Grave concerns: Complexity in documenting and studying ancient Egyptian burials

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talkResearch


Considered the most expensive material of all that was used during the mummification process in Ancient Egypt, textiles are often an unappreciated artefact recovered from funerary contexts. This presentation will focus on case studies from the late Old Kingdom/First Intermediate Period and Graeco-Roman cemetery at Saqqara to highlight the complexity of recovering, documenting and studying textiles from burial contexts. In both time periods, textiles were predominantly, but not exclusively used as body wrappings. Their quality and quantity used in individual burials are commonly considered as an indicator of different levels of personal wealth and social standing of the deceased, whereas the pattern of their application offers an insight into the individual post-mortem treatment of the body. Both mummification and the burial environment directly affect the preservation of the funerary textiles, often making their identification and recovery difficult if not impossible. By presenting selected case studies, this presentation will aim to contribute to a discussion on the importance of textiles as an artefact and establishing a field protocol for their recovery, documentation and analysis to standardise archaeological practices moving forward.
Period15 Apr 2021
Event titleFunerary Textiles in Situ: Towards a better method for in situ study, retrieval and conservation
Event typeWorkshop
LocationWarsaw, PolandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Ancient Egypt
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Mummification
  • Funerary Textiles
  • Bioarchaeology
  • Saqqara