The evolution of hieroglyphic classifiers resembles that of feathered wings. Feathers first developed for thermal insulation and competitive display; classifiers originated as markers of word border and ambiguity dispellers. Feathers enabled the evolution of wings, while classifiers developed into a complex categorization tool that mirrored the world organization a lost culture. Wings enabled birds to fly high and see vast landscapes, while classifiers allow us to observe the landscape of the ancient Egyptian mind.


Head, Egyptology

Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University Jerusalem

Honorary Professor

University of Göttingen

Research interests

Definition of the role of linguistic registers in New Kingdom texts

The classifier system of the Egyptian hieroglyphs and its parallelism to other classification systems in various languages of the world

The genesis of the alphabet through the Egyptian hieroglyphs

Semiotics of the Egyptian pictorial scripts

Socio-Linguistic issues in the grammar of Ramesside Egyptian

Hieratic and hieroglyphic inscriptions in Canaan

Canaanite-Egyptian relations during the Late Bronze Age


Co-editor of the series: Classification and Categorization in Ancient Egypt, Göttinger Orientforschoungen IV. Reihe Ägypten 38 (Harrassowitz Verlag)

Vice chair, European COST Action A31 "Stability and Adaptation of Classification Systems in Cross-Cultural Perspective" (scientific committees, conferences planning and organization, various lectures)

Reviewer, School of Advanced Studies, Princeton

Representative of Israel in the International Association for Semiotic Studies

Other institutions

Visiting Professor, Harvard University, Boston 2005

Professor of "Collège de France", Paris, 2007

COLLEGIUM DE LYON c/o ENS Lettres et sciences humaines 2012

Göttingen University