Egypt, possibly 900 BCE
Fragment from a mummy case made from cartonnage. This is made from layers of linen (or sometimes papyrus) soaked in glue and moulded around a mummy-shaped core of mud and straw. The core was then removed leaving a hollow shell into which the wrapped body was inserted. A layer of fine plaster was added to the outer surface which was decorated, using painting and gilding, with religious figures and texts. The earliest examples are from the 22nd dynasty and are common in the Late and Ptolemaic Periods, gradually replacing the earlier style of coffins made from wood. The figures depicted on the surface of the plaster are common in ancient Egyptian funerary iconography. Found with the papers of the Egyptologist Professor Stephen Glanville (1900–56).