Cartonnage coffin of a baby

This image may be used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. For uses not covered under the Creative Commons license, or to license images for commercial uses, please contact the Egypt Centre.


This coffin of a baby is made of painted cartonnage, and dates to around 600 BCE. The inscription on the front and back are meaningless, as is sometimes the case in that period. This coffin was CAT scanned by the Life Sciences department at Swansea University on 28.4.2014 and appeared to contain a tangle of bandages and a darker area including possible femur which was consistent with a twelve to sixteen week old foetus. There was also a possible amulet and either beads or tassels, the latter showing as a row of dots on the scan. It was purchased by Wellcome in the Glendining auction of September 1934. A very similar item was sold in the Rustafjaell sale of 1907, lot 169 (shown on Plate IV).


For coffins of babies see C. Speiser 'Cercueils d'enfants dans l'Egypte ancienne at tardive' in 'Nasciturus : infans, puerulus. Vobis mater terra. La muerte en la infancia'. SIAP Servei d’Investigacions Arqueològiques i prehistòriques, Barcelona, pp. 513-550.


Wellcome Number
248590 (see Day Book 1975-6 p37)
Glendining and Co.: 10–11 Sep 1934, Lot 277
Previous Owner
Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936)
Long-term loan, The Wellcome Trust (15 Feb 1971)

Last modified: 18 Oct 2020

Back | Feedback about this object