Mummy Label Database (MLD)


The Mummy Label Database (MLD) is a joint project of the CSIC (Instituto de Lenguas y Culturas del Mediterráneo y Oriente Próximo, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales – CSIC), Madrid, and of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. This project, whose editors are Sofía Torallas Tovar (CSIC), Raquel Martín Hernández (CSIC), and François Gaudard (University of Chicago), is focused on making the already-published mummy labels easily accessible to scholars as an on-line database. In addition, the aim of the project is also to publish as many as possible of the still unpublished labels, as well as to republish all those that have been defectively or incompletely edited. Mummy labels were used as a means of identifying corpses of the deceased when they had to be transported from their home to the necropolis. Made of wood and more rarely of stone, faience, or even, in some rare cases, ivory, they were attached to the mummy with a piece of cord. These labels were inscribed in Demotic, Greek (or both), and sometimes in hieroglyphs, hieratic, Coptic, or even Aramaic, with short texts giving important information such as the name, parentage, age, place of residence, destination of the deceased, and, in certain instances, further indications about the shipping of the corpses. These small monuments represent a very interesting corpus which has often been neglected in the study of the material and documentary evidence from Egypt. There is an approximate number of 2500 known and edited labels, but the fact that they have been published in various periodicals and journals makes a thorough study all the more difficult to begin. This fully searchable database will be a useful tool for subsequent studies and we intend to make it available to the scholarly community via the internet. For further information on the project, see the Annual Reports below, in particular, that of 2008-2009.

Annual Reports