Rope - ROM2018_16322_10



Medium:Palm fibre
Geography: Excavated at Deir el-Bahri, Egypt
Date: c. 1550-1069 BC
Period: 18th-20th Dynasty, New Kingdom
64.8 × 1.5 cm
Object number: 907.18.262
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

The Ancient Egyptians made fine ropes from many fabrics: papyrus, halfa grass, flax and esparto grass, but from earliest time until the present, palm fibre has been one of the most important sources for cordage.  Palm fibre is a naturally occurring fabric-like material which is found at the crowns of date trees and easily harvested.  It's a non-polluting, renewable natural resource.

Images of people spinning or twisting separate fibres into yarn, and then twisting the yarn to form strands, and the strands into rope, have been found in many Egyptian tombs. Making rope and cord was a major industry.  The people who made good strong ropes are the unsung heroes of pyramid construction.

This example of ancient palm-fibre cordage is made of six strands.  One end is tightly knotted.  Since cords had so many uses, it's not possible to be sure whether this cord was part of someone's tomb equipment, holding a box shut, or perhaps part of construction workers' tool kit for moving stone.

Object History: Excavated by the Egypt Exploration Society, 1905-1907
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