Textiles and the Archaeology of Karanis
Karanis and other Fayum towns came to be explored in modern times by archaeologists searching for texts written on papyrus (an ancient form of paper). In modern times, papyri were discovered by Egyptian farmers who were digging for fertilizer in the form of mud bricks, used originally for building in the ancient towns of the Fayum. The texts written on these papyri drew archaeologists to the region. The archaeologists did find the papyri they were looking for, as well as a wealth of other artifacts.
The textiles from Karanis constitute a particularly significant group of artifacts, in part because Karanis is one of the few town sites from which Roman- and Byzantine-period textiles have been recovered. The Kelsey Museums collection is especially notable for its sheer size, as well as for the extent of its archaeological documentation.
The Artifacts at Karanis and in the Kelsey Museum
Note that each artifact is identified by two locations--Karanis and Kelsey Museum--and classifications for each location.
The Karanis field number is in two parts: the first part records the year of discovery; the second part identifies the place (area or building) and level where the item was found.
Each artifact within the Kelsey Museum has a unique accession number, which facilitates storage and retrieval of the artifact and information about it.