Egyptian Museum Turin, facsimile of the Book of the Dead of Iuefankh

Research Expertise and Interest

Egyptology, Egyptian, afrofuturism, magic, demonology, digital humanities, 3D modeling, virtual reality, prison higher education, ritual and religion

Research Description

Rita Lucarelli is an Associate Professor of Egyptology in the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Culture, and the Class of 1939 Chair of Undergraduate Education.  She is the Faculty Curator of Egyptology at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology and a Fellow of the Digital Humanities at UC Berkeley. She is presently working at a project aiming at realizing 3D models of ancient Egyptian coffins, the Book of the Dead in 3D. She is also completing a new monograph on demonology in ancient Egypt entitled Agents of punishment and protection: ancient Egyptian Demonology in the First Millenium BCE.

Rita Lucarelli teaches, lectures and researches Egyptomania and the reception of ancient Egypt in the contemporary world, in particular on the representation of ancient Egypt in Afrofuturism. She also teaches courses of Egyptology, Comparative Religion and Interdisciplinary Writing at  San Quentin State Prison through the Mount Tamalpais College (

Rita Lucarelli studied at the University of Naples “L’Orientale,” Italy, where she received her MA degree in Classical Languages and Egyptology. She holds her Ph.D. from Leiden University, the Netherlands.  Her Ph.D. thesis was published as The Book of the Dead of Gatseshen: Ancient Egyptian Funerary Religion in the 10th Century BC. She worked as a Research Scholar and a Lecturer at the Department of Egyptology of Bonn University, where she was part of the team of the “Book of the Dead Project”.

In the News

A tomb with a view: Egyptologist recreates after-death experience

If playing the video game Assassin’s Creed Origins is as close as you’re likely to get to a pharaoh’s tomb — especially in this time of pandemic-thwarted travel — look no further than UC Berkeley for an expedition into an Egyptian burial chamber that won’t expose you to a mummy’s curse.

What crocodile mummies can tell us about everyday life in ancient Egypt

More than 100 years after their discovery, 19 mummified crocodiles are part of the Egyptian collection at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. These mummies, along with a collection of papyri held by the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri at the Bancroft Library, give us clues about how everyday ancient Egyptians lived and how far they went to appease crocodiles, hoping their devotion would win them some good will toward humankind.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
March 11, 2021
Mindy Weisberger
The tomb of an ancient Egyptian called "the Doctor," found in the necropolis of Saqqara, Egypt, inscribed with mystical spells invoking gods and demonic guardians, comes to life in a new immersive virtual reality experience. "You can have the experience of entering a tomb, walking around a coffin and interacting with these beautiful funerary texts and images," said project lead Rita Lucarelli, an associate professor of Near Eastern Studies and faculty curator of Egyptology at the Hearst Museum at UC Berkeley. For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News.
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