Tyldesley was born in Bolton, Lancashire and attended Bolton School. In 1981, she earned a first-class honours degree in archaeology from Liverpool University, and a doctorate in Prehistoric Archaeology from Oxford in 1986. In 2011 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bolton. She is a Senior Lecturer in Egyptology at Manchester University where she is tutor and course organiser of the three-year distance learning (internet based) Certificate in Egyptology programme which was initially run from the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, and is now run from Egyptology Online in the Faculty of Life Sciences. She also devised, directs and teaches the on-line Short Courses in Egyptology. From 2012 she will be writing and teaching the two-year internet based Diploma in Egyptology at Manchester University: an extension to the Certificate Course
She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics, and Egyptology at Liverpool University, Research Associate of the Manchester Museum, President of Bolton Archaeology and Egyptology Society, and a trustee of Chowbent Chapel, Atherton. She is also a part-qualified Chartered Accountant, and spent 17 years supporting her developing writing career by working as small business manager for Crossley and Davis Chartered Accountants in Bolton. She is an ex-trustee of the Egypt Exploration Society,
Tyldesley has extensive archaeological fieldwork experience, having excavated in Britain, Europe and Egypt.
Rutherford Press Limited
In 2004 she established, with Steven Snape, Rutherford Press Limited, a publishing firm dedicated to publishing serious but accessible books on ancient Egypt while raising money for Egyptology field work. Donations from RPL have been made to Manchester Museum and the Egypt Exploration Society: currently all profits are donated to the ongoing Ramesside fieldwork at Zawiyet umm el-Rakham.
Tyldesley has written a wide variety of academic and popular books, including books to accompany the television series Private Lives of the Pharaohs (Channel 4), Egypt's Golden Empire (Lion Television) and Egypt (BBC). In January 2008, her then most recent book, Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt, was the Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4. Her play for children, The Lost Scroll, premiered at Kendal Museum in 2011.
- The Wolvercote Channel Handaxe Assemblage
- The Bout Coupe Biface: a typological problem
- Nazlet Tuna (with Steven Snape)
- Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt
- Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh
- Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen
- The Mummy: unwrap the ancient secrets of the mummies' tombs
- Ramesses: Egypt's Greatest Pharaoh
- Judgement of the Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment in Ancient Egypt
- The Private Lives of the Pharaohs
- Egypt's Golden Empire: the age of the New Kingdom
- Pyramids: the real story behind Egypt's most ancient monuments
- Tales from Ancient Egypt
- Stories from Ancient Egypt: Egyptian Myths and Legends for Children
- Unearthing the Past (with Paul Bahn and Douglas Palmer)
- Egypt: How a Lost Civilization was Rediscovered
- Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt
- Egyptian Games and Sports
- Egypt (Insiders)(for children)
- Mummy Mysteries: the secret world of Tutankhamun and the pharaohs (for children)
- Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt
- The Pharaohs
- Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt
- Tutankhamen's Curse
- Mary Beard review of Tyldesley's Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt from The New York Review of Books
- Joyce Tyldesley's Website
- Interview with Tyldesley on "New Books in Biography"