Dr. Lorelei H. Corcoran

Lorelei Corcoran

PROFESSOR, Egyptian Art and Archaeology

315 Art & Communication
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KV-63, Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt Overlooking the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, Luxor, Egypt CCFA Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research Portrait Mummies from Roman Egypt Overlooking the Valley of the Kings Herakleides: A Portrait Mummy from Roman Egypt The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Epigraphic Work at the Karnak Great Hypostyle Hall


Lorelei H. Corcoran is Professor of Art History in the Department of Art and Director of the Institute of Egyptian Art & Archaeology, a Center of Excellence at the University of Memphis. She is also advisor for the MA and BA concentrations in Egyptian art and archaeology. She earned her BA in Classical Studies at Tufts University and her PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, with a concentration in Egyptology, at the University of Chicago. Dr. Corcoran has an extensive history of fieldwork in Egypt - as epigrapher for the University of Chicago's Epigraphic Survey and for the University of Memphis Great Hypostyle Hall Project and as a staff member on excavations at ancient Memphis, the tomb of Harwa and KV-63 in Luxor (ancient Thebes). As a former assistant curator at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago and former curator of the Egyptian collection of the IEAA, her longtime commitment to museum curatorial work continues to be reflected in her study of material culture and the interconnection of texts and images. Her research focus on the iconography of Egyptian funerary material has led to invitations to lecture at the British Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others, to appearances on television programs from Reading Rainbow to National Geographic specials, and to interviews with the New York Times, the BBC and PBS radio. Her publications include Portrait Mummies from Roman Egypt (1995) and Herakleides: a Portrait Mummy from Roman Egypt (2010) as well as numerous articles on Egyptian art and religion. In 2016, her article, "The Color Blue as an Animator in Ancient Egyptian Art," highlighted her discovery of the earliest evidence for Egyptian blue, the first artificially produced pigment in human history.


  • Ph.D. Egyptology, University of Chicago
  • B.A. Classical Studies, Tufts University


  • Iconography of Funerary Art
  • Interconnection of Text and Image
  • Role and Use of Color in Egyptian Art


  • 2012 - One of the One Hundred Most Influential Women in the One Hundred Year History of the University of Memphis
  • 2012 – College of Communication and Fine Arts, Dean's Outstanding Research Award
  • 2011 – University of Memphis Alumni Award for Distinguished Research in the Humanities


Herakleides: A Portrait Mummy from Roman Egypt. Co-authored with Marie Svoboda. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010).

Portrait Mummies from Roman Egypt (I-IV centuries A.D.): with a Catalog of Portrait Mummies in Egyptian Museums, Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization, vol. 56 (Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1995). 

Selected Book Chapters, Articles and Book Reviews:

"Yellow is not a Metaphor for All [That]'s 'Fair' in Love and War," in Robert K. Ritner, ed., Essays for the Library of Seshat: Studies Presented to Janet H. Johnson on the Occasion of Her 70th Birthday, (Chicago: The Oriental Institute Press, forthcoming).

"The Color Blue as an Animator in Ancient Egyptian Art," in Rachael Goldman, ed., Essays in Global Color History: Interpreting the Ancient Spectrum (NJ: Gorgias Press, 2016), pp. 59-82.

Lorelei H. Corcoran and Fred C. Albertson, "Gendered Color," a review of M.A. Eaverly, Tan Men, Pale Women: Color and Gender in Archaic Greece and Egypt (University of Michigan Press, 2013) in The Classical Review (Cambridge) 65 (2015): 252-54.

"Color Symbolism," in Roger S. Bagnall et al., eds., The Encyclopedia of Ancient History, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, in print and online.

"A miscellany of funerary material from Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt," a review article of Christina Riggs, The Beautiful Burial in Roman Egypt, Art, Identity and Funerary Religion (Oxford University Press, 2005) in Journal of Roman Archaeology 23:2 (2010): 770-72.

"Mummies," in Michael Gagarin, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Vol. 5 (Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 2–3.

"The Mummy, Cartonnage Set and Coffin of Irtwirw," in Mamdouh Eldamaty and May Trad, eds., Egyptian Museum Collections around the World: Studies for the Centennial of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, vol. 1, (Cairo: Supreme Council of Antiquities, 2002), pp. 231-242.

"Masks," in Donald B. Redford, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, vol. 2 (New York, Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 345-348.

"A Case for Narrativity: Gilt Stucco Mummy Cover in the Graeco-Roman Museum, Alexandria, inv. 27808" in Emily Teeter and John A. Larson, eds., Gold of Praise: Studies on Ancient Egypt in Honor of Edward F. Wente, Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization, vol. 58 (Chicago, The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1999), Ch.5, pp. 55-66; figs. 5.1-5.10.

"Mysticism and the Mummy Portraits" in Morris L. Bierbrier, ed., Portraits and Masks: Burial Customs in Roman Egypt, (London: British Museum Press, 1997), pp. 45-53.

"Evidence for the Survival of Pharaonic Religion in Roman Egypt: The Portrait Mummy," in Hildegard Temporini and Wolfgang Haase, eds., Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, II/18, (Berlin:Walter de Gruyter, 1995), pp. 3316-3332; pls. 1-9.

"The Roman Period," in Sue D'Auria, Peter Lacovara and Catharine A. Roehrig, eds., Mummies & Magic, The Funerary Arts of Ancient Egypt, (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1988), pp. 201-215.