Black Land to the Land of Bows: Exploring the fabric of society

Black Land to the Land of Bows: Exploring the fabric of society

Saturday 12 February 2022 to Sunday 5 June 2022

This exhibition highlights recent research by two postgraduate researchers, Alistair Dickey and Sarah Hitchens. Their research forms a collaborative doctoral award project between Bolton Library and Museum Service and The University of Liverpool and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Bolton Museum houses over 6000 pieces of ancient textile from over 50 sites. The earliest of these date to the predynastic, over 6000 years ago. The textiles at Bolton span the entire history of Egypt, from these earliest times to beyond the pharaohs into Ottoman period in the mid-1800s. They show life across Egypt throughout its history, from the ordinary people to the greatest rulers, in areas from Egypt, the Black Land, to Nubia, the Land of Bows.

The exhibition will run until June 2022.

The exhibition features both scientific and cultural analysis of some of the earliest Egyptian textiles in the collection.

Alistair Dickey

PhD candidate Alistair Dickey analysing minute fragments of predynastic textile dating back over 5000 years.


Alistair recently submitted his thesis for this research, which explored thread technology, woven cloth quality and societal use of the textiles during the Neolithic, Predynastic, and Early Dynastic periods of Egyptian history. His interest in Egyptian archaeology and archaeology in general stems from numerous field excavation projects in Egypt, Cyprus, Italy, Kazakhstan, and Northern Ireland.



Some of the complete garments in the collection from Qasr Ibrim, including children’s clothing and doll’s clothing, and recently conserved items.

childs tunic

Case showing clothing from Qasr Ibrim

Case of Egyptian Dolls Clothing

Doll's Clothing.



A small doll’s tunic, with red flowered painted pattern decoration, which would have likely once belonged to a child living in Qasr Ibrim. The tunic dates from the Ottoman period, around 300-400 years ago.

Back to the Land of Bows Exhibition



Sarah’s research focuses on the spinning and weaving implements and textiles from Qasr Ibrim. She has excavated in Egypt, Mexico, Sudan, and the UK.

Sarah Hitchens

PhD candidate Sarah taking samples from textiles from the site of Qasr Ibrim, modern day Sudan, for analysis.

Egyptian Textile detail

Detail of a Man's Apron



Fragment of a highly decorated apron typically worn by men. It dates from the Meroitic period, around 2000 years ago.



Almost complete tunic belonging to a child, from the site of Qasr Ibrim in modern day Sudan. The tunic dates from the Ottoman period, around 300-400 years ago.

It was conserved in 2021 with the gift of funding from the members of Bolton Archaeology and Egyptology Society.

childs tunic

A child's tunic