Our team

Gersande Eschenbrenner-Diemer

Director and founding member of Medjehu Project
Egyptologist, Responsible of wood anatomy/ identification

Formerly Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow at University College London (2016-2018) and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Jaén (2019-2021), Dr. Gersande Eschenbrenner Diemer is currently developing the research project WASET (Wood as Social and Economic Tracer in Thebes, Egypt Middle Kingdom-Second Intermediate Period (ca. 2050-1550 BC) in the framework of a Maria Zambrano research grant at the University of Alcalá de Henares. She is also research associate at the ArScAN laboratory (CNRS-UMR 7041). She specializes in Ancient Egyptian wood, particularly in the contexts of its associated economic, artistic and social networks, subjects on which she has published extensively. Combining knowledge of Egyptology and archaeobotany, she collaborates as a wood specialist on several international archaeological missions in Egypt: Qubbet el-Hawa (Qubbet el-Hawa Project, University of Jaén), Elephantine (Swiss Institute in Cairo) and Deir el-Medina (I.F.A.O.) where she is leading a team of researchers in the study of wooden furniture, and also as a member of the Royal Necropolis of the Western Wadis expedition (New Kingdom Research Foundation and University of Cambridge).

She was Principal Investigator of two projects (2016-2019) funded by the European Commission and the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology (Percea Bois 2018-2019). As part of a collaboration developed by several international scientific partners (Museo Egizio, Turin, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, University College of London, University of Pisa), she is currently leading the EBENES research project (Etude des Bois Egyptiens: Nature, Emplois, Sauvegarde) at the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo (I.F.A.O.) which is dedicated to the study and conservation of Egypt’s wood heritage from antiquity to the Islamic period. She is also a member of the MORTEXVAR project directed by C. Gracia Zamacona (University of Alcalá de Henares) and member of the RIIPOA Network (www.riipoa.com) as coordinator of the axis dedicated to Materiality. She also co-directs the collective programme De l’arbre à l’ouvrage within the CNRS ArScAn laboratory (UMR 7041). 

As director of the Medjehu Project, Gersande organises the various missions that are carried out in the field and in the museum collections. In conjunction with other team members and collaborators, she coordinates research projects based on the different objectives of the Medjehu Project, from the study of the artefacts to their publication. Gersande is also responsible for the archaeometric aspect of the project and, more specifically, for the development of a methodology for the anatomical analyses of wood. In this context, she organises training sessions on the anatomical analysis of wood in order to train the Medjehu project’s collaborators and ensure the proper development of this research axis in Egypt.