Holding a PhD in Egyptology (Cambridge, 2000), Neal’s research focuses on cultural entanglement and lived urban experience within the context of pharaonic imperialism in early Iron Age Nubia, as expressed through material and visual culture. Neal directed archaeological projects in Egypt (Samanud, Kom Firin) and Sudan (Amara West), with significant community archaeology, educational, scientific and environmental research strands. This work has been funded through significant grants from The Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, AHRC, the Qatar-Sudan Archaeological Project and the Egypt Exploration Society.

Neal previously worked at the British Museum, as curator (2000-2011), Keeper of Egypt and Sudan (2012-2019) and Keeper of Nile Valley & Mediterranean Collections (2019-2021: Departments of Greece & Rome, and Egypt & Sudan), where he led and managed curators, collections management staff, archive and library staff and administrative/project staff. This included the conception and development of exhibitions and displays.

Neal directed the British Museum’s International Training Programme (2006-2011), which brought together curators from the Middle East, North Africa, South and East Asia, Oceania and the Americas for sills-sharing and network building. This included partnerships with museums across the UK.