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Lahun: Gold cowry necklace from tomb 8 (12th Dynasty)

Gold Cowry necklace from Tomb 8 at Lahun (Brunton 1920, pl.3

 Tomb 8, one of four royal tombs at the foot of Senusert II's pyramid at Lahun,  was the burial site of his grandaughter, the Princess Sat-hathor-Ant who died ca. 1838 BC. Although the tomb had been robbed, a concealed box of Sat-hathor's jewelry was found intact in 1913 excavations by Flinders Petrie and Guy Brunton (1920).

Among the finds was a necklace made of eight large gold cowries, one of these comprising two halves which slid together to form a clasp.  Each of the double-sided cowry pieces, ranging from 46.9-47.7 mm long, were made by lost wax casting, with some parts such as the mouth or opening then burnished. Some aspects of the golden cowry manufacture, such as the drilling of holes for the necklace thread, were noted as rough or imperfect by Brunton (1920), who considered the gold lion-head necklace also found in Tomb 8 to be of superior workmanship.

The necklace was reconstructed by Petrie's using double-rhomb or lozenge beads as separators between the cowries. Other example of gold cowry necklaces were found in the contemporary tomb of  Princess Meryt at Dahshur, where both large and
small cowries occurred. Bruton notes that the cowry was occasionally used as an ornament, and also as an amulet, from Predynastic times onward.

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