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The Egyptian collection of the Brussels Royal Museums of Art and History was developed thanks to the subscription of the museums, in the first half of the 20th century, to British excavations of the Egypt Exploration Fund (later the Egypt Exploration Society). The collection thus includes objects from the most prestigious archaeological sites of Egypt: Thebes, Saqqarah, Abydos, the Sinaï,…, as well as from numerous sites in Nubia.

This material will be analysed in light of recent advances in the understanding of early metallurgical processes. The collection will be contextualised in respect to the copper metallurgical chain, putting the objects in relation with holdings originating from the same field excavations, but scattered throughout several European institutions due to the hazards of contemporary collaborations and financing arrangements. The inferences drawn will be verified with the help of mostly non-invasive and recently developed methods.

For more information on the Brussels Royal Museums of Art and History, please check out the museum web-site and its online database:


First mapping of the artefacts of the collection connected to metal industry

Realisation Aurélie Joppart

Ancient Egypt


  • Early Dynastic Period A 3100–2686 BC


The collections of the Royal Museum for Central Africa are extremely rich in material related to copper metallurgy, both archaeological and ethnographical. The ethnographic collections hold finished objects, a large collection of working tools and a numerous archives of diverse nature: written documents (travellers, colonial civil servants and missionaries accounts), photographs and films.

The archaeological collections are extremely rich in artefacts from the Congo basin, collected from the 1930’s onwards.

 Working in parallel on these two data sets, an integrated approach to the understanding of copper working processes is possible in several cases, from recordings of a specific fabrication technique (films and photographs, written accounts) to the tool marks observed on the finished objects themselves.


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