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21st Dynasty Coffins

Kara Cooney's 21st Dynasty Coffins Project (also known as UCLA Coffins Project) is an ongoing research endeavor that began in 2008. Equipped with high definition cameras and a passion to learn, Cooney takes her research team to investigate coffin reuse in the Third Intermediate Period. The scope of this project is to determine the amount of "borrowing," or reuse, a given coffin displays. The significance of reuse would help Cooney and other researchers of this period to paint a detailed picture of the socioeconomic and political turmoils that have plagued the 21st Dynasty and how it may have affected its succeeding dynasties, specifically through its funerary artifacts. Working in cooperation with renowned museums and institutions in Europe, the United States, and Egypt, Cooney has traveled abroad with her research entourage to Berlin, Brussels, Cairo, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Florence, Leiden, London, Paris, Poznan, Stockholm, Turin, Vatican City, Vienna, and many more.

In addition to personally analyzing and photo-documenting the coffins of interest, Cooney plans to team up with Dr. Frank Chang of UCLA to study samples of the coffins at a molecular level to discern levels of pigmentation on the subjects that would further provide evidence of reuse.

As of 2013, Cooney's analysis of the coffins she has studied yields a percentage of reuse that exceeds 50%. Ultimately, the findings from this project would contribute to answering socioeconomic inquiries that still exist in Egyptology today.