Adorned Afterlife is an interdisciplinary research network bringing together experts from the fields of Jewellery Design, Archaeology, Forensic Anthropology, Classics, History and Museology. Supported by the University of Edinburgh’s Challenge Investment Fund, it is a partnership between the University and National Museums Scotland (NMS).


The network began with a focus on Egyptology, and has expanded to include a range of artefacts that may relate to the body as adornment, exploring why and how they were made, and by whom, and what their significance was and is now.

It looks at the pieces from fresh perspectives, and using new technologies, to inspire new works of jewellery by contemporary makers.

Inspired by the secrets of the Rhind Mummy

The network is led by Stephen Bottomley, Head of Jewellery and Silversmithing at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), Director of Postgraduate Research for the School of Design and Chair of the RAFT research network.

It has its basis in a previous collaboration between the University and NMS on the 2012 exhibition, Fascinating Mummies, specifically in biomedical imaging of the Museums’ ancient Rhind Mummy, which revealed gold jewellery hidden beneath multiple layers of binding.

Dr Elena Kraniota, the Forensic Anthropologist who led the imaging, is now one of the network’s ten core members; other members include Diego Zamora, a PhD student at ECA who is funded under the AHRC Design in Action hub.

Activities to date have included a visit to the National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh to see the Rhind Mummy, a handling session at NMS, a first meeting of the international network, and a one-day public symposium and display of ‘cabinets of curiosity' at Edinburgh College of Art.

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Graphic of an adorned mummy

"“We want to engage audiences and contemporary makers in the excitement of what was made by goldsmiths of the past, in our subject and its heritage. We really want to try and tell stories through objects and make them relevant to today”."

Stephen Bottomley, Head of Jewellery and Silversmithing

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