Alex de Voogt

Research Associate


  • Leiden University, Ph.D., 2005
  • Rotterdam School of Management, M.B.A., 1998
  • Leiden University, Ph.D., 1995
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa, M.A., 1993
  • Leiden University, M.A./B.A., 1992

Research Interests

Dr. de Voogt’s research interests concentrate on the dispersal of board games and the development and history of scripts. The dispersal of mancala board games, a group of games characterized by rows of holes and a proportionate number of identical playing counters, extends from South East and South Asia to Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and parts of South America. Their distribution is related to historical human migration and trade routes. Despite the wide variation of rules, some mancala games have dispersed across cultural, linguistic, and geographic borders without a significant change in playing rules for several hundreds of years. Research has concentrated on the history of the games as well as on the expertise of some master players. The study of language and writing systems goes back to Dr. de Voogt’s training in linguistics. The complexity and adaptive ability of scripts is a central topic. With the help of linguistic fieldwork and museum studies, a contribution is made to the study and understanding of the Meroitic script and language that was used in the Kingdom of Kush, present-day Sudan, between 200 BC and 400 AD. But his research also includes studies of, for instance, the Maldivian script that exemplifies the contact and competition between scripts in modern times.



2013 Alex de Voogt, Anne-Elisabeth Dunn-Vaturi & Jelmer W. Eerkens. Cultural transmission in the Ancient Near East: Twenty squares and fifty-eight holes. Journal of Archaeological Science 40:1715–1730.

2013 Jeroen Pijpe1, Alex de Voogt1, Mannis van Oven, Peter Henneman, Kristiaan J. van der Gaag, Manfred Kayser, Peter de Knijff. Indian Ocean crossroads: human genetic origin and population structure in the Maldives. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 151: 58–67. (1Shared first authorship.)

2013 Alex de Voogt. The transmission of helicopter technology 1920–1939: Exchanges with von Baumhauer. International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology. 83(1):119–141.

2012 Claude Rilly & Alex de Voogt.The Meroitic language and writing system. New York: Cambridge University Press.

2012 Alex de Voogt & Vincent Francigny. Opening a grave in antiquity: formation and interpretation in the Kingdom of Meroe.Journal of African Archaeology 10(1). doi 10.3213/2191-5784-10204

2012 Alex de Voogt & Hans-Jörg Doehla. Nubian graffiti messages and the history of writing in the Sudanese Nile basin. In Alex de Voogt & Joachim Quack (eds.) The idea of writing: writing across borders, pp. 53–68. Brill, Leiden.

2012 Alex de Voogt. Mancala at the pyramids of Meroe. Antiquity 86(334): 1155–1166.

2011 Alex de Voogt. Dual marking and kinship terms in Afitti. Studies in Language 35(4): 898–911.

2010 Alex de Voogt. Mancala players in Palmyra. Antiquity 84(326):1055–1066.

2010 Alex de Voogt. Languages and scripts in the Maldive Islands: coding and encoding. In Alex de Voogt & Irving Finkel (eds.),The Idea of Writing: play and complexity, pp. 197–205.Brill, Leiden.

2009 Alex de Voogt. A sketch of Afitti phonology. Studies in African Linguistics 38(1):35–51.

Teaching Experience

Faculty Appointments 

  • Assistant Professor of Work and Social Psychology, Department of Psychology, Maastricht University, The Netherlands, 2005–2009
  • Assistant Professor of International and Non-Profit Marketing, Department of Management, Faculty of Arts, Leiden University, The Netherlands, 2002–2009

Courses Taught

  • Africa & Expertise, Fieldwork and the Psychological Experiment, Cross-cultural Psychology, Interdisciplinary Research Methods

Graduate Advisees

Graduate Committees

  • 2013 – Ph.D.-committee for Anne-Elizabeth Dunn-Vaturi, Egyptology Department, Leiden University, The Netherlands
  • 2012 – Ph.D.-committee for Walter Crist, Anthropology Department, Arizona State University