Institut für die Kulturen des Alten Orients

History of Egyptology in Tübingen

While Oriental studies have been one of the main research areas of the University of Tübingen for centuries, the establishment of the subject Egyptology at the University is a more recent development. It is linked with the name Hellmut Brunner: from 1951 he was a lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Tübingen. In 1956 he was made an extraordinary professor, in 1960 an extraordinary, and in 1964 a full professor of Egyptology. Together with his wife Emma Brunner-Traut, Brunner also laid the foundation for the Egyptian Museum, which is now located in Hohentübingen Castle, and which represents the most important collection of Egyptian antiquites in Württemberg ( He was also significantly involved in the initiation of the project Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients (TAVO). In addition, the development of the Insitute's library goes back to him, and, thanks to continuous maintenance and extensive new acquisitions, it has become one of the best Egyptologial research libraries in Germany.

The first assistant at the newly established department was Schafik Allam. He came to Tübingen in 1961, completed his habilitation in 1968, and was appointed professor of Egyptology in Tübingen in 1974. In the same year Ingrid Gamer-Wallert, who like Allam initially worked in the TAVO project, was appointed adjunct professor and lectured as professor for Egyptology at the Egyptological Institute at the Uniersity of Tübingen until her retirement in 1978. She was also vice-president of the University from 1990 to 1994. Waltraud Guglielmi, a student of Brunner, took over as assistant in Tübingen in 1970, where she qualified as a professor in 1978. In 1991 she became an associate professor. Farouk Gomaa also became a permanent member of the Insitute after many years of collaboration in the TAVO project (1972-1993). Among other things, we may thank Karola Zibelius-Chen, initially also a member of the TAVO project, for the conception of the permanent exhibit of the Egyptological Institute in the Museum Hohentübingen, which forms the core of today's exhibit. Zibelius-Chen was the custodian of the Egyptian Collection from 1994 until her retirement in 2005.

After Bunner's retirement in 1978, he was succeeded by Wolfgang Schenkel, who held the Chair of Egyptology from the 1978/79 winter semester until 2002. From 2002 to 2004 Karola Zibelius-Chen was the interim chair of the Egyptological Institute. Since April 1, 2004, Christian Leitz holds the department chair of Egyptology.