Homepage Timeline Maps A-Z index Learning

Furniture in Roman Egypt

Furniture found in Roman Egypt seems to be similar to that used elsewhere in the Roman world. Egyptian style decorations seem to have fallen out of use. The arid climate has preserved a great quantity of material, including complete examples often better preserved than in other parts of the Empire. There are several types of furniture attested: beds and couches, benches, stools and chairs, cupboards, aediculae (household shrines) racks. The main material used is wood. Bronze (too weak to support a body), bone and ivory are only decorative. Iron can be used as support inside legs of beds and chairs. Items made in basketry were still very important, especially as containers of objects.

(click on the images for more information and further examples)

metal parts of legs of chairs and beds
wooden parts of legs of chairs and beds
chests and boxes
UC 56472 UC 71260, parts of furniture

compare: Byzantine Period examples

further reading:

  • Mols 1999 (on the wooden furniture found at Herculaneum, very useful for comparison)
  • Richter 1966 (on Greek, Roman and Etruscan furniture, mainly using depictions in art)


Copyright © 2002 University College London. All rights reserved.