Predynastic palettes are prevalent in museum collections, however very little attention is given to their manufacture. This workshop will cover what palettes may have been used for, what they may have meant to their owners and what palettes were not used for – in spite of lingering late 19th Century assertions.

The morning portion of this workshop will introduce participants to the materials, tools and technologies required to create Predynastic stone palettes. The evidence of the use of these technologies will be demonstrated, using the results from advanced imagery to compare a provenanced artefact with an experimental archaeology produced replica.

The afternoon session will then give participants the opportunity to put the theory into practice and use period-correct stone tools to create their own palettes from slate. These replica palettes will be shaped and decorated in the same manner as was undertaken by the Predynastic craftspeople, giving the participants a greater insight into this class of object.

The ticket price includes all materials and equipment and participants will take home their slate palette at the end of the day.

Warning: This workshop includes hand-on work with sharp tools and materials. Attendees participate at their own risk and should exercise necessary caution when using equipment provided.


Matt Szafran is a UK based independent researcher, specialising in the study of ancient tools and technologies. His current research focusses on the manufacture and use of stone palettes in Predynastic Egypt, using experimental archaeology and advanced imaging technologies, such as microscopy and Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), to compliment textual studies. He has lectured on Predynastic palettes and assisted in the teaching of RTI workshops. He also has forthcoming peer-reviewed publications on Predynastic palettes in addition to already published magazine articles.

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