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Research

Dressed in Amun’s blue

Fourth research stay: Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia. A leitmotiv of Meroitic textiles, the color blue is omnipresent in virtually all decor: stripes, embroideries, tapestry…etc. Sometimes, it even covers the entire expense of the fabric. Interestingly, it is very rarely associated with another color and is a constant companion to the use of cotton. So much so that it seems that Meroitic textiles are best defined by a camaïeu of white and blue
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Modern Lens

A week in my grand-mother’s tobe

Shortly after I started TexMeroe, I saw on Twitter the beautiful picture of a young Sudanese woman wearing a traditional white tobe and posing for the camera in her university’s garden. Fresh from reading Khartoum at Night, I had recently discovered the primordial role of the tobe for the emancipation of women throughout Sudan’s modern history. So her image really resonated with me. I got in touch with her – oh marvel of social media!
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Research

Tell me what you wear…

Tell me what you wear…. And I will tell you who you are? Third research stay, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada In our world of infinite fashion choices, judging a person solely on the one outfit we see him or her wear first would be simplistic. But can we deny the strength of our projected appearance, on others as well as on ourselves? In September 2015, in a much-commented gesture, the Chinese prime minister Xi
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Research

In Reisner’s footsteps

Second research stay: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA Any student of Egyptology would love to get lost in the MFA’s corridors and storage rooms, discovering the many faces of ancient Egyptians, statues and tomb reliefs unearthed by George A. Reisner at Giza. But Reisner didn’t only deploy his herculean prowess in Egypt: among his many archaeological endeavors, he also excavated some of the major sites of Sudanese and Nubian history, such as Kerma, Djebel
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Modern Lens

Sudanese Clothing Through the Modern Lens

Wearing clothes answers social imperatives, many more than bodily needs in fact. As humans, we of course need to protect our bodies from the environment and from view, but how we do it is what socially matters. This is why clothing is an ever-present subject in the political debate of every country, and why this apparently simple need sustains one of the biggest economic market worldwide. The way we present ourselves to others conveys our
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Modern Lens

Forty White Tobes

The first day I came to the Copenhagen University, I happened upon a book seemingly waiting for me on a shelf of the Academic bookstore. Entitles “Khartoum at Night, Fashion and Body Politics in Imperial Sudan”, the essay is written by Mary Grace Brown, assistant professor of History at the University of Kansas. It retraces the history of women’s life in Norther Sudan from 1899 to 1956, focussing on the sharp evolutions of their bodily
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Musings

Getting Started as a Marie Curie Postdoc

Organisation central at my desk, CTR [photo E.Y.]
Here it is: you have signed your contract, (hopefully) found a decent place to live, got the keys to the office and bought a new coffee mug with your new digs’ logo. Now it is time to get the ball rolling and work! You know the intricacies of your project by heart, well ordered as they are in your grant application. You most probably have spent months on each aspects of your project, dreamed about
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Research

Databases or the beauties of a «finds office»

First research stay: German Archaeological Institute (DAI), Berlin For my first research stay, I didn’t go very far: just a one hour flight away from Copenhagen, in Berlin, Germany. My main objective was to study the textile tools discovered on the Meroitic town of Hamadab, in Central Sudan, excavated by the DAI team since 2002. Co-directed by Pawel Wolf and Ulrike Nowotnick, the mission has uncovered a large part of the town’s plan, revealing living
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Research

Invisible craft? Textile tools and production

I have been very fortunate in the past few years to work with archaeologists who understand the potential of textile archaeology and accepted to communicate many of their data to me. I have also worked on great archives…and some less great, assembled in the first decades of Sudanese archaeology. But in this field, we are often reminded of the lesser status of textile activities in the mind of many of our predecessors: “If I devote
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Research

The basics of Meroitic textiles

Nubia and Sudan, thanks to their hyper-arid climatic conditions, are favourable to the preservation of organic materials. The two regions are therefore a very fertile ground for textile studies, offering vast corpuses of well-preserved textiles, archaeobotanical remains of fibres, many spinning and weaving tools, as well as a large iconographic repertoire of people in various costumes. Taken as a whole, these different sources offer the rare chance to follow textile production from its very beginning
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