Ancient Egyptian Woodworking

Date & Time: 
Monday, October 8, 2018 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

The tools and processes developed by the Egyptian carpenter.

Egyptian carpenters used a wide range of tools, techniques and processes to create products that were manufactured to serve the needs of Egyptian society. Egyptians exploited all the products of the tree, its wood for constructional work, leaves for fodder, basketry and matting. Locally sourced woods were used from an early period but the variable quality of these timbers led Egyptians to venture beyond their borders to source better quality material.

Originally tree trunks were cleaved into boards by driving wedges into the tree’s grain. However, advances in metallurgy and the development of metal woodwork tools made it possible to accurately convert boards by sawing down the tree trunk. Egyptian carpenters also developed a range of sophisticated woodwork joints and mastered the techniques of gluing, veneering, inlaying, marquetry and parquetry as well as experimenting with woodturning.

The lecture will conclude with a practical demonstration of a set of replica woodworking tools used by the ancient Egyptian carpenter.

Dr. Geoffrey Killen

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 Antiquities Museum, Cairo, and is the author of several major 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 artefacts in several British museums.


Denver Museum of Nature & Science - Gates Planetarium

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Denver, Colorado 80222