Classics and Ancient History Seminar Series: 'Musical Instruments in Roman and Late Antique Egypt’ (Dr Ellen Swift, University of Kent)

5:00pm - 6:00pm / Tuesday 16th October 2018 / Venue: Walbank Lecture Theatre Abercromby SQ (south)
Type: Seminar / Category: Department / Series: Classics and Ancient History Seminar Series
  • Admission: Free.
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The UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology has in its collections a number of musical instruments including clappers, bells, cymbals, rattles and panpipes. As part of a wider AHRC-funded project on Roman and Late Antique artefacts from Egypt in the Petrie Museum, we are researching these instruments and their contribution to everyday social life. As well as investigating the features of the original objects, an important element of the research has been the recreation of functional replicas, using 3D scanning and printing technology together with a range of appropriate craft techniques. This paper will outline the process of reconstruction and its various challenges, present a selection of the reconstructed instruments and the sounds they make, and discuss the social roles of sound-making objects in Roman and Late Antique Egypt.

For more information on the overall project please see our blog at

Ellen Swift is Reader in Archaeology at the University of Kent. She has published widely on Roman dress (Regionality in Dress Accessories in the Late Roman West, 2000; Roman Dress Accessories, 2008) and decoration (Style and Function in Roman Decoration, 2009). She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.