Building textile archaeology in the Nile Valley

Elsa Yavanez

Cotton textiles from Qasr Ibrim (©Trustees of the British Museum) and textile tools from El-Hassa and Meinarti (Sudan National Museum). (Photos: Elsa Yvanez)

Mødedato: Torsdag d. 25/3 2021 kl. 19.00
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Building textile archaeology in the Nile Valley, v. PhD Elsa Yvanez, PostDoc, Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellow, Tekstilcentret, Københavns Universitet

Hundreds of years of excavations along the Nile Valley have yielded great amounts of ancient textiles from Egypt and Sudan, well preserved thanks to the arid climate. Settlement sites have shown textile fragments, archaeobotanical remains, fibres, and threads, as well as many implements used for textile manufacturing; but it is from graves that most of the material comes from.

The complex funerary rites of ancient Egypt and Sudan made great use of textile material, for wrapping human and animal remains, for offerings and for furnishing the tombs. From settlements to cemeteries, from iconography to textual sources, textiles were everywhere in the economy and society of the ancient Nile Valley.

Their omnipresence and important social role are often implied in scholarly literature, but this formidable textile material is still not studied and published to its full potential. Inspired by the current renewal of textile research in academia, new research projects are now emerging, advocating for a more inclusive and multi-disciplinary approach.

This lecture will propose a model to build textile archaeology in the Nile Valley, using material from Meroitic Sudan as a case-study (TexMeroe, Marie Skłodowska-Curie project 743420). It will then present new perspectives currently opening in the domain of Pharaonic textiles.