In February 2013, the Symposium Body, Cosmos and Eternity: the Symbolism of Coffins in Ancient Egypt convened at the historical building of the University of Porto to debate conceptual frameworks underlying the contemporary study of Egyptian coffins.
Rising from the close association with the depiction of the mummified body, the anthropoid coffins soon absorbed a rich mythological imaginary related to the constellation of Nut, the mother goddess of the sky supposed to give birth to Osiris, and evolved continuously, integrating larger and more complex sets of beliefs, mirroring the increasingly bolder use of coffins in the funerary rituals.
It was this complex set of beliefs involving the coffin that we proposed to explore in this series of symposia.
Following our original purpose, the studies presented in this volume display an excellent overview on the new trends of research on coffin studies, with diverse contributions concerned either with symbolism or social significance of coffins, museums' collections or archaeological finds.
These studies superbly showcase the richness of coffins as documental sources for the study of Egyptian religion, economy and society.