Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    Egypt (made)
    Akhmim (Probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 30BC - AD300 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tanned leather sandal with punchwork and incising.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A partial brown leather sandal, Egyptian, Roman era, ca. 30BC-AD300 (probably). Elaborately incised sole. Acquired from D.B. Myers.

Coptic footwear was primarily made with leather, often using the turned technique, to produce a slipper or shoe with a straight sole. Slippers often included a rand at the vamp and a fibre padded sole sewn together with prominent stitching or insole tab. They show variation in the form and height of the instep. Shoes were generally slip-ons and also show variation in the form and height of the instep. Footwear was highly decorated in geometric and floral designs. Often a variety of techniques were used in combination, with the most popular being dyeing, gilding, openwork and appliqué.

Physical description

Half a brown, flat leather sandal, some of the foot strap and two cords of leather – one plaited and one cylindrical. Swayed left. Pointed toe (toe tip missing). Heel and half waist missing. Treadsole: Nail holes round perimeter and down centre remain. One nail remains. Scratched surface. One modern label – mostly gone. Two deep cracks at centre. Midsole: Leather. Insole: Leather. Dirty. Richly decorated with incised lines. Three lines follow sole around perimeter with geometric designs in centre. Large crack across thread so hard to see pattern. Knot for toe strap remains and does not protrude through treadsole. Strap: Main front strap remains. Four centre spirals of leather attached to a thick plaited leather cord. Above each spiral smaller cords of plaited leather branch out and would have been attached to the sole. Where one thinner cord end another cord is plaited in. At top of fourth spiral are two ‘antennae’ of short crunched (?) leather that end in small circular spirals of leather with a thin cord of leather (unplaited) leading outwards from each spiral.

Place of Origin

Egypt (made)
Akhmim (Probably, made)


ca. 30BC - AD300 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Tanned leather sandal with punchwork and incising.


Width: 55 mm Tread, Width: 35 mm Waist, Thickness: 6 mm Sole

Object history note

Acquired by D.B. Myers.

Descriptive line

A partial brown leather sandal, Egyptian, ca. 30BC-AD300 (probably). Elaborately incised sole.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

See R. Smalley, "Dating Coptic Footwear: A Typological and Comparative Approach", Journal of Coptic Studies 14 (2012): 97-135




Tanning; Incising; Punchwork


Africa; Archaeology; Death; Footwear


Middle East Section

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.