Elsa YvanezAncient textilesLille University


Elsa Yvanez holds a MA in Egyptology (La Sorbonne – Paris IV), a MA in Egyptian Archaeology (UCL, London) and a PhD in archaeology from Lille 3 university, France. After focusing her first MA dissertation on Middle Kingdom administration in Egypt and Nubia, she turned her inquiries towards ancient textile material from Meroitic Sudan. Her research encompasses all aspects of textile production and uses, from fibers to tools, from weaving techniques to clothing, all the way to textile usage in urban and funerary contexts. Elsa continued to explore these issues as a Marie Skłodowska Curie fellow at the Centre for Textile Research (CTR), University of Copenhagen (TexMeroe project, EU grant n°743420), from 2018 to 2020. Since then, she is designing new projects aimed at developing textile archaeology along the Nile Valley. She is also the co-founder of the Textile Archaeology in Egypt and Sudan research network, hosted at CTR.

The objectives of Elsa’s research are four-fold: i) to develop best practices for the study of archaeological textiles in situ during excavation, ii) to reconstruct the entire chain of textile production from the manufacture of raw material to the finished product, iii) to understand the economic impact of textiles on agriculture, craft production, trade, and the funerary industry, and iv) to decode the way garments were used to convey individual and social identity.

Starting in April 2021, Elsa is joining the Polish Centre for Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw, with a project on textiles in Nubian funerary practices. She is also beginning to study the textile production of the Middle Kingdom period in Egypt and will join the MKTP team to analyze the textile material found in the embalming cache of the vizier Ipi. This unique group of fabrics – sheets, bandages, natron bags, rags, etc. – offers the unprecedented chance to study the Middle Kingdom textile craft in great detail, but also to understand the prominent role of textiles during the embalming and mummification processes.