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Friday, March 15, 2019

Researching the Sounds of Roman Egypt | UCL CULTURE - UCL - London's Global University
Researching the Sounds of Roman Egypt
New exhibition at the Petrie Museum focuses on everyday artefacts from Roman Egypt.
Colour photo of a white bird rattle from the Petrie                Collection
Using everyday artefacts from the Petrie Museum including bells, whistles, shoes and toys, this research aims to transform our understanding of social experience, social relations, and cultural interactions, among the populations of Egypt in this period.

A project team comprising Dr Ellen Swift, Dr April Pudsey, and Dr Jo Stoner, is studying artefacts from the Petrie collection to explore what daily life at this time might have felt and sounded like. In 2019, they are presenting some of their findings in a free exhibition at the Petrie Museum at UCL. 

The Petrie Museum has one of the largest and best-documented collections of Roman artefacts in the UK. It contains more than 8,000 objects from this period. This project examines the features of artefacts, the materials they were made from, and evidence of modification that shows how they were used and re-used in daily life. In association with the study of papyrus texts, the team is investigating social behaviour and experience to shed new light on daily life in Roman and Late Antique Egypt. 

Colour photo of a technician scanning objects in the                Petrie Museum
The research brings together specialists in the interpretation of ancient Egyptian texts on papyrus, and archaeological artefacts, drawing on new methodologies and interpretative approaches, including the experimental recreation of objects. The researchers are investigating how experiences may have differed between children, adults, slaves, women, men, and people of different social and ethnic groups.

Evidence of wear and repair will reveal both aspects of practical daily use, and personal and sentimental meanings that may have been attached to objects such as dress accessories, shoes, toys, and simple musical instruments. To keep up to date with the project's progress and research activities, please visit the blog.

Also on the blog there are soundscapes that you can listen to.

New information about the objects in the Petrie's collection discovered through this ongoing research will be made available through the museum's online catalogue. Please note the catalogue is currently being updated and will be fully restored in spring 2019. 



Images on this page: Project ceramic replica of a Roman bird rattle from the Petrie Museum (UC34972) © Lloyd Bosworth; University of Kent archaeology technician laser scans Roman objects in the Petrie Museum © Jo Stoner


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