My name is Elsa Yvanez and I am an archaeologist, researcher and post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Textile Research, Copenhagen University. I am also the head of a two-boys (one small, one grown) family team. Recent emigrant in Denmark, I have previously lived in France – where I was born and raised – England, Sudan, and the United States. After two Masters in Egyptology, I completed a Ph.D. program at Lille 3 University (France), focussing on the archaeology of textile production in ancient Sudan and Nubia.
In 2016, I successfully applied for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie individual fellowship, awarded by the European Commission as part of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program. The TexMeroe project was launched in March 2018. It is hosted by the Centre for Textile Research, Saxo Institute, at the faculty of Humanities, Copenhagen University.
A part of a fantastic team at CTR, I divide my time between research, museum visits, university life, writing, and presentations. I also make sure to learn as much as possible about textiles and textile making, relying on the many wonderful opportunities provided by CTR and its large network of experts, whom together are setting the foundations of textile studies as a discipline.
One day weaver apprentice, one day critically assessing the potential of biomolecular analyses for textile studies, the others devising conservation policies, or dissecting cuneiform letters from 18th century B.C.E. textile traders, day after day, my understanding of my own object of study strengthens and deepens.
As a researcher, I am particularly interested in the archaeology of the Nile valley, in ancient crafts and technologies, and in the relations that so closely relate clothing to the construction of social and cultural identities.
This blog is a window on the TexMeroe project and aims to explore these different topics while showing the evolution of my research. It will also describe my work as a Marie Curie fellow and hopefully provide useful insights into the postdoctoral path. From everyday musings on Copenhagen and Sudanese life, I also wish to bring forward a positive dialogue between Danish and Sudanese cultures. As an archaeologist, I often have my eyes turned to the past and I arguably know very little of modern and contemporary Sudan. But in the scope of just a few weeks 10 years ago, its people, landscapes, and history left an everlasting impression on me. An impression powerful enough to steer, since then, so many of my life choices and my present career. Constantly renewed, it is this very sense of wonder – maybe naive but oh-so genuine – that primarily motivated me to write this blog.
As such, this blog is by no means intended to be a scholarly enterprise and I warmly invite anyone interested in learning more to either get in touch with me or visit my Academia page.