Collection online

textile / sock

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Sock for the left foot of a child with separation between the big toe and four other toes worked in 6 or 7 colours of wool yarn (several S-spun strands, Z-plied) in a single needle looping technique sometimes called naalebinding and worked from the toe upwards. Each toe is made separately from dark green wool (10 rows). The two toes are then joined and worked in bands of the following colours: salmon pink (4 rows), purple (4 rows), bluish-green (4 rows), dark red (6 rows), green (2 rows). The sole of the heel is then worked. The heel section is worked in bands of salmon pink (3 rows), purple (3 rows), dark blue (2 rows), salmon pink (8 rows), purple (4 rows), yellow (4 rows). A welt across the instep marks where the loops are worked in the round. The top edge is continuous and curls over; a loose thread of red wool forms part of a tie or tassel at the centre front.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 3rdC-4thC (radiocarbon date)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 55 millimetres
    • Length: 125 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    For radiocarbon date, see De Moor, et al. forthcoming (and bibliography for cat. no. 13, above). For a similar child’s sock with coloured bands (although made for the right foot and with a centre front opening) recovered in the course of the same excavations, see Bruwier (ed.) 1997, no. 8 and Clarysse and Willems (eds) 2000, no. 135. Another similar sock (for the right foot) was discovered in the North Necropolis of Antinoupolis by the Istituto Papirologico “G. Vitelli” in 1936–38 (del Francia Barocas ed. 1998, no. 311). For the looping technique see Burnham 1972, 116–24. Same as or similar to sock depicted at right in Griffith Institute Archive J. de M. Johnson excavation photograph (O’Connell forthcoming, fig. 104).

    Bruwier, M.-C. (ed.). 1997. Égyptiennes: Étoffes coptes du Nil. Mariemont: Musée royal de Mariemont.

    Burnham, D. K. 1972. Coptic knitting: An ancient technique. Textile History 6: 116–24.

    Clarysse, W. and H. Willems (eds). 2000. Les empereurs du Nil, Musée de Tongres, septembre 1999–février 2000. Leuven: Peeters.

    del Francia Barocas, L. (ed.). 1998. Antinoe cent’anni dopo: Catalogo della mostra Firenze, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, 10 luglio–1 novembre 1998. Firenze: Istituto Papirologico ‘G. Vitelli.’

    Pritchard, F. 2013. A survey of textiles in the UK from the 1913-14 Egypt Exploration Fund season at Antinoupolis. In Drawing the threads together: Textiles and footwear of the 1st Millenium AD from Egypt, 34-55. Tielt.

    De Moor, A. C. Fluck, M. van Strydonck and M. Boudin. Forthcoming. Radiocarbon-dating of late Roman woollen socks from Egypt. Proceedings of the 8th Textiles from the Nile Valley conference Antwerp 2013.

    O’Connell, Elisabeth R. Forthcoming. John de Monins Johnson’s 1913/14 Egypt Exploration Fund expedition to Antinoupolis (Antinoë), with appendix of objects, in Antinoupolis II: Scavi e materiali III, ed. R. Pintaudi. Florence: Istituto papirologico “G. Vitelli.”Published:
    Ein Gott 2015, no. 262, p. 221.


  • Bibliography

    • O'Connell et al 2014 14 bibliographic details
    • Pritchard 2013 50 (fig. 17b) bibliographic details
    • Fluck et al. 2015 p.219 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited: 2013, - 2014 21 Sep - 05 Jan, Bristol Museum + Art Gallery, Roman Empire: Power + People 2014, 25 Jan - 27 Apr, Norwich Castle, Roman Empire + People
    2014, 15 May - 31 Aug, Coventry, Herbert Museum, Roman Empire + People 2014 -2015, 20 Sep - 4 Jan, Manchester, Roman Empire + People 2015, 24 Jan - 10 May, Dundee, Roman Empire + People 2015, 30 May - 13 Sep, Tyne & Wear, Roman Empire + People
    2015-2016, Oct 29-Feb 7, London, BM, G35, Egypt: Faith after the Pharaohs.

  • Condition

    fair (incomplete)

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Excavated 1913-1914 by John de Monins Johnson on behalf of the Egypt Exploration Fund.

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


Knitted woollen child's sock for the left(?) foot; high ankle; two toes.

3/4: Right

Knitted woollen child's sock for the left(?) foot; high ankle; two toes.

Image description



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Object reference number: YCA22806

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