Beads from a gold necklace

Meroitic Period

Findspot: Sudan, Nubia, Begrawiya, Pyr. N 18


Legacy dimension: L 0.090

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World


Necklaces and neck bands

Eight large gold elements of which seven depict human heads crowned with feathers and one a squatting female figure holding a feather and crowned with vulture and double crown. Two of these elements are thought to represent Hathor and Maat.

Burials in Meroe were richly supplied with jewelry. Pendants of deities, cylindrical amulet cases, and scarabs were common during the Napatan period. By the 3rd century B.C., craftsmen had perfected the process of enameling on metal. This method replaced the setting of colored stones in channels or cloissons. Signet rings, gilded glass beads, and images of the goddess Hathor were also popular.


From Meroe. 1921: excavated by the Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA by the government of Sudan; 1924: received by the MFA.

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition