Wilhelm Spiegelberg was born in Hanover, Germany, on 25 June 1870. He began his studies at Strasbourg University as a pupil of Johannes Dümichen.
During his time as a student, he spent a year in Berlin at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität under the guidance of Adolf Erman and Heinrich Karl Brugsch.
In 1891, after graduating, Spiegelberg studied in Paris with Gaston Maspero, the former Director-General of Egypt’s Antiquities Service.
At the age of 23 he was appointed as a faculty member at Strasbourg and eventually a full professor. During this period he also worked in the Theban region with Sir Flinders Petrie, James Quibell, Percy Newberry, and Howard Carter, among others.
At the end of World War I he moved to Heidelberg and spent a brief period working at the university there.
In 1923 he accepted a chair at the Ludwig–Maximilians-Universität, where he also took on the role as the first head of the Institute of Egyptology in Munich.
He passed away suddenly 23 December, 1930.