• PhD Biochemistry 2006 – 2010: ‘Ritual anointing: analyses of hair and coffin coatings in ancient Egypt.’FLS, The University of Manchester
  • MSc Biomedical and Forensic Egyptology 2004 – 2005 FLS, The University of Manchester
  • BA Archaeology 2001-2004: Humanities, The University of Manchester

I have an academic career which spans the disciplines of Art History and Archaeology to Life Sciences. My main research interests have focused upon human interaction and views of the self. I find how people from past and present experience their surrounding and how they present themselves to the world fascinating.

Research project

Investigation into the clay 'hair' balls from ancient Egypt

Numerous ‘clay balls’ have been found amongst ancient Egyptian funerary remains, the most common type of ball being presumed to contain a lock of infantile hair. This is based upon the contents discovered when a small selection of such balls were opened during antiquity. There are however many other sub-styles of clay balls which may or may not contain hair, some have been found to contain small pieces of papyri or linen (also known as ‘contract balls’). Whether the unopened clay balls contain anything at all can only be speculated. It is our aim to analyse a number of clay balls to determine if there is a distinct style of ball which always contains hair and if this is determinable by its outward appearance; the same for the balls which contain papyrus and linen and those which do not contain anything. The research will be carried out by a multi disciplinary team from The University of Manchester SEAES, Materials and Life Sciences, I myself working in both departments.

Working with:


  • McCreesh, N.C., A.P. Gize, J. Denton, A.R David. 2011. Hair analysis: a Tool for Identifying Pathological and Social Information. In: Yearbook of Mummy Studies vol.1 (Eds, H. Gill-Frerking, W. Rosendahl, A. Zink. Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil: Münchie
  • McCreesh, N.C., A.P. Gize, A.R David. 2011. Ancient Egyptian ‘hair gel’: New insight into ancient Egyptian mummification procedures through chemical analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science. 38, 3432-3434.

Conference proceedings

  • McCreesh, N.C., A.P. Gize, A.R David. In press. Pitch black: The black coated mummies, coffins and cartonnage from ancient Egypt. In: Proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of Egyptologists. (Eds, P. Kousoulis, N. Lazaridis). University of the Aegean, Rhodes. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta.
  • McCreesh, N.C., A.P. Gize, A.R David. 2012. Hair Analysis: a case study of pathological and social information gained from the Greco-Roman cemetery at Dakhleh Oasis. In: Achievements and problems in Modern Egyptology, International Conference. (Eds, G.A Belova, S.V.Ivanov). Russian Academy of Science Centre for Egyptological Studies. Moscow, Russia
  • McCreesh, N.C., A.P. Gize, A.R David. 2010. A cure for baldness: ancient Egyptian pharmacological remedies for the hair and scalp. In: Pharmacy and Medicine in ancient Egypt, Proceedings of the conferences held in Cairo 2007 and Manchester 2008. (Eds, A.R. David, J. Cockitt). British Archaeological Reports, Archaeopress: Oxford
  • McCreesh, N.C., A.P. Gize, A.R David. 2010. Hair: an untapped forensic resource. In: Proceedings of the 37th International Symposium on Archaeometry. (Ed, I. Turbanti- Memmi). Siena, Italy. Springer: London
  • McCreesh, N.C., A.P. Gize, A.R David. 2009. Analysis of black coatings on a mummy and associated artefact from the Manchester Museum. In: Current Research in Egyptology IX Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Symposium. (Eds, Gash, V., Finch, J). Rutherford Press: Bolton