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Terms in use throughout our project

This page gives a short glossary and visual aid to terms our project uses when discussing coffin fabrication.

Coffin box

The part of the coffin in which the body was placed. The term is used here for both rectangular box coffins and anthropoid coffins.

Coffin lid

The part of the coffin that was placed on top of the box. In an anthropoid coffin, this would be the part that resembles the front of the head and body of the person.

Coffin base

The bottom (long axis) of the coffin box.


The short panel at the foot end of the coffin box and lid.

Wood working terminology

Tangential Sawing

Also known as through-and-through or slash sawing. The trunk or log is sawn down its long axis. Timber cut this way can be recognised by the slash-grain pattern on the planks. It is the most economical way to cut up timber, but the planks are prone to ‘cup’ because the wood dries and shrinks unevenly across the width of the plank.


The Fitzwilliam's Egyptian coffins contain examples of the following wood working joints:
Butt joint
Butt joint
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Tied mitre
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Mortise and tenon
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Pegged mortise and tenon
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Mortise with loose tenon
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Edge joint with dowels
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Scarf joint
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Coopered construction
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Pegged spliced scarf joint
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