3 February 2022

Researchers to explore ancient dress practices in Sudan


Archaeologist Elsa Yvanez has received an ERC Starting Grant for the research project "Fashioning Sudan. Archaeology of dress along the Middle Nile", which she will lead at the Centre for Textile Research for the next five years.

Elsa Yvanez. Photo: Suste Bonnen
Elsa Yvanez. Photo: Suste Bonnen

In Sudan, archaeological textiles and skins are preserved extremely well thanks to the country’s arid climate. This rare treasure trove of information, which is an understudied aspect of Sudanese culture, is now waiting to be explored by archaeologist Elsa Yvanez from the Centre for Textile Research and her research project "Fashioning Sudan. Archaeology of dress along the Middle Nile", which has just received an ERC Starting Grant.

“Fashioning Sudan will tap into this rich but long-neglected aspect of the Sudanese material world, going beyond the monumental remains to focus on the much more intimate sphere of dress practices. Our approach will merge different academic fields, such as archaeology, textile and animal skin research, palaeoproteomics, and socio-cultural theory, to develop an interdisciplinary study of garments,” Elsa Yvanez said.

The project includes archaeological and high-resolution analyses of textile and animal skin garments from the Bronze Age to the Late Medieval Period, which the exploitation of different animal and plant species – as well as the skills and crafts that went into fashioning garments.

“What we hope to achieve is to reveal new knowledge about the daily lives of ancient Sudanese peoples, highlighting the entanglement of dress practices in the fabric of society.”

Read more about the host institution Centre for Textile Research at the University of Copenhagen.

The European Research Council's Starting Grants are for researchers with 2-7 years of experience since the completion of their PhD, a scientific track record showing great promise and an excellent research proposal. 


Dr. Elsa Yvanez
Fashioning Sudan. Archaeology of dress along the Middle Nile
Project Funded by the European Research Council
and hosted by the Centre for Textile Research
Mail: elsayvanez@hum.ku.dk