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the Egyptian Bead Project

What We Do

the Egyptian Bead Project is a collaborative and multidisciplinary research program for all scholars interested in beads and beadwork. It aims to use archaeological artifact studies to increase our understanding of the role of beads and beadwork, and also trade and technologies related to beads in ancient Egypt.

Wish to join?

We are open to suggestions and researchers who wish to collaborate with us and/or would like to publish their research in the series. tEBP is interested in all research related to beads, including typological work, material and technological studies, symbolism, organization of bead production, conservation and reconstruction work, and experimental archaeology.


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Preliminairy reports & publications

A Preliminary Overview of Ancient Egyptian Stone Beads

Harrell, A. James – Palarch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt/Egyptology 14(2) (tEBP Series) (2017)

Stone beads are one of the most common artifacts of ancient Egypt, but despite this they have received little attention from scholars. The first and only attempt at a comprehensive study is the late 1930’s investigation of Nai Xia, who looked at beads in all materials at what is now the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College London, UK. The present survey builds on the work of Xia, and offers summaries on two aspects of stone beads: first, the relative amounts of rock and mineral varieties used during each period of Egyptian history; and second, the changes in bead form, perforation and polish through time for broad categories of stone.

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Ongoing research projects

Amarna beads in Berlin project

André Veldmeijer, Salima Ikram and Erno Endenburg are working on the beads from Tell el-Amarna, currently in storage at the Neues Museum Berlin, Germany. The collection incorporates over 1,500 beads and pendants, made of glass, Egyptian faience and stone. This ongoing research will eventually be published in the tEBP series.

Ancient Egyptian Beadwork

Jolanda Bos is conducting research encompassing a description and analysis of ancient Egyptian beadwork through the different periods of Egyptian history, with a focus on threading techniques. The research will lead to a publication on the character and the development of this ancient technology.

Amarna Bead Research by Anna Hodgkinson

In 2014, Anna Hodgkinson led an archaeological fieldwork project at Tell el-Amarna, for the (partial re-) excavation of a complex of houses at site M50.14-16, a glass-workshop. In order to find out more about  domestic glass-working at Amarna and the whereabouts of a possible kiln, an area of 217 square metres was excavated. A large number of finds relating to glass-working and the manufacture of goods from other materials, were found. The fieldwork report published in the Journal of Glass Studies can be downloaded here. For more detailed information:

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