Bread card



On display


Cake of barley bread from an Egyptian tomb kept within a basket [M11914]. People in ancient Egypt ate bread every day. Unfortunately the flour the Egyptians produced for making bread was not as refined as we have today. The finest sieves could not remove impurities such as sand and dirt which would have worn away and damaged teeth. Many ancient Egyptians suffered from toothache, abscesses and tooth loss. The bread is from the collection of Joseph Sams (MS page 31 no. 112 and page 32 no. 114). In Joseph Mayer's 1852 catalogue it notes the food and fruit in case 7 were "taken from the tombs at Thebes", and so is most likely part of an offering left in a tomb as a food for the spirit of the deceased. In 1878 a "good deal" of this "large quantity of fragments of bread and cakes from an Egyptian tomb" was sold as duplicate by Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge. CONDITION NOTE 1998: Old insect infestation? or highly vesicular, very friable, surface dirt.