Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design


Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design

First Advisor

Jessica Strübel


An artifact accessioned into a museum or collection is accepted based on its compatibility with their mission (Barker, 2003). The University of Rhode Island’s Historic Textile and Costume Collection’s (URI’s HTCC) mission focuses on supporting teaching, research, and exhibition (URI, n.d.). To fulfill this mission, artifacts should be authenticated, interpreted, and mounted for display. A 2011 donation of ancient Egyptian textile fragments has yet to be properly prepared, making them incapable of fulfilling the HTCC’s mission. The purpose of this multimethod case study will be to analyze, authenticate, and interpret these textiles. This study needs to be completed to determine if the donated textile fragments fulfill HTCC’s mission as usable assets in the collection (Barker, 2003). Without authentication, conservation, and interpretation, the ancient Egyptian artifacts are not purposeful and will take up valuable space in the collection without satisfying the needs of the collection.

The research questions guiding this study are: how does provenance research for the textile fragments support their interpretation as artifacts of both ancient Egypt and 19th century Egypt? How can the textile fragments be prepared and interpreted to better fulfill the HTCC’s mission of providing artifacts for use in the classroom and for exhibition and museum loans? What conservation and mounting processes need to be executed to preserve the fragments for future use? How can expanding the approaches to textile analysis on fragmentary textiles increase the value they provide to the HTCC? A qualitative case study approach is the best method for this study, and a combination of object-based observation and document analysis will be utilized in accordance with the material culture methodology, which is deemed necessary for this research’s aims to analyze, identify, conserve, and interpret ancient Egyptian textile artifacts and their accession records (Creswell & Creswell, 2018; Creswell 1998; Prown 1982). The study will be based on the Egyptian textile fragments in URI’s HTCC with the accession number 2010.10.02.

The textile analysis revealed that only three out of the seven tested fragments were actually ancient Egyptian. Fragments A, F, and G were dated to the Late Period of ancient Egypt via Carbon-14 (14C) Dating. This dating invalidates the original claim that these were Ptolemaic and makes it likely that they are from the Gebel Abu Fêdah crocodile mummy pits, from which Farman took both mummies and cloth (Farman, 1904). The remaining fragments were 14C dated to later periods; fragment C was dated to the Byzantine Period and Fragments B, E, and H were dated to the early Islamic Period. Unfortunately, the document analysis did not yield any likely provenance for these fragments, making them difficult to interpret.

Further textile analysis of the ancient Egyptian fragments revealed many similarities including a plain weave structure, S-twist yarns, an average thread count of 64 yarns per inch, and an average fabric thickness of 0.63 mm. They are not the highest quality of ancient Egyptian linen with a thread count well below 200 yarns per inch but are also thin and fine enough to be used for comfortable apparel (Hall, 2001; Wilson, 1979). They are likely of average quality for ancient Egyptian apparel linen of the Late Period, but quantitative comparison with additional extant textiles is required to solidify that claim.

The conservation of the fragments was successful. It began with the humidification treatment to decrease creases and increase fiber structure. This allowed for the above textile analysis to occur and for the textiles to lay flat in their new frame mounts. The frame mounts will keep the textiles flat and safe from dust, light, and direct touch while in storage or on display in the classroom.

Available for download on Thursday, May 21, 2026