Indigenous and imported wood species were extensively used in Ancient Egypt for manufacturing objects of daily life and equipment for the afterlife, notably statuary and coffins. Despite the abundance and use throughout Pharaonic history, no global study has been carried out on this material. The TRACER project is developed at the Institute of Archaeology of UCL until the autumn 2018. It will lay the foundations of a global project dedicated to wood in Ancient Egypt. This Marie Curie Fellowship project is entitled “Tree Roots: an analytical ‘culture’ of economy and religion – case-study Egypt 2050-1550 BC”.
With an innovative double methodology combining archaeometric and theoretical approaches, the project analyses woodcraft as a societal “tracer” in Ancient Egypt during a key period of its history: the Middle Bronze Age. Combining stylistic and technical analysis, archaeobotany, analytical chemistry, 3D scanner for the study of tool marks and dendrochronology, the main objective of TRACER is to highlight how the specialized production in one material, carpentry, correlates with the other dimensions of its historical context (religious, political, cultural). Beyond the purely stylistic aspects, the archaeometric analyses carried out on this furniture made it possible to identify workshops, methods of manufacture and to specify a chronology.
More information is available on the project website.
This talk was given at the October 2018 meeting of the Essex Egyptology Group, which was held on 7th October 2018 at 3pm BST – click here to download a review of this meeting.