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Eleanor Chipps

Areas of interest

  • Bioarchaeology
  • Egyptology
  • Osteoarchaeology
  • Palaeopathology
  • Non-adult osteoarchaeology

Research projects

Children in the afterlife: the mummification and funerary treatment of non-adults in ancient Egypt.

Ancient Egyptian mummification has captured the interest of researchers and the public alike for over 100 years. However, much of our understanding of ancient Egyptian mummification and funerary culture comes from the mummified remains of elite adults recovered from Pharaonic Egypt (c. 3000-332 BC). Interestingly, in the Roman Period (30 BC-AD 395) a discernible shift in mortuary traditions can be observed and a greater number of non-adult mummies have been recovered.

In collaboration with the British Museum, this project will draw together existing evidence for mummification techniques with the direct analysis of c.50 non-adult mummies using Computerised Tomography (CT) scanning. This project intends to provide key evidence for how mummified children were prepared for their journeys into the afterlife. Comparing and contrasting the funerary treatment of non-adults with adults from a range of periods and geographical locations will support the exploration of possible mummification differences. Attempts at understanding the reasoning behind this apparent shift in mummification will be made. This project will also explore how children were thought to exist in the afterlife as well as investigate their position in a changing ancient Egyptian society.


Professor Mary Lewis (University of Reading)
Professor Hella Eckardt (University of Reading)
Dr Daniel Antoine (British Museum)
Dr Marie Vandenbeusch (British Museum)



I graduated from Cambridge University with a first-class BA degree in Human, Social and Political Sciences, specialising in Biological Anthropology and the archaeology of the ancient Egyptians. My undergraduate dissertation on an early example of probable metastatic cancer on the skeleton of a named ancient Egyptian male was awarded the Thomas Mulvey Prize in Egyptology. I earned my MSc (with distinction) in Human Bioarchaeology and Palaeopathology from Durham University. My thesis re-examined the decapitated skeletons from the Romano-British site of Lankhills (Winchester) and posited the scholastic value of non-adults in the study of Romano-British decapitation burials. This project was nominated by Durham University for BABAO’s Holger Schutkowski Award. I have presented a research poster on Viking Age adult male dental modifications at BABAO’s 22nd Annual Conference and I have produced a conference paper for Durham’s inaugural Astonish the World Postgraduate Conference. I worked for the British Museum’s Circulating Artefacts Project, documenting stolen and looted ancient Egyptian antiquities on the art market. I have also volunteered as a field archaeologist on commercial archaeological projects and as a gallery guide at UCL’s Petrie Museum of Egyptology. I have been a BABAO member since 2022.




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