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Itinerari mediterranei fra IV e IX secolo. Città-capitale e Deserto-monastico

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Beatrice Astrua

Textiles from Antinoupolis

Recent Finds from the so Called Peristyle Complex in the Northern Necropolis

Cäcilia Fluck

Texte intégral

Acknowledgements

I am deeply grateful to Rosario Pintaudi for taking me into his team and for giving me the opportunity to work on this fascinating material from one of the most important towns of Roman and Late Antique Egypt. I also would like to thank Peter Grossmann, Diletta Minutoli and Marcello Spanu for providing me with photos and plans and last but not least Harald Froschauer for many hours of fruitful and inspiring discussion.

Introduction

1Antinoupolis, close to the modern Sheikh Ibada, is situated about 300 km to the South of Cairo at the East bank of the river Nile. It replaced a former settlement of pharaonic times whose remnants still exist, such as a temple of Ramses II in the northern section of the current excavation area.

  • 1 D.L. Thompson, The Lost City of Antinoos, in «Archaeology», xxxiv (1981), n. 1, pp. 44-50; E. Mitch (...)
  • 2 G. Uggeri, I monumenti paleocristiani di Antinoe, in Atti del v Congresso Nazionale di Archeologia (...)
  • 3 P. Grossmann, Kirche und mutmaßliches Bischofshaus in Antinoopolis, in «Aegyptus», lxxxvi (2006), p (...)

2The city was founded by the Roman emperor Hadrian around 130 AD to honour his beloved Antinoos after his legendary death in the Nile, not far from this site. According to the archaeological evidence and literary sources, ancient Antinoupolis must have been a rather large and wealthy city with an orthogonal system of streets, main roads (decumanus and cardo) flanked by colonnades, a triumphal arch, a circus, theatre and hippodrome, public baths, cult and official buildings, housing and large cemeteries. It is also known that new roads were built to connect Antinoupolis with Berenike and Myos Hormos, important harbour towns on the Red Sea, which in turn gave the city access to the sea trade routes with the Eastern world. Under Diocletian (286 AD) it became the capital of the Thebaid nomos1. It remained a prosperous trading and cultural town until early Christian times when it became an Episcopal see2. Recently excavated churches of large dimensions and elaborate sculpture attest a continuous building activity until the 7th century at least3. After that, the city lost importance.

Discovery in the late 19th century

  • 4 For Carl Schmidt’s findings see: C. Fluck, Die Textilien von Carl Schmidt, in C. Fluck - P. Linsche (...)

3Exploration of the city of Antinoupolis began in the late 19th century. In January 1896, Carl Schmidt (1868-1938), a German scholar, visited the site and undertook the first small excavation in the northern cemetery where he discovered a few graves of the town’s wealthy citizens. He found several bodies fitted out with garments untypical for Egypt. The deceased did not wear the woven to shape tunic, common in Egypt throughout the first millennium AD, but tailored dresses and coats with oversized sleeves as well as gaiters and boots, all of Persian style made from a mixture of sheep’s and cashmere wool and leather (figs. 1-2). The coats, dresses, gaiters, boots and a few tapestries from Schmidt’s excavation are now in the Museum of Byzantine Art, National Museums of Berlin4.

  • 5 B. Borg, Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt […] Ägyptische Porträtmumien, Mainz 1998, pp. 20-26.

4At the same time, Émile Guimet (1836-1918), an industrial from Lyon, planned a large-scale mission in Antinoupolis for which he commissioned the French Egyptologist Albert Gayet (1856-1916). Between 1896 and 1911 excavations took place continuously at the site. The first were concentrated on the settlement, later ones extended to the cemeteries. The latter were an inexhaustible source for artefacts and objects of daily use – above all textiles where the bodies were dressed and wrapped. The Roman cemetery of the town was in addition the most abundant find-spot of the well known mummy portraits outside the Fayoum5.

  • 6 The bibliography of Gayet’s excavation notes is compiled by F. Calament, La révélation d’Antinoé pa (...)
  • 7 For a basic study about Gayet’s enterprises in Antinoupolis and the dispersion of the material in F (...)

5In the times of Gayet thousands of graves were unearthed, the bandaged corpses they contained were unwrapped and countless textiles from clothing, shrouds and household fabrics to filling material was brought to light in an enormous quantity and often of highest quality (fig. 3, p. 75). Unfortunately, Gayet mostly did not put emphasis on a correct documentation. His primary purpose was to recover new material to provide the European market. Nevertheless, his regularly published excavation notes6 include some valuable information that help to identify several pieces spread over the museums today7.

  • 8 In most cases, Gayet’s arrangements of the burials did not show the true original context, but were (...)
  • 9 M.-H. Rutschowscaya, Résurrection des tissues coptes: un choc et une tentation, in M.-H Santrot - M (...)

6Gayet – at the same time scientist, businessman and entertainer – organised impressive displays of Late Antique burial equipments he brought from Antinoupolis to Paris before textiles were divided among institutions8. He knew how to present his findings effectively. During the world exhibition in Paris in 1900 he hosted a sort of catwalk with models wearing dresses copied from the ancient garments found in Antinoupolis. Newspapers reported regularly about the progress of his excavations, fashion journals presented the dresses and accessories from the burials of the town’s ladies, and moreover the rediscovered testimonies from the past inspired artists, authors and theatre directors9.

7Today, the material from Gayet’s excavations at Antinoupolis builds a fundamental stock of the so called “Coptic” section in the department of Egyptian Antiquities in the Louvre. More pieces are dispersed over other – mostly French – museums and collections.

Excavation missions in the 20th century

  • 10 I. Andorlini, Gli scavi di John de Monins Johnson ad Antinoe (1913-1914), in F. Del Francia-Barocas (...)
  • 11 F. Pritchard, A Survey of Textiles in the UK from the 1913-14 Egypt Exploration Fund Season at Anti (...)

8From 1913 to 1914 the Egypt Exploration Fund under the leadership of John de Monins Johnson (1882-1956) undertook excavations in the rubbish heaps along the ancient city wall in the south-western and eastern section of the town with the primarily purpose to find papyri10. Nevertheless, some interesting textiles and leather wear came to light during this campaign. These findings are spread over various collections in Britain, the majority is now in the British Museum11.

  • 12 P. Pensabene, Elementi architettonici di Alessandria e di altri siti egiziani (Repertorio d’Arte de (...)
  • 13 S. Donadoni - A. Spallanzani Zimmermann - L. Bongrani Fanfoni, Antinoe 1965-1968. Missione archeolo (...)
  • 14 S. Donadoni, Stoffe decorate da Antinoe, in M. Salmi - I. Rossellini (ed. by), Scritti dedicati all (...)

9Since winter 1935/1936 the site is explored under Italian auspices in charge of the Istituto G. Vitelli in Florence and the University of Rome12. After a long interruption due to the vicissitudes and the aftermaths of the second World War, excavations were re-established in 1965 by Vittorio Bartoletti, Sergio Bosticco, Sergio Donadoni and Massimo Manfredi13. These excavations did not only focus the recovery of papyri, but also concentrated on the archaeological remains of the settlement. A considerable number of buildings and mausolea were unearthed. Textiles, among which some exceptional pieces were also found14.

  • 15 For reports about fieldwork in the northern necropolis see for instance: I. Baldassarre - I. Bragan (...)

10After some years of interruption due to security problems, since the year 2000 the Papyrological Institute “G. Vitelli” in Florence resumed excavations of the Roman and Late Antique town. An international team of specialists under the leadership of Rosario Pintaudi is exploring the entire site, including areas in the northern necropolis, for instance, that had never been touched by previous excavations15.

The so called “peristyle complex”

  • 16 P. Grossmann, Antinoopolis - Der Komplex des ʹPeristylbausʹ, in G. Bastianini - R. Pintaudi (ed. by (...)
  • 17 P. Grossmann, Antinoopolis cit., p. 44.

11One of the new discoveries is the so called “peristyle complex” at the eastern edge of the northern necropolis (fig. 4). Most probably this building originally served as a meeting place for the descendants to commemorate their loved ones16. Later, the peristyle building lost his original purpose: The intercolumnia of the western colonnade were partly bricked up to get small chambers, each with an own entrance. Some of these rooms were equipped with a staircase leading to an upper floor or to the roof. Seemingly, after these conversions, this section of the peristyle building served a civilian population as living accommodation. There are no indications yet that this area was inhabited by monks, as presumed formerly17.

  • 18 Ivi, p. 43.
  • 19 R. Pintaudi, Gli scavi dell’Istituto Papirologico cit., pp. 11-14, pl. xiv-xvii, figs. 74-94 and pl (...)

12In January, February and October 2007 Rosario Pintaudi unearthed some burials and lots of single textiles in the court of the peristyle complex. Most of the bodies once buried there were not in their graves any more but dispersed in the sand. We do not know when this happened. It might be that the area was plundered at some indeterminate date. But the possibility cannot be excluded that the inhabitants of the living accommodation, that was installed in the colonnade when the cemetery was no longer in use, destroyed the place. Nevertheless, there were still a considerable number of burials that remained untouched. Some corpses were found in situ under the pavement of the peristyle court18; other ones were buried into the eastern boundary wall. The finding circumstances of the textiles were published in 2008 by Rosario Pintaudi and Diletta Minutoli19. Anthropological studies have yet to be carried out.

  • 20 R. Pintaudi, Gli scavi dell’Istituto Papirologico cit., p. 12.
  • 21 A. Delattre, Textes coptes et grecs d’Antinoé, in G. Bastianini - R. Pintaudi (ed. by), Antinoupoli (...)

13The coins and papyri found in this area date from the 3rd to the 7th centuries AD20. The majority of the textile finds seems to belong to the Late Antique and Early Christian periods, too. Findings of a later time were made only sporadically, for instance an inscription, dated to the 9th century21.

  • 22 February 2008: Harald Froschauer and Hermann Harrauer; February 2009 and 2010: Harald Froschauer an (...)
  • 23 A preliminary report about the first steps of preservation and documentation carried out in Februar (...)

14The textile finds from the burials and the debris were put into storage in the house of the Italian Mission in Sheikh Ibada. Hermann Harrauer and Harald Froschauer started recording in the winter campaign 200822. During this season first steps of preservation were undertaken, and in the autumn season 2008 conservation of the first pieces began23. Conservation is carried out by Mohammed Saleh Ahmed, Nasr Ahmed Mohammed and Somaya Abdelkhalek from the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo. The scientific documentation is in the hands of Harald Froschauer and the authoress. Selected pieces are also studied by Rosario Pintaudi, Hermann Harrauer, Maria Cristina Guidotti and Flora Silva.

15Until now approximately 1000 textiles and textile fragments were recorded and photographed. Another half dozen of boxes still remains to be registered. The textile material is miscellaneous, ranging from torn off bands to fix the outer layers of the mummy wrappings, shrouds, rags used as filling material to bolster the bodies and above all a plenty of clothing and dress accessories in many variations and colours. As far as possible the material was classified by function. The basic fabrics are mostly carried out in linen and woven in plain weave, meaning each weft thread crosses the warp threads by going over one, then under the next, and so on. Upper garments are occasionally made of wool. Most of the multicoloured decoration of dresses and hangings is made of wool and little linen in tapestry technique. A few pieces were also made of silk in a samite binding (fig. 5), which is a more complex weaving technique than plain weave.

Textile equipment of a baby24

  • 24 Published in a brochure prepared for the 14th Coptic Study Day by the Association francophone de co (...)

16In the winter campaign 2009 and 2010 recording of the textiles continued. Apart from that detailed documentation and technical analyses of selected items started, first focus was laid on the textile equipment of children’s burials. One of them was that of a baby buried together with their mother (fig. 6). Rosario Pintaudi discovered their grave in January 2007 in the centre of the peristyle court beneath the pavement. Both corpses were wrapped in shrouds, fixed by ribbons arranged in form of lozenge pattern, typically not only for burials in Antinoupolis but from all over Egypt in the Late-Antique and early Christian period. The mummy of the baby was unwrapped. After having removed the bandages and outer shrouds, four tiny garments including a shawl that was put around its neck came to light. It was not possible to determine the sex of the baby because the skeleton was – apart from the extremities – almost completely decomposed.

17The garments were already restored when we started analyses. All were made of linen basic fabrics. They measure between 38 and 43 cm in length and 32 to 42 cm in width including the sleeves. Undermost, the baby wore a simple tunic sewn together from six pieces of linen from a discarded fabric and fitted out with a hood. Thereover another hooded tunic made of seven pieces appeared. At the top this hood is decorated with four little tassels from black and red wool.

18A little dress with flared sides followed (fig. 7, p. 75), a type of garment which occurs astonishingly often among children’s dresses from Egypt. Such dresses are inspired by the Persian or Syrian fashion. They are always tailored after a special scheme: front and back and also the upper part of the sleeves are cut out in one piece from a large fabric. The neck opening is normally half round and ending in a slit at one of the shoulders. The sleeves – made of two rectangular pieces – were then attached to the upper, cut to shape parts. At the garment’s sides gores were added that give the dress its flared shape. Hereafter, the dress was folded in the horizontal axes, and sides and sleeves were closed. The neck slit could be fastened by a band. The décor of such dresses always emphasises the vertical middle axes, while the back remains undecorated. The little dress of the baby is in so far unusual as its decoration is embroidered. It is carried out in yellow and green wool and imitating a chain with a pendant in form of a cross within a corona.

19Right on top another hooded, but sleeveless tunic completed the baby’s wardrobe (fig. 8, p. 76). The hood is decorated with two red circles, each filled with a cross. The edge at the front is trimmed by a red band, and fringes adorn the top. The tunic itself shows small clavi that consist of a brown stripe between red lines, additionally three red vertical lines go out downwards from the neck slit.

  • 25 Évagre le Pontique, Traité Pratique ou Le Moine, ed. and transl. by A. Guillaumont - C. Guillaumont (...)
  • 26 Palladio. La storia lausiaca, ed. by G.J.M. Bartelink, Verona 1974, p. 32; Hermias Sozomenus, Kirch (...)
  • 27 Information on the cowl are owed to Mariachiara Giorda whom I would like to thank very much for sha (...)

20Concluding it can be stated that all garments are fabricated carefully, the decoration is tiny, but simple. By the fact that the baby already possessed four garments in his short life (maybe handed down from older siblings) and judging from the style and quality of their decoration we can presume that its family must belong to the middle class. The fact that three of the garments are fitted out with hoods is striking. Indeed, hoods seem to be a typical accessory for children. They were not only found in children’s graves in Antinoupolis, but are known from other Egyptian sites as well. There must be a reason for it. Some ancient authors give us an indirect clue, namely in connection with comments about monk’s dresses. Evagrius in his Tractatus practicus, written between the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 5th century, tells us that the koukoullion (that is the cowl) is the symbol of the grace of God who is the protector of babies. A monk wearing a koukoullion can thus be protected carefully25. It is the first mentioning of the element of the cowl by a Greek term and referred to a monk. Other monastic fathers like Palladius, Sozomenus and Dorotheos also confirm that it was a typical element of children’s garments and that the monastic cowls are the same like children wear26. Thus, it seems that children’s apparels influenced the monastic habit in the meaning of the cowl as a symbol for innocence27.

Textile equipment of a little boy’s burial28

  • 28 Mummy 15, found the 3rd February 2007, unwrapped the 4th February 2007; northern necropolis, Kom es (...)

21All in all 16 textiles belong to the equipment of a boy’s burial. His body was dressed in three tunics and wrapped in several layers of sheets which were fixed by typical diagonally arranged bands, creating a lozenge pattern on the surface. Like the baby described above, the boy wore the tunics, all made of linen, one upon the other. All are in a fragmentary conditions. Their length is about 38 cm, the neck opening only 18 cm wide, and the sleeves are about 16 cm long. This means they were meant for a small child. The cuffs of the sleeves and the neck opening of all three tunics were trimmed with bands of red or blue wool and linen in tablet weaving with a geometric pattern; stripes in tapestry are woven into the basic weave of the sleeves, a few centimetres above the cuffs.

22The tunic the boy wore undermost has tiny red clavi with a circle pattern and an oval sigillum at the lower end. At the shoulders and at the tunic’s lower edges circles are inserted showing a geometric pattern of five ovals on a red ground.

23The upper tunic is decorated with squares at the shoulders and in the lower edges. They mount a green circle motif in the centre on a yellow ground. The clavi ending in a sigillum show circles and rectangles, again carried out in yellow and green wool. The woven in stripes on the sleeves consist of alternating little red and green rods.

24The tunic the boy wore between the two mentioned above (fig. 9, p. 76) is fitted out with a horizontal tuck in its middle. At the right shoulder remnants of a small ribbon that served to fasten a neck slit, typical for children’s tunics, can still be seen. The tunic has tiny clavi showing a row of alternating red, yellow and green heart shaped leaves that run into a sigillum in form of a leave. Blossoms in red, yellow and green decorate the shoulder parts and the lower edges, while the stripe on the preserved sleeve consists of a row of red rods and green leaves. Clavi, blossoms and the sleeve band are carried out in tapestry, directly woven into the basic weave.

25Seven linen sheets in various qualities were wrapped around the dressed body, one of it of the typical kind of shroud with a brocaded red cross in one of the edges that was frequently found in this part of the cemetery. The other sheets do not have any coloured decoration, some have fringes, one is fitted out with selfbands, another is structured by a thick weft yarn that was inserted in regular intervals and creating a curved selvedge.

26Fragments of the strings were used to fix the sheets around the corpse and rags used as filling material. Among these a chequered linen weave in blue and bleached linen with a slightly shimmering surface in a fine quality, also belonged to this burial.

Textiles from the burial of a naked boy

  • 29 Found the 27th January 2007, northern necropolis, Kom est, quadrant D1/A4, level i.

27Another burial belong again to a boy whose equipment was not as rich as the two other children’s29. His naked body was wrapped in several layers of cloths only. One of it was the typical fringed shroud with one of the edges decorated by a red cross in brocading. Three more sheets of different quality were also used for the wrapping. Two were made of coarse linen and have long fringes, one of them shows a red H-shaped motif in one of the edges, while the uppermost sheet is made of wool in a striking peach colour, slightly napped on both sides. Traces of the original lacing and also remnants of the woollen ribbons can still be seen on the surface (fig. 10). Some torn of rags of different size and a piece of a linen hairnet in sprang technique (originally decorated with red wool) were used as filling material.

Dress accessories

28In order to prepare a paper for a conference of the Textiles from the Nile Valley research group dedicated to dress accessories analyses were concentrated in the winter 2010 season on the content of a box entitled “cuffie e sciarpe”. In fact it contained 125 mixed textile items of different functions and characters, where we can find not only dress accessories, but fragments of tunics and other garments, sheets, trimmings and the typical ribbons for fixing fabrics around the corpses, as well as a number of pieces whose original function could not be determined yet. All items were found in the debris of the peristyle court, isolated or in connection with burials of adults and children alike.

  • 30 Footwear is not included in this paper. Recent finds from the northern necropolis are published by (...)
  • 31 A selection of dress accessories from the peristyle court is published in the proceedings of the ‘T (...)

29Nevertheless, the variety of dress accessories30 was enormous. They range from hoods, caps, hairnets, veils, wreaths and girdles to bags or pouches31.

Hairnets in sprang technique

  • 32 Haarnetz_2008.01: C. Fluck - H. Froschauer, Dress Accessories from Antinoupolis cit., pp. 56-57, fi (...)

30Above all, hairnets in sprang technique were found in the peristyle area. Some of them are well preserved like the two examples shown in fig. 11 (p. 77) and 12. The hairnet fig. 11 is made of linen and little red wool. It is tapering and closed at the sides by red wool threads interlinked with the adjacent linen sprang work. The apex at the top is fixed with a linen thread. The crossing threads of the sprang work create a geometric pattern of lozenges, pentagons and hexagons. Directly above the red browband in the lower section three crosses made of rows of hexagons are visible. The cross-motif is repeated once in the upper part of the hairnet. Red finishing borders mark the outline of the hairnet at the sides. The piece is of highest craftsmanship; especially the crosses carried out in sprang technique are remarkable32.

  • 33 Haarnetz_2010.01: C. Fluck - H. Froschauer, Dress Accessories from Antinoupolis cit., p. 59, fig. 5
  • 34 For further references from Antinoupolis see Ibid.; for another dark coloured example see also: P. (...)
  • 35 P. Linscheid, Frühbyzantinische textile Kopfbedeckungen cit., pp. 53-55.

31Another – almost complete – example is made from linen and wool in equal parts (fig. 12)33. It is again tapering and closed at the sides by interlinking black wool threads with the neighbouring linen net. The bright linen threads worked in a fine black net of lozenges create the pattern. The latter consists of a vertical row of interlace, from which double stripes turn up diagonally in regular intervals on both sides towards the edges, where they pass into a fine network of lozenges. At the lower edge remnants of a red drawstring are preserved. Lozenge-patterns like this one are typical for hairnets in sprang technique, however the black colour of the wool is seldom34. It seems that this type of headgear was worn by females only35.

Wreaths

  • 36 D. Bénazeth, Accessoires vestimentaires dans la collection de textiles coptes du musée du Louvre, i (...)
  • 37 Haarkranz_2010.05: C. Fluck - H. Froschauer, Dress accessories from Antinoupolis cit., p. 64.
  • 38 See note 36.
  • 39 L. Del Francia-Barocas, La collezione di tessuti copti del Museo Egizio di Firenze cit., p. 225, n. (...)

32Hair wreaths were also very common in Antinoupolis36. They seem to belong to the female costume, too. The example introduced here is made of a strip of looped weave that is folded on the vertical axis and sewn together with linen thread (fig. 13, p. 77)37. It consists of alternating coloured sections in green, red and blue wool. The middle part of the wreath – meaning the part that was lying on top of the head – is marked by two blue sections and three red, and two green ones between them. At one end the surplus warp threads are turned in. A considerable number of similar pieces from Antinoupolis is kept in the collections of the Louvre38 and in the Museo Egizio in Florence39 – the latter probably not from the same building, but like the findings of the 2007 seasons from the northern necropolis.

An extended cap

  • 40 Kappe_2010.01: C. Fluck - H. Froschauer, Dress accessories from Antinoupolis cit., p. 61, fig. 7 wi (...)
  • 41 In the cemetery of al-Bagawat one cap was found in a woman’s grave, another together with an infant (...)

33Among the finds studied in 2010 there was an extraordinary piece of headgear. Its fabric was extremely fragile and crusted. After the conservators had unfolded and smoothed it, the fragment could be identified as a sort of “extended” cap (fig. 14)40. The upper part (the cap) is made of a linen fabric. Three radial flat-fell seams are preserved at the backside giving the cap its curved shape. The front is fixed by a simple seam following the outline of the back. The cap is decorated with horizontal red bands. The smaller one in the middle is simply red, the outer ones are divided by two horizontal black lines each. A tail of fine linen fabric is attached to the lower edge of the back and the seam is trimmed with a border showing remnants of a geometric pattern. The piece is of extraordinary quality: the tail is made of a fine fabric, the seams are carried out very carefully, and the cap was even decorated on the inside. Such extended caps were worn by females, although one is said to be from a child’s burial41.

Pouches

  • 42 Tasche_2009.01: C. Fluck - H. Froschauer, Dress accessories from Antinoupolis cit., p. 68, figs. 17 (...)

34A few items among the accessories from the peristyle court can be classified as bags, sacks or pouches. The little pouch introduced here measures 15 cm in height and 17.5 cm in width (fig. 15, p. 77)42. It is made of a rectangular piece of a reused linen fabric that is folded in the middle and sewn together at two sides. Parallel to the right edge of this piece a couple of selfbands run vertically, partly hidden below the trimmings of the front that decorate the bag along the edges. The trimmings at the upper open and right side are divided into two bands. One shows a geometric repeat pattern of lozenges in yellow, red and turquoise between simple dark blue lines, while the other band most probably is decorated with pairs of antithetically arranged animals. The trimming at the left is decorated with a row of chalices. Due to the fragmentary state of preservation, the motifs on the little piece of tablet-woven band in the lower right angle and of the tapestry woven band at the lower edge cannot be determined. On the backside remnants of a tapestry are sewn above a hole at the lower edge: maybe this is an ancient patch that comes from the same tapestry as that on the front.

Textiles from the tomb of Tgol

  • 43 D. Minutoli, Antinoe, necropoli nord 2007 cit., pp. 61-73.

35Finally, in February 2010 the content of two boxes with the textile material from the tomb of a lady was recorded and photographed. The tomb was discovered in January 2007 and crowned by an epitaph with a Greek inscription mentioning the name (Tgol) of the deceased and the day when she died. Her body lay in a wooden coffin and was oriented with the head towards West. Tgol was richly dressed and wearing boots43.

  • 44 C. Fluck, Textiles from the so-called tomb of Tgol in Antinoupolis, in Pagans, Christians and Musli (...)

36The boxes included 40 pieces, among which two tunics, a large mantel of a strikingly saffron colour (fig. 16) crowned by a large wreath, another upper garment of a yet unknown type, funeral sheets, bands for wrapping, and filling material. The boxes also contained a comb and a few blank papyrus fragments. First steps of conservation on the textiles were undertaken and each item was registered and photographed. In February 2012 detailed analyses were carried out. A report of this burial will be published in the run of 201344.

Conclusion

  • 45 See note 14.
  • 46 Haarteil_2010.01: C. Fluck - H. Froschauer, Dress accessories from Antinoupolis cit., p. 67, fig. 1 (...)

37The items presented within this paper are a cross section from an impressive variety of textiles discovered recently at one find-spot only, which is the peristyle area in the northern necropolis. They mostly correspond in fashion, style, techniques and decorations to the Antinoite textiles found during Gayet times and made by the former Italian missions, published by Sergio Donadoni, Loretta Del Francia-Barocas and Maria Cristina Guidotti45. Nevertheless, there are also items like for instance a hairpiece in a meshwork made of human hair46 which remains singular until now.

38The burials under the pavement of the peristyle court and in the adjacent chambers as well as each single item found in the debris reveal significant information how the citizens of Antinoupolis dressed in their lifetime, how they embellished their houses, which patterns and motifs they prefered for decoration and which technical and handcrafted abilities they owned. The textiles deliver – more than any other grave goods – information about individual preferences and social status. They are surviving witnesses of real life in Late Antiquity.

Annexes

Fig. 1. Museum of Byzantine Art, inv. 9695, riding coat in Persian style

Fig. 1. Museum of Byzantine Art, inv. 9695, riding coat in Persian style

© National Museums of Berlin, The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, photo A. Voigt

Fig. 2. Museum of Byzantine Art, inv. 9926, gaiters in Persian style

Fig. 2. Museum of Byzantine Art, inv. 9926, gaiters in Persian style

© National Museums of Berlin, The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, photo A. Voigt

Fig. 4. The peristyle complex, aerial view

Fig. 4. The peristyle complex, aerial view

© M. Spanu, Università della Tuscía-Viterbo

Fig. 5. Silk samite, reg. no. Seide_2010_01

Fig. 5. Silk samite, reg. no. Seide_2010_01

© Istituto Papirologico G. Vitelli, Florence, photo H. Froschauer

Fig. 6. Burial of mother and child found in the centre of the peristyle court

Fig. 6. Burial of mother and child found in the centre of the peristyle court

© Istituto Papirologico G. Vitelli, Florence, photo D. Minutoli

Fig. 10. A peach coloured fabric from the burial of a naked boy

Fig. 10. A peach coloured fabric from the burial of a naked boy

© Istituto Papirologico G. Vitelli, Florence, photo H. Froschauer

Fig. 12. Hairnet in sprang technique made of linen and black wool

Fig. 12. Hairnet in sprang technique made of linen and black wool

© Istituto Papirologico G. Vitelli, Florence, photo H. Froschauer

Fig. 14. Example of an extended cap

Fig. 14. Example of an extended cap

© Istituto Papirologico G. Vitelli, Florence, photo H. Froschauer

Fig. 16. Saffron coloured coat with wreath from Tgol’s burial

Fig. 16. Saffron coloured coat with wreath from Tgol’s burial

© Istituto Papirologico G. Vitelli, Florence, photo H. Froschauer

Notes

1 D.L. Thompson, The Lost City of Antinoos, in «Archaeology», xxxiv (1981), n. 1, pp. 44-50; E. Mitchell, Osservazioni topografiche preliminari sull’impianto urbanistico di Antinoe, in «Vicino Oriente», v (1982), pp. 171-179; I. Baldassarre, Alcune riflessioni sull’urbanistica di Antinoe (Egitto), in «AnnAStorAnt», x (1988), pp. 275-284; M. Zahrnt, Antinoopolis in Ägypten: Die hadrianische Gründung und ihre Privilegien in der neueren Forschung (Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt ii, 10, 1), Berlin 1988, pp. 669-706; K. Lembke - C. Fluck - G. Vittmann, Ägyptens späte Blüte. Die Römer am Nil, Mainz 2004, pp. 28-29.

2 G. Uggeri, I monumenti paleocristiani di Antinoe, in Atti del v Congresso Nazionale di Archeologia Cristiana (Torino, 22nd-29th September 1979), Roma 1982, pp. 657-688; S. Timm, Das christlich-koptische Ägypten in arabischer Zeit (Beihefte zum Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients 1), Wiesbaden 1984, pp. 111-128.

3 P. Grossmann, Kirche und mutmaßliches Bischofshaus in Antinoopolis, in «Aegyptus», lxxxvi (2006), pp. 207-215; Id., Antinoopolis Oktober 2007. Vorläufiger Bericht über die Arbeiten im Herbst 2007, in «Aegyptus», lxxxviii (2008), pp. 207-226; Id., Antinoopolis October 2010. On the Church beside the Northern Gate, in «Aegyptus», xc (2010), forthcoming; Id., Antinoopolis Januar-Februar 2010. Arbeiten im Frühjahr 2010 in der Kirche D3 (Kirche mit wiederverwendeten ionischen Säulen), in «Aegyptus», xc (2010), forthcoming.

4 For Carl Schmidt’s findings see: C. Fluck, Die Textilien von Carl Schmidt, in C. Fluck - P. Linscheid - S. Merz (ed. by), Textilien aus dem Vorbesitz von Theodor Graf, Carl Schmidt und dem Ägyptischen Museum Berlin (Spätantike, frühes Christentum, Byzanz. Reihe A, Grundlagen und Monumente 1-1), Wiesbaden 2000, pp. 175-197; C. Fluck, Zwei Reitermäntel aus Antinoopolis im Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Berlin, in C. Fluck - G. Vogelsang-Eastwood (ed. by), Riding Costume in Egypt. Origin and Appearance (Studies in Textile and Costume History 3), Leiden 2004, pp. 137-152; P. Linscheid, Gaiters from Antinoopolis in the Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Berlin, ivi, pp. 153-161; K. Mälck, Technische Analyse der Berliner Reitermäntel und Beinlinge, ivi, pp. 163-173; A. Unger, Farbstoffanalyse an der Berliner Reitertracht, ivi, pp. 175-180.

5 B. Borg, Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt […] Ägyptische Porträtmumien, Mainz 1998, pp. 20-26.

6 The bibliography of Gayet’s excavation notes is compiled by F. Calament, La révélation d’Antinoé par Albert Gayet: Histoire, archéologie, muséographie (Bibliothèque d’Études Coptes - Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale 18.1-2), Cairo 2005, pp. 601-603.

7 For a basic study about Gayet’s enterprises in Antinoupolis and the dispersion of the material in France see: F. Calament, La révélation d’Antinoé par Albert Gayet cit.

8 In most cases, Gayet’s arrangements of the burials did not show the true original context, but were manipulated by adding goods from other burials or single finds in order to let appear the burials apparently complete. For the dispersion of Gayet’s findings see: F. Calament, Antinoé: Histoire d’une collection dispersé, in «Revue du Louvre», xxxix (1989), pp. 336-342; F. Calament, Problème de dispersion, in La conservation des textiles anciens (SFIIC Study Day, Angers, 20th-22nd October 1994), Paris 1994, pp. 207-214; M. Rassart-Debergh, Textiles d’Antinoé (Égypte) en Haute Alsace. Donation È. Guimet, Colmar 1997, pp. 53-54; F. Calament, La révélation d’Antinoé par Albert Gayet cit., pp. 207-242.

9 M.-H. Rutschowscaya, Résurrection des tissues coptes: un choc et une tentation, in M.-H Santrot - M.-H Rutschowscaya (ed. by), Au fil du Nil. Couleur de l’Égypte chrétienne, Exhibition Catalogue (Nantes, Musée Dobrée, 19th October 2001-20th January 2002), Paris 2001, pp. 176-178, 179-182, 129-131; C. Fluck, Die Entdeckung der nachpharaonischen Kunst Ägyptens im 19. Jahrhundert, in G. Brands - A. Preiss (ed. by), Verborgene Zierde. Spätantike und islamische Textilien aus Ägypten in Halle, Halle 2007, pp. 61-64.

10 I. Andorlini, Gli scavi di John de Monins Johnson ad Antinoe (1913-1914), in F. Del Francia-Barocas (ed. by), Antinoe cent’anni dopo, Exhibition Catalogue (Firenze, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, 10th July-1st November 1998), Firenze 1998, pp. 19-22.

11 F. Pritchard, A Survey of Textiles in the UK from the 1913-14 Egypt Exploration Fund Season at Antinoe, Paper presented at the 7th Conference of the ‘Textiles from the Nile Valley’ Research Group (Antwerpen, 7th-9th October 2011), forthcoming in October 2013; see also E.R. O’Connell, Catalogue of British Museum Objects from the Egypt Exploration Fund’s 1913/14 Excavation at Antinoupolis (Antinoë), A.J. Dowler et al. (contributions by), in R. Pintaudi (ed. by), Antinoupolis iii, Scavi e materiali, Firenze, forthcoming; E.R. O’Connell, John de Monins Johnson’s 1913/14 Egypt Exploration Fund Eexpedition to Antinoupolis (Antinoë), in R. Pintaudi (ed. by), Antinoupolis iii cit.

12 P. Pensabene, Elementi architettonici di Alessandria e di altri siti egiziani (Repertorio d’Arte dell’Egitto Greco-Romano Serie C), Roma 1993, vol. iii, pp. 273-288; M. Manfredi, Gli scavi italiani ad Antinoe (1935-1993), in F. Del Francia-Barocas (ed. by), Antinoe cent’anni dopo cit., pp. 23-29; R. Pintaudi, Gli scavi dell’Istituto Papirologico “G. Vitelli” di Firenze ad Antinoe (2000-2007) - Prime notizie, in G. Bastianini - R. Pintaudi (ed. by), Antinoupolis i, Scavi e materiali, Firenze 2008, p. 1.

13 S. Donadoni - A. Spallanzani Zimmermann - L. Bongrani Fanfoni, Antinoe 1965-1968. Missione archeologica in Egitto dell’Università di Roma, Roma 1974.

14 S. Donadoni, Stoffe decorate da Antinoe, in M. Salmi - I. Rossellini (ed. by), Scritti dedicati alla memoria di Ippolito Rosellini nel primo centenario della morte, Firenze 1945, pp. 111-155; A selection is also published in F. Del Francia-Barocas (ed. by), Antinoe cent’anni dopo cit., passim; See also: L. Del Francia-Barocas, La collezione di tessuti copti del Museo Egizio di Firenze, in M.C. Guidotti (ed. by), I tessuti del Museo Egizio di Firenze, Materiali del Museo Egizio di Firenze 5, Firenze 2010, pp. 41-48, 55-61, 40-51.

15 For reports about fieldwork in the northern necropolis see for instance: I. Baldassarre - I. Bragantini, Antinoe, necropoli meridionale, saggi 1978, in «ASAE», lxix (1983), pp. 157-166; S. Pasi, Gli affreschi della necropoli meridionale di Antinoe, in «RicEgAntCopt», vi (2004), pp. 107-130.

16 P. Grossmann, Antinoopolis - Der Komplex des ʹPeristylbausʹ, in G. Bastianini - R. Pintaudi (ed. by), Antinoupolis i cit., p. 42.

17 P. Grossmann, Antinoopolis cit., p. 44.

18 Ivi, p. 43.

19 R. Pintaudi, Gli scavi dell’Istituto Papirologico cit., pp. 11-14, pl. xiv-xvii, figs. 74-94 and pl. xxiv-xxv, figs. 134-144; D. Minutoli, Antinoe, necropoli nord 2007: La tomba di Tgol. Prime informazioni, in G. Bastianini - R. Pintaudi (ed. by), Antinoupolis i cit., pp. 61-62.

20 R. Pintaudi, Gli scavi dell’Istituto Papirologico cit., p. 12.

21 A. Delattre, Textes coptes et grecs d’Antinoé, in G. Bastianini - R. Pintaudi (ed. by), Antinoupolis i cit., pp. 131, 147-149, note 7.

22 February 2008: Harald Froschauer and Hermann Harrauer; February 2009 and 2010: Harald Froschauer and Cäcilia Fluck; February 2012: Cäcilia Fluck.

23 A preliminary report about the first steps of preservation and documentation carried out in February 2008 is published by H. Froschauer, Antinoupolis. Erster Vorbericht zu den Textilfunden aus der Nekropole nord (Grabungskampagnen Frühjahr und Herbst 2007), in «Analecta Papyrologica», xx (2008), pp. 269-274.

24 Published in a brochure prepared for the 14th Coptic Study Day by the Association francophone de coptologie (Rome, 10th-13th July 2009): C. Fluck, Un enfant d’Antinoé et son équipement vestimentaire. 1er rapport de la recherche textile pendant la campagne de fouilles en hiver 2009; see also C. Fluck, Kinderkleidung im römischen und spätantiken Ägypten - Ein Projekt der DressID Studien Gruppe C: ‘Gender and Age’, in «Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien», cxl (2010), pp. 182-184, figs. 3-7.

25 Évagre le Pontique, Traité Pratique ou Le Moine, ed. and transl. by A. Guillaumont - C. Guillaumont, Paris 1971, pp. 483-495.

26 Palladio. La storia lausiaca, ed. by G.J.M. Bartelink, Verona 1974, p. 32; Hermias Sozomenus, Kirchengeschichte (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhundert, 50), ed. by J. Bidez - G.C. Hansen, Berlin 1960, vol. iii, p. 14; Dorothée de Gaza, Œuvres spirituelles (SC 92), ed. by L. Regnault - J. de Préville, Paris 20012, vol. i, pp. 15, 1-4.

27 Information on the cowl are owed to Mariachiara Giorda whom I would like to thank very much for sharing them with me. For further explanations see M. Giorda, Does the cowl Make the Monk? A Monastic Accessory during the First Centuries of Egyptian Monasticism, in A. De Moor - C. Fluck (ed. by), Dress Accessories of the 1st Millennium AD from Egypt., Proceedings of the 6th Conference of the ‘Textiles from the Nile Valley’ Research Group (Antwerpen, 2nd-3rd October 2009), Tielt 2011, pp. 182-187.

28 Mummy 15, found the 3rd February 2007, unwrapped the 4th February 2007; northern necropolis, Kom est, quadrant D1, level i.

29 Found the 27th January 2007, northern necropolis, Kom est, quadrant D1/A4, level i.

30 Footwear is not included in this paper. Recent finds from the northern necropolis are published by S. Russo, Campagne di scavo 2005-2007: Le calzature in G. Bastianini - R. Pintaudi (ed. by), Antinoupolis i cit., pp. 439-470.

31 A selection of dress accessories from the peristyle court is published in the proceedings of the ‘Textiles from the Nile Valley’ conference: C. Fluck - H. Froschauer, Dress Accessories from Antinoupolis. Finds from the Northern Necropolis, in A. De Moor - C. Fluck (ed. by), Dress Accessories of the 1st Millennium AD from Egypt cit., pp. 54-69.

32 Haarnetz_2008.01: C. Fluck - H. Froschauer, Dress Accessories from Antinoupolis cit., pp. 56-57, fig. 3; for another hairnet decorated with crosses see: P. Linscheid, Frühbyzantinische textile Kopfbedeckungen. Typologie, Verbreitung, Chronologie und soziologischer Kontext nach Originalfunden, Wiesbaden 2011, pp. 237, cat. n. 39, pl. iii.

33 Haarnetz_2010.01: C. Fluck - H. Froschauer, Dress Accessories from Antinoupolis cit., p. 59, fig. 5.

34 For further references from Antinoupolis see Ibid.; for another dark coloured example see also: P. Linscheid, Frühbyzantinische textile Kopfbedeckungen cit., p. 242, cat. n. 92, col. pl. i.

35 P. Linscheid, Frühbyzantinische textile Kopfbedeckungen cit., pp. 53-55.

36 D. Bénazeth, Accessoires vestimentaires dans la collection de textiles coptes du musée du Louvre, in A. De Moor - C. Fluck (ed. by), Dress Accessories of the 1st Millennium AD from Egypt cit., pp. 14-20.

37 Haarkranz_2010.05: C. Fluck - H. Froschauer, Dress accessories from Antinoupolis cit., p. 64.

38 See note 36.

39 L. Del Francia-Barocas, La collezione di tessuti copti del Museo Egizio di Firenze cit., p. 225, n. 304.

40 Kappe_2010.01: C. Fluck - H. Froschauer, Dress accessories from Antinoupolis cit., p. 61, fig. 7 with further references; for this type of headgear see also: P. Linscheid, Frühbyzantinische textile Kopfbedeckungen cit., pp. 103-127, 288-293, 502-534. Hero Granger-Taylor introduced the term “headscarf” for these head coverings, as it was communicated during the 6th Conference of the ‘Textiles from the Nile Valley’ Research Group (Antwerpen, 2nd-3rd October 2009). However, the term “extended cap”, as John Peter Wild suggests, seems to me more appropriate. In contrast to a scarf the part covering the head (cap) is tailored and only the extensions in form of a single or a pair of tails hanging down from the back look scarf-like.

41 In the cemetery of al-Bagawat one cap was found in a woman’s grave, another together with an infant’s burial, cf. N. Kajitani, Textiles and their Context in the third- to fourth-Century CE Cemetery of al-Bagawat, Khargah Oasis, Egypt, from the 1907-1931 Excavations by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in S. Schrenk (ed. by), Textiles in situ, Their Find Spots in Egypt and Neighbouring Countries in the First Millennium CE (Riggisberger Berichte 13), Riggisberg 2006, p. 109, note 58.

42 Tasche_2009.01: C. Fluck - H. Froschauer, Dress accessories from Antinoupolis cit., p. 68, figs. 17-18.

43 D. Minutoli, Antinoe, necropoli nord 2007 cit., pp. 61-73.

44 C. Fluck, Textiles from the so-called tomb of Tgol in Antinoupolis, in Pagans, Christians and Muslims: Egypt in the First Millennium AD (Proceedings of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Egyptological Colloquium, London British Museum, Dep. Ancient Egypt and Sudan, 9-11 July 2012), forthcoming.

45 See note 14.

46 Haarteil_2010.01: C. Fluck - H. Froschauer, Dress accessories from Antinoupolis cit., p. 67, fig. 16.

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. Museum of Byzantine Art, inv. 9695, riding coat in Persian style
Crédits © National Museums of Berlin, The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, photo A. Voigt
URL http://books.openedition.org/aaccademia/docannexe/image/947/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 32k
Titre Fig. 2. Museum of Byzantine Art, inv. 9926, gaiters in Persian style
Crédits © National Museums of Berlin, The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, photo A. Voigt
URL http://books.openedition.org/aaccademia/docannexe/image/947/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 92k
Titre Fig. 4. The peristyle complex, aerial view
Crédits © M. Spanu, Università della Tuscía-Viterbo
URL http://books.openedition.org/aaccademia/docannexe/image/947/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 112k
Titre Fig. 5. Silk samite, reg. no. Seide_2010_01
Crédits © Istituto Papirologico G. Vitelli, Florence, photo H. Froschauer
URL http://books.openedition.org/aaccademia/docannexe/image/947/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre Fig. 6. Burial of mother and child found in the centre of the peristyle court
Crédits © Istituto Papirologico G. Vitelli, Florence, photo D. Minutoli
URL http://books.openedition.org/aaccademia/docannexe/image/947/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 108k
Titre Fig. 10. A peach coloured fabric from the burial of a naked boy
Crédits © Istituto Papirologico G. Vitelli, Florence, photo H. Froschauer
URL http://books.openedition.org/aaccademia/docannexe/image/947/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 80k
Titre Fig. 12. Hairnet in sprang technique made of linen and black wool
Crédits © Istituto Papirologico G. Vitelli, Florence, photo H. Froschauer
URL http://books.openedition.org/aaccademia/docannexe/image/947/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 156k
Titre Fig. 14. Example of an extended cap
Crédits © Istituto Papirologico G. Vitelli, Florence, photo H. Froschauer
URL http://books.openedition.org/aaccademia/docannexe/image/947/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 184k
Titre Fig. 16. Saffron coloured coat with wreath from Tgol’s burial
Crédits © Istituto Papirologico G. Vitelli, Florence, photo H. Froschauer
URL http://books.openedition.org/aaccademia/docannexe/image/947/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 192k