within the context of the local cult.

NMC would like to thank Professor Timothy Harrison who has been the Chair of NMC since July 1, 2011, and Professor Paul-Alain Beaulieu for his service as Interim Chair and Interim Graduate Chair over the past two months.