Geoffrey Killen: Ancient Furniture, from the Earliest Examples to the New Kingdom

Friday, October 19, 2018

6:30 p.m.—Pre-lecture reception ($5.00 per person) 

7:00 p.m.—Lecture (free)


More is known about furniture and its development in Egypt than anywhere else in the ancient world. Bedframes were the first large constructional pieces of furniture to be manufactured, and many fine examples were excavated in the 1st Dynasty cemetery at Tarkhan.

     By the beginning of the Old Kingdom, improved cutting tools and the use of better quality timber lead to advances in the manufacture of furniture. The improvements in furniture design and construction can be seen, for example, in a series of wall paintings that were discovered in the mastaba tomb of Hesyra at Saqqara and in the reconstructed royal furniture from the tomb of Queen Hetepheres I at Giza. (Pictured—A scene from the tomb of Ramose, TT55.)

     During the New Kingdom, masterful carpenters were creating some of the finest known examples of ancient woodworking. Comparing the furniture deposited in the tomb of the workman Sennedjem with the royal pieces discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamun, we can assess the differences in the quality, form, and construction of furniture manufactured during the New Kingdom. 


Dr. Geoffrey Killen is a leading Egyptologist, wood technologist, and furniture historian who studied design and technology at Shoreditch College, University of London, and the University of Liverpool, where he specialized in Ramesside woodworking. His expertise embraces 40 years of research in the areas of ancient Egyptian furniture and woodworking technology.

     Dr. Killen has studied the collections of Egyptian furniture and woodwork at most of the major world museums including the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Cairo. He has lectured and given practical demonstrations of ancient Egyptian woodworking processes and techniques in the U.S. and Britain. He has written extensively on the subject and also led in the field of experimental archaeology by which making and using replica woodworking tools and equipment has generated and tested archaeological hypotheses. Dr. Killen’s practical work is now displayed together with those original artifacts in several British museums.


505 East Braddock Rd., Alexandria, VA 22314

(across the street from the Braddock Road station on Metro’s blue and yellow lines)

Venue sponsored by Maria and Richard Calderon in association with

 Hands Along the Nile Development Services Inc. (HANDS)



During the pre-lecture reception, there will be a raffle for Egyptian-themed items such as books, journals, jewelry, and DVDs. ARCE-DC members receive a free raffle ticket for each one they buy.


Meet-the-Speaker and Networking Dinner—

After the lecture, join ARCE-DC members and guests for a dinner with the speaker. We will meet at Lena's Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap, just a few blocks away. Each attendee pays for his or her own dinner and contributes an extra $5.00 to defray the cost of the speaker's meal.  Please RSVP to Carol Boyer at