Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Pig fat in Early Dynastic Egypt?


Here is a grotty (sorry) picture of one of our Early Dynastic pots (AB98). It came to us from Aberystwyth University in 1997, is 45.5cm high and is oozing 'oil'. Recently the oil has been analysed by Andrew Hardy and Paul Finch. It was found to contain non-ruminant (i.e. not cow or sheep/goat) animal fat, probably pig fat. There were also traces of grasses which possibly scented the oil.

We do not know where this vessel came from, though it is likely to have come from a tomb.

Apparently Early Dynastic (3100-2686 BC) Egyptian royal courts had departments which dealt with the raising of pigs and a separate department for rendering cow fat (Wilkinson 1999, 110). Oil was used in food but also for anointing and for cosmetics. Many hundreds of such jars have been found in the tombs of the elite.

The results have been published in Pharmaceutical Historian 47/1 2017.

References
Wilkinson, T.A.H., 1999. Early Dynastic Egypt. London and New York.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Photography and Egyptology

On Friday 18th December the Egypt Centre opened its cases to photographers. Or rather, we took objects off display and invited people to come and photograph them. We know have an exhibition of some of the resultant work which is on display in the Taliesin bar area.

The point of this was to see if photographers would view our artefacts any differently than Egyptologists might. Well you can decide for yourself.

The Exhibition will run in the Taliesin from 4th Feb—10th March before touring to the following destinations:
The Grand Theatre from Swansea 21st March         
Carmarthen Museum from 11th April   

Cynon Valley Museum from 25th May

Here are just a couple to wet your appetite (for the Egyptologists you can click on the accession numbers to find a bit more about the objects). The top is W379 and the bottom, W307.