Honey was the major sweetener for ancient Egyptians. It was used in food and medicine, and was a valuable tribute commodity. Honey production might have been a royal prerogative in the Old and Middle Kingdoms, but appears to be a more expansive industry from the New Kingdom onwards. This lecture assesses the industrialization of Egyptian honey production and the extent of royal and temple control over bee-keeping from the New Kingdom to the Ptolemaic Period through beekeeping titles, New Kingdom letters, the Wilbour Papyrus, Abydos Stela of Sheshonq, and Zenon archives.
CT scans of the museum's mummies reveal objects in the body cavity of one, including small beeswax figures. The Egypt Work Group will review the magical use of these and similar beeswax objects. The group will summarize their experimental archaeology efforts to determine how the Ancient Egyptians processed beeswax. Methods of separating wax, coloring wax, and sculpting wax are examined. The crudely made figures found in the DMNS mummy were probably produced by a process we call "poured wax slab".