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 greater insight into this class of objects. 

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 hands-on work with sharp tools and materials. Attendees participate at their own risk and should exercise necessary caution when using the equipment provided.  

Workshop Schedule

The schedule for this practical session will be as follows (UK time):

10:00-10:50 – Presentation: Introduction to Predynastic palettes
10:50-11:00 – Refreshment Break 
11:00-11:50 – Presentation: Tools and techniques for manufacturing palettes
11:50-12:00 – Refreshment Break
12:00-13:00 – Presentation: Uses and purposes of palettes 
13:00-14:00 – Lunch Break 
14:00-16:00 – Practical Session: Make your own palette from scratch!


Matt Szafran is a UK based independent researcher, specialising in the study of ancient tools and technologies. His current research focuses 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 complement textual studies. Matt has lectured on and published his research in peer-reviewed journals and magazine articles, and is currently writing a book on the design, manufacture, and use of Predynastic palettes.  


Members of the Egypt Exploration Society can book at a discounted rate. If you’re not yet a member but would like to join in order to receive this discount, then please ensure that you have already joined here. Subscriptions from members include a donation to support and promote Egypt’s cultural heritage. 

Tickets for this event are limited due to space restrictions. Please only book if you are certain that you will be able to attend. If this event does become sold out, please email [email protected] to be added to a waiting list, if there are any last-minute cancellations.

Tickets will be released on 1st December 2021 at 12:00 UK time, please sign up for our e-newsletter to receive the EES' latest announcements and updates.

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