Piotr Bienkowski's disciplinary background is as an archaeologist and museum curator. He has been Professor of Archaeology and Museology at the University of Manchester, Director of Manchester Museum, Chair of the North West Federation of Museums and Galleries, and before that Head of Antiquities at National Museums Liverpool. For many years, he was editor of Levant, the journal of the Council for British Research in the Levant, and editor of the British Academy Monographs in Archaeology series.
While professor at Manchester, he developed and taught a Masters course on Immortality: from Gilgamesh to the Post-modern, that was a component of the interdisciplinary MA in Constructions of the Holy, the Sacred and the Supernatural in the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures. It was while creating and teaching that course that he developed the ideas that are in this proposal, and the structure of the proposed book.
Much of his interest in this topic developed in extensive work he did with indigenous groups from Australia, New Zealand and North America around the repatriation of the human remains of their ancestors from British museums. This resulted in numerous discussions, seminars and workshops on different cultural and philosophical perspectives on death and the afterlife. He published several academic papers and book chapters on these aspects, in the context of the treatment of ancient human remains, which incorporated cultural and philosophical perspectives on death and immortality.
He has published 15 books and around 50 peer-reviewed papers in academic journals and books, as well as around 80 other publications. He now runs a cultural consultancy working in the UK and Europe. He is a leading authority on the archaeology of Jordan, and directs an excavation in Petra.