31 January 2023 Start
31 January 2023 End
16:00 GMT (17:00 CET) Time
zoom lecture

Ostrich Eggs as Luxury Items in the Ancient Mediterranean

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

“Eggstraordinary Objects: Ostrich Eggs as Luxury Items in the Ancient Mediterranean”. Talk by Tamar Hodos (University of Bristol)


Decorated ostrich eggs were traded as luxury items from the Middle East to the western Mediterranean during the second and first millennia BCE. The eggs were engraved, painted, and occasionally embellished with ivory, precious metals and faience fittings. While archaeologists note their presence as unusual vessels in funerary and dedicatory contexts, little is known about how or from where they were sourced, decorated and traded. Researchers at Bristol University, Durham University, and the British Museum have established techniques to identify where the eggs originated and how they were decorated, while researchers from Bristol, Cranfield, Ghent, Leuven, and Newcastle Universities have assessed comparative methods to identify pigments. This talk shares the results of our studies, revealing the complexity of the production, trade, and economic and social values of luxury organic items between competing cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world.

This is the third event in season two of the Graeco-Aegyptiaca seminars given in the field of ancient Egyptian and Greek cultural relations. For more information on the series and upcoming events, please visit the Palladion or the UCL website.

The lecture will be held on Zoom. Admission is free, please register here for the event.