Ancient Egyptian materials and technology


Ancient Egyptian materials and technology

edited by Paul T. Nicholson and Ian Shaw

Cambridge University Press, 2000

  • : hb

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Includes bibliographical references and index



This is a study of the procurement and processing of raw materials employed by the ancient Egyptians over the five millennia of the Predynastic and Pharaonic periods (c.5500-332 BC). During this time, not only were there variations in the preferred materials for particular types of artefacts, but also gradual processes of technological change, and the industries of the Chalcolithic period were complemented and sometimes superseded by the innovations of the Bronze and Iron Ages. Among the topics covered are stone quarrying, the building of temples and pyramids, techniques for preserving meat, fish, and poultry, glass and faience, the baking of bread, brewing of beers, preparation of oils and perfumes, and the mummification of humans and animals. Each chapter has been written by one or more specialists, drawing not only on conventional Egyptological skills but also on expertise in the natural sciences as applied to archaeological data.


  • 1. Introduction Paul T. Nicholson and Ian Shaw
  • Part I. Inorganic Materials: 2. Stone Barbara Aston, James Harrell and Ian Shaw
  • 3. Soil Barry Kemp
  • 4. Painting materials Stephen Quirke and Lorna Lee
  • 5. Pottery Janine Bourriau, Pamela Rose and Paul Nicholson
  • 6. Metals Jacke Ogden
  • 7. Egyptian faience Paul Nicholson
  • 8. Glass Paul Nicholson and Julian Henderson
  • Part II. Organic Materials: 9. Papyrus Bridget Leach and John Tait
  • 10. Basketry Willeke Wendrich
  • 11. Textiles Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood
  • 12. Leatherwork and skin products Carol van Driel-Murray
  • 13. Ivory and related materials Robert Morkot and Olga Krzyszkowska
  • 14. Ostrich eggshells Jacke Phillips
  • 15. Wood Geoffrey Killen, Nigel Hepper, Peter Gasson and Rowena Gale
  • 16. Mummies and mummification A. Rosalie David
  • 17. Oil, fat and wax Margaret Serpico and Raymond White
  • 18. Resins, amber and bitumen Margaret Serpico
  • 19. Adhesives and binders Richard Newman, Margaret Serpico and Raymond White
  • 20. Hair Joann Fletcher
  • Part III. Food Technology: 21. Cereal production and processing Mary-Anne Murray
  • 22. Brewing and baking Delwyn Samuel
  • 23. Viticulture and wine production Mary-Anne Murray
  • 24. Fruit, vegetables, pulses and condiments Mary-Anne Murray
  • 25. Meat Processing Salima Ikram.

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