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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre
Areas of Interest: 
Ancient Egyptian language with a particular interest in legal texts
Transmission of intellectual culture and legal ideas between Egypt and the Akkadian-speaking world


My research focuses on diachronic changes in the Ancient Egyptian justice system from the Old Kingdom to the Middle Kingdom (c.2700-1700BCE). I study the evolution of specific legal concepts and institutions as evidenced by changes in the titles of officials and legal documents from different time periods. In addition to this, I seek to draw attention to the possibility of legal pluralism in ancient Egypt, highlighting the multi-faceted nature of justice on both formal and informal levels. I also have an interest in the possibility of certain judicial and punitive concepts entering Egypt from the Mesopotamian world in the later 2nd millennium BCE.

Born in France and raised in the UK, I studied Archaeology & Anthropology at Selwyn College, Cambridge (2011-2014). I specialised in Ancient Near Eastern history with a focus on the Egyptian and Akkadian languages. After graduating with a starred first, I became a Benefactors’ Research Scholar at St. John’s College, Cambridge, where I began my ongoing work on Ancient Egyptian courts, law enforcement and conceptions of justice. In 2015, I moved to Robinson College, Cambridge as a Lewis-AHRC Research Scholar and this is where I completed my PhD (2019). In 2017, I was an AHRC IPS Doctoral Research Fellow at the Library of Congress, where I focused on the wider place of Egyptian justice in African and Near Eastern legal thought.

My first postdoctoral position was as a Bye Fellow in Egyptology at Selwyn College, Cambridge (2018-2019), which came alongside a role as Teaching Associate in Egyptian Language at the Department of Archaeology. In 2019, I was elected Lady Wallis Budge Junior Research Fellow in Egyptology at Christ's College, Cambridge, and also became a Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, where I run the Egyptian World Seminar Series. In addition to this, I am a member of the Cambridge Language Sciences Interdisciplinary Research Centre.

Alongside my research, I have a strong commitment to teaching and am currently an Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology. I have extensive experience of teaching Egyptian language, covering Old, Middle and Late Egyptian, and from October 2019 I also teach Babylonian at intermediate and advanced level.


  • Ancient Egyptian courts, law enforcement, and conceptions of justice
  • Justice systems in Africa and the Ancient Near East
  • Legal pluralism and panlegalism, especially in pre-modern cultures
  • History of Egyptology, with particular references to Russia and the USSR


Key publications: 

Loktionov, A. "The First 'Lawyers'? Judicial Offices, Administration and Legal Pluralism in Ancient Egypt, c.2500-1800BCE". In Cavanagh, E. (ed.) Empire and Legal Thought: Ideas and Institutions from Antiquity to Modernity. Leiden: Brill (Studies in the History of International Law 41/16): in press (publication date: 23rd July 2020).

Loktionov, A. "Tortured, Banished, Forgotten (and frequently Ripped Off)? Experience of Ancient Egyptian Criminal Judgment and its Consequences through the 2nd Millennium BCE". In Kilroe, L. (ed.) Invisible Archaeologies: Hidden Aspects of Daily Life in Ancient Egypt and Nubia. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2019: 6-16.

Loktionov, A. "A Revolution in Egyptology, or an Egyptology of the Revolution? Changing Perspectives on Ancient Egypt in Russia". In Navratilova, H, T. Gertzen, A. Dodson & A. Bednarski (eds.) Towards a History of Egyptology: Proceedings of the Egyptological Section of the 8th ESHS Conference in London, 2018. Münster: Zaphon, 2019: 157-170.

Loktionov, A. "Commentary: Desert shaped by people, or people shaped by desert? Reflections of an Egyptologist", Archaeological Review from Cambridge 34(1): Desert Archaeology, 2019: 20-27.

Loktionov, A. "May my nose and ears be cut off: Practical and "supra-practical" Aspects of Mutilation in the Egyptian New Kingdom", Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 60(3), 2017: 263-291.

Loktionov, A. "An 'Egyptianising' Underworld Judging an Assyrian Prince? New Perspectives on VAT 10057", Journal of Ancient Near Eastern History 3(1), 2017: 39-56.

Loktionov, A. "Thoughts towards a new hypothesis for understanding the legal text in OI 12073", Göttinger Miszellen 253(3), 2017: 89-96.

Loktionov, A. "Of pilgrims and poets, prisoners and politics: the story of Egyptology in Russia". In Langer, C. (ed.) Global Egyptology: Negotiation in the Production of Knowledges on Ancient Egypt in Global Contexts. London: Golden House Press, 2017: 129-145.

Loktionov, A. "Importing the law? Possible elements of the Mesopotamian legal tradition in New Kingdom Egypt", BAF Online: Proceedings of the Berner Altorientalisches Forum, 2016:

Loktionov, A. "Convicting 'Great Criminals': A New Look at Punishment in the Turin Judicial Papyrus", Égypte Nilotique et Méditerranéenne 8, 2015: 103-111.

Loktionov, A. "Kušû: Crocodile after all?", Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires 2014(4), 2014: 164-167.

Other publications: 

Loktionov, A. "Review: Structures of Power: Law and Gender across the Ancient Near East and Beyond. Chicago Oriental Institute Seminars 12 (ed. I. Peled)", Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 24, 2019: 78-81.

Blick, A. & A. Loktionov, "Promoting democracy in an ancient state: the case of Egypt", History and Policy 30th Oct, 2017.

Loktionov, A. "Exploring African Law and Ancient Egypt", Library of Congress Insights Blog 10th Aug, 2017.

Turello, D., W. Hall, A. Loktionov & J. Lingel. "Emoji, texting and social media: how do they impact language?", Library of Congress Insights Blog 15th Jun, 2017.

Loktionov, A. "Ramesses II, victor of Kadesh: a kindred spirit of Trump?", The Guardian: Notes and Theories 5th Dec, 2016. 

Loktionov, A. "Divining Destiny in Rural Armenia", Research Horizons 25, 2014: 34-35.

Teaching and Supervisions


In the Department of Archaeology, I am/have been involved in the teaching of the following course(s):

  • Paper G13 (Graduate): Introduction to Middle Egyptian
  • Paper G14 (Graduate): Advanced Middle Egyptian
  • Paper A5/E1 (Undergraduate): Introduction to Middle Egyptian
  • Paper ARC37/E2 (Undergraduate): Advanced Middle Egyptian
  • Paper ARC38 (Undergraduate): Old & Late Egyptian
  • Paper ARC18 (Undergraduate): Society and Settlement in Ancient Egypt
  • Paper M4 (Undergraduate): Intermediate Babylonian
  • Paper M5 (Undergraduate): Advanced Babylonian

Other Professional Activities

  • AHRC IPS Doctoral Research Fellow, Library of Congress (Feb-Aug 2017)
  • Lord Lewis-AHRC Research Scholar, Robinson College
  • Honorary Vice-Chancellor's Award, St. John's College
  • Thomas Young Medal for Outstanding Distinction in Oriental Archaeology, University of Cambridge
Junior Research Fellow, Affiliated Lecturer
Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Departments and institutes: 
Profile photo of Alex Loktionov



What we do

Cambridge Language Sciences is an Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. Our virtual network connects researchers from five schools across the university as well as other world-leading research institutions. Our aim is to strengthen research collaborations and knowledge transfer across disciplines in order to address large-scale multi-disciplinary research challenges relating to language research.