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ID number:  ECM 151
Named collection:  The Eton Myers Collection
Title / Object name:  Hair Pin
Object type:  Hair pin
Culture:  Egyptian
Materials:  Bone
Measurements:  overall: 10.00 cm x 0.70 cm x 0.70 cm (H x W x D)
Provenance:  Unknown

Bone hair pin with turned terminal

Bibliography:  Fletcher, J. 2000. 'Hair', in P. Nicholson and I. Shaw, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 495-501.

Fletcher, J. (2016) The Egyptian Hair Pin: practical, sacred, fatal, Internet Archaeology 42. http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.42.6.5

Krzyszkowska, O., Morkot, R. 2000. ‘Ivory and related materials’, in P. Nicholson and I. Shaw, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 320-331.

Notes:  Hair pins could be made of bone, ivory, glass, steatite or more precious materials such as gold, and typically found in burial contexts. Such objects may have been a functional part of daily life, but may also have been important to take with them to the afterlife. While materials such as ivory were a traded product in ancient Egypt, bone was a common, strong and readily available resource that could be used for both decorative and more practical objects (Krzyszkowska and Morkot 2000: 327).

Though little archaeological evidence of workshops utilising bone in ancient Egypt survives, the construction of a hair pin or needle from bone must have involved either sectioning and splitting the bone lengthwise, and the refined object could then be polished (Krzyszkowska and Morkot 2000: 329).

Wigs and false braids are particularly well known from the New Kingdom, worn by both men and women (Fletcher 2000: 496-498). Hair pins could adorn such wigs and also hold false braids in place, and examples date back as far as the Predynastic period (Fletcher 2016).

Each of the hair pins within the Eton Myers collection (ECM 150, 151, 152, 153 and 154) range in size and style, and feature different decorated terminals.

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