September 13, 2018

Ancient Egyptian Furniture: From the Earliest Examples to the "Wonderful Things" of the New Kingdom

Geoffrey Killen

October 13, 2018
5:00 p.m.

LaSalle Banks Room,
Oriental Institute, Lower Level
1155 E 58th St
Chicago, IL 60637

More is known about furniture and its development in Egypt than anywhere else in the Ancient World. Bedframes were the first large constructional pieces of furniture to be manufactured and many fine examples were excavated in the 1st Dynasty cemetery at Tarkhan. By the beginning of the Old Kingdom improved cutting tools and the use of better quality timber witness advances in the manufacture of furniture. These improvements in furniture design and construction can be seen in a series of wall paintings that were discovered in the mastaba tomb of Hesyra at Saqqara and in the reconstructed royal furniture of Queen Hetepheres I at Giza.
Comparing the furniture deposited in the tomb of the workman Sennedjem with the royal deposit discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamun, we can assess the differences in the quality, form and construction of furniture manufactured during the New Kingdom.

Dr. Geoffrey Killen is a leading ancient furniture historian, technologist and Egyptologist who studied Design and Technology at Shoreditch College, University of London and the University of Liverpool where he specialised in Ramesside woodworking. He has studied the collections of Egyptian furniture at most of the major museums including the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. He is the author of several books and numerous papers. He has also led in the field of experimental archaeology where making and using replica woodworking tools and equipment has generated and tested archaeological hypotheses. His practical work is now displayed together with those original artifacts in several British museums.