When Howard Carter excavated the tomb of Tutankhamun in the early 1920’s, a large number of beaded items was uncovered from the tomb of the pharaoh. Most of the objects still contained the thread on which they were strung over 2000 years before. The fiber was decaying and the items could sometimes not be lifted without destroying the composition. Carter therefore conserved and lifted the beadwork from the context of the tomb by pouring liquid wax on the objects. Even though this technique of lifting beadwork is irreversible and would not be preferred today with new materials available, it did preserve both beads and string until today. In 1994 Jolanda Bos studied the beadwork from the tomb for the first time.
Unique to the Tutankhamun beadwork is the diversity of the beaded items. The content of the tomb dates to a period in Egyptian history in which the technology of beadwork was at its height. The patterns most frequently used were composition of disc beads, creating tightly beaded fabrics. The small beads in these compositions are made of glass or Egyptian faience. The analysis showed interesting social aspects of beadwork production as well as unique technological solutions. The results of this study has partiallybeen published.
The b/w images on this page are made by Burton published by the Griffith Institute in Oxford. For a reference please click the images.