Conservation Project: Auloi of Meroë

In 2013, conservators launched a special project focusing on the preservation of a group of ancient musical instruments known as auloi. The instruments were excavated in northern Sudan in 1921 and have never been treated. Expected to last multiple years, the project is a collaborative effort between conservators and conservation scientists, curators from the Musical Instruments and Art of the Ancient World departments, and scholars from other institutions. Please check back regularly to see progress updates posted below.

Study and documentation of auloi by researchers
Conservation and Collections Management
Thursday, April 4, 2019
Since 2017, two more study sessions have taken place at the MFA, in summer 2018 and winter 2019. In August 2018, treatment continued with the creation…
Conservation and Collections Management
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Two additional study sessions were conducted in the fall of 2015 and spring of 2017. To date, twelve individual tubes forming six double pipes have…
Conservation and Collections Management
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Since July 2014, much progress has been made in joining pieces of bone core and bulbs; now only small and featureless splinters remain detached. The…
Conservation and Collections Management
Thursday, June 4, 2015
During examination and joining, textile fibers are found on both the knobs and rotating sleeves of the instrument. The fibers have a clean, undyed…
Conservation and Collections Management
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Progress has been made in joining bone fragments that once formed the inner linings of many of the pipes. To date, 11 bulbs (mouth pieces) and 11 reed…
Conservation and Collections Management
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Over the past few months, the wooden trays (below), in which the fragmentary auloi traveled the long distance from the site of Meroë in northern Sudan…
Two-handled storage jar (pelike) depicting young athletes jumping
Conservation and Collections Management
Monday, October 28, 2013
There are more than 40 works of art that depict auloi in the Museum’s collections. The majority of these are painted red-figure ceramic pottery, but…
Conservation and Collections Management
Saturday, October 26, 2013
The Auloi An assortment of the best preserved elements, showing possible locations of key features. This arrangement does not represent any actual…