Maria Carmela Gatto
This chapter discusses the 4th millennium
Aegeanists rather than Egyptologists have investigated Bronze Age Egypto-Aegean relations. Although a few Egyptologists consider these issues in considerable depth, a general lack of communication still exists between the disciplines. Two issues dominate research and debate: cross-cultural chronology and dating, and consideration of the imported goods and tangible/intangible influence of one civilization upon the other. Less controversial is the issue of contact routes and means, with visible remains and intangible cultural norms. This chapter concerns only Egypt and the Aegean, but they cannot be isolated from developments throughout the East Mediterranean world. All median cultures (and others interacting with them) must also be considered in any discussion. This chapter concentrates mostly on developments since 1990, when Bernal’s Black Athena volumes and the ensuing reaction undoubtedly re-stimulated interest in the subject.
This article discusses the Ptolemaic legacy and Egyptian independence; the annexation of Egypt; and the first Roman prefects in Egypt. In contrast to earlier changes of ruler, the annexation of Egypt by Octavian represents a particularly lasting break in the country's history. Octavian was quickly able to stabilize Roman authority in the newly created province. As in the other provinces of the empire, a new, well-designed, and effective administration was speedily introduced. It was headed by the prefect, the direct representative of the emperor. To secure his rule, Octavian-Augustus also sought engagement with the priests, the elite of the country. This is evident in the numerous temples that were built, particularly in areas of strategic and economic importance.
Scholarly attitudes to the regions south of Egypt have changed significantly in recent decades. Despite this, the terminology of the first archaeologists persists as do some ideas about cultural and political development. Although much recent excavation has added considerably to our knowledge of cultures, their development, and range, some historical issues remain unresolved. Survey in the western deserts has revealed much about climatic changes and settlement patterns, and also challenged ideas about Egyptian activities remote from the Nile Valley.
Roman Egypt is the only part of the ancient world where documentary evidence for the age composition of the general population has survived. Pertinent information is provided by extant census returns from the first three centuries of Roman rule. Gathered every fourteen years, these documents list the members of individual households with their names, familial status, and ages. Knowledge of the age distribution enables us to track mortality rates and infer average life expectancy, which is a critical measure of overall well-being. This article discusses mortality patterns, causes of death, and disease and physical well-being.
Marjorie S. Venit
Distinguished in the first century
This chapter examines the origins of the god Amun, of his name, his ram-headed form, and their connections to Nubia, which seem to have been overestimated. Amun appears to be the major deity worshipped in Nubia after the Egyptian conquest of the New Kingdom. Considered to be a national and universal god, he became the protector of Kushite kingship, spread through the religious conversion of the Kushite elite to Egyptian religious beliefs. Amun is a solarized deity figured as a man (occasionally ithyphallic) with a two-feather headdress primarily as the god of Karnak, and as a ram-headed deity as that of Jebel Barkal. He may also appear as a bull, a goose, and more questionably as a crocodile or a cobra. His main sacred cities were Napata, Pnubs, Kawa, Sanam, and Tara. He is occasionally accompanied by Mut, Khonsu, Satis, and Anukis.
Architectural remains represent one of our main sources of information on ancient Egypt, and one of the first aspects of the ancient Egyptian civilization to have captured the attention of the earliest explorers. Since Egyptology was born, and while it developed as a discipline, the study of ancient Egyptian architecture evolved from initial cursory studies on portions of monuments emerging from the sand, to a wide spectrum of investigations, ranging from analyses of the chemical composition of building materials to the ancient mathematics lying at the basis of the ancient projects, and from the detailed study of specific buildings to the large-scale analysis of the relationship between architecture and landscape.
The vast range of animals found in ancient Egypt not only contributed to creating its language and religion, but they were also a mainstay of its economy, and played key roles in daily life, ranging from providers of food to companionship. They are also key indicators in our understanding of the changing environment. The study of Egyptian fauna can thus elucidate many aspects of ancient Egyptian culture. This chapter outlines the sources available for the study of animals in Egypt, such as artistic images, texts, and physical remains. It provides an overview of the history of Egyptian archaeozoology, outlines current methods, and goes on to look at the future of this discipline within Egyptology.
This chapter sketches the nature of evidence to be gained from careful analysis of the ceramic remains in ancient Egypt, and the ways to achieve it, explaining some of the advances made in recent years. Pottery provides the most ubiquitous archaeological source material derived from ancient Egypt. Early archaeologists only tended to show interest in pottery when it was intact and/or of aesthetically pleasing shape or decoration, but this important source material has turned into primary evidence when dating a site. It provides information on the history of use of a site as well as on socio-economic issues, such as importations from other sites or even abroad, and glimpses into possible functions of sites.
In addition to providing food, companionship, and raw materials for clothing, furniture, tools, and ornaments, animals also played a key role in religious practices in ancient Egypt. Apart from serving as sacrifices, each god had one or more animal as a totem. Certain specially marked exemplars of these species were revered as manifestations of that god that enjoyed all the privileges of being a deity during their lifetime and which were mummified and buried with pomp upon their death. Other animals, which did not bear the distinguishing marks, were mummified and offered to the gods, transmitting the prayers of devotees directly to their divinities. These number in the millions and were a significant feature of Egyptian religious belief and self-identity in the later periods of Egyptian history.
Archaeological Practice in the 21st Century: Reflecting on Archaeologist-Community Relationships in Sudan’s Nile Valley
Jane Humphris, Rebecca Bradshaw, and Geoff Emberling
Archaeological research on the African continent developed hand in hand with European colonization. Although many countries became independent over sixty years ago, archaeological practice today can bear negative traces of colonial legacies. Often these legacies can be identified in the ways in which archaeologists have tended to interact—or indeed not interact—with local communities. A number of archaeological teams have therefore been developing “community engagement” strategies as a step towards decolonizing their practice. This chapter presents an overview of some of the community engagements currently being carried out in Sudan, and includes case studies from archaeological projects at Meroe and El-Kurru.
This article reviews archaeological studies in the Nile Delta. It discusses problems of archaeological work in the Delta; previous work in the Delta; current research and survey; survey and recording; and excavation. The Nilotic landscape of Egypt was a fantasy place in the Roman imagination. For the people who lived there, the archaeological remains suggest a vibrant society with new towns springing up to manage the agricultural lands. The old Pharaonic temple cities were reinvigorated as metropoleis, with all of the trappings of Roman life from a monetized economic system to marble statuary brought from Italy, and with industrial areas manufacturing goods for local consumers and visitors.
This essay assesses the body of archaeological research connected to the New Kingdom settlement site of Amarna (ancient Akhetaten), the short-lived capital of Egypt founded by king Akhenaten around 1347 BC as the cult centre for the solar god the Aten. Amarna, by far the largest exposure of pharaonic settlement to survive from Egypt, is unsurpassed as a case site for the study of ancient Egyptian urbanism and daily life. This essay provides an overview of the ancient city, evaluates past and ongoing excavations at the site, and summarizes the archaeological discourse on the city as a physical, functioning and experienced space.
Darlene L. Brooks Hedstrom
This chapter discusses the evolution of scholarly interest in Christian antiquities in Egypt after 1900. The archaeology of early Christianity developed much later than the field of Egyptology and initially focused only upon the clearing of monumental churches. Growing interest in Byzantine art and archaeology in the mid-1920s fostered greater support for excavations of expressly Christian settlements, which were primarily monastic communities. The wealth of archaeological evidence preserved in Egypt’s arid climate, such as documentary evidence (ostraca and papyri), textiles, manuscripts, and small finds such as items made of leather, reeds, ivory, and wood, helped foster a greater appreciation for Egypt’s history after the age of the pharaohs.
The following chapter approaches the archaeology of medieval Nubia from a regional perspective. First, it presents the nomenclature used for chronology, then the history of archaeological research in Nubia determined by construction of dams on the Nile. The focus of the paper are the settlement systems of two medieval Nubian kingdoms: Nobadia and Makuria. Alwa is treated lightly due to the limited data. They are discussed in a static (settlement hierarchy) and dynamic perspective (integration of settlement systems in time). Church architecture as an indicator of regionalism is also debated. Some topics integrally associated with archaeology of Nubia like historical sources (Ruffini, this volume), languages (Łajtar and Ochała, this volume), capitals of the states (Żurawski, this volume), art and pottery (Zielińska, this volume) are generally absent here but are tackled by other authors in the same volume.
This article discusses the archaeology of the Fayum region, covering land reclamation projects; discoveries and archaeological excavations; layout of Graeco-Roman settlements; and houses of the Roman period. The Fayum was developed in Hellenistic and Roman times to maximize agricultural output, which also led to the foundation and development of several settlements. Although many sites were known by name following the discovery of papyri in the late nineteenth century, early explorations were not well documented or published by the excavators, and considerable damage was wrought by illicit digging and sebakhin activity. Fortunately, a number of ongoing projects, combining archaeology, papyrology, and archival research, are constantly improving our knowledge of Fayum settlements, and in particular the interrelationship between the temple, its dromos, and the residential areas of the towns and villages.
The pyramid complexes of kings Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura of the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom period with their surrounding cemeteries at the Giza Necropolis contribute to our understanding of the development of a royal necropolis. Although there is evidence for pre-Fourth Dynasty settlement and burial, Khufu’s pyramid complex of the early Fourth Dynasty included a decorative program with reliefs and presumably statuary; while the decoration of the mastabas ranges from slab stelae and reserve heads to fully decorated chapels. Khafra’s and Menkaura’s pyramid complexes of the mid to late Fourth Dynasty probably focused more on statuary reflecting an evolving ideology of kingship. The quarrying of local limestone provided the necessary core blocks for the pyramids and mastabas, creating areas for the Sphinx and rock-cut tombs of the late Fourth Dynasty into the Fifth. The Heit el-Ghurab settlement (HeG), a center of production, and the tombs of the pyramid builders also contribute to our understanding of the necropolis’ functioning and its hierarchical structure. Giza continued to be used for burial through the Late Period.
After the collapse of the Meroitic Empire, three independent kingdoms arose within its former territory. Because of a lack of centralized political authority and artistic production, their early development, although based on the Meroitic inheritance, was determined by different sources of influence. From the 8th century two united northern kingdoms became a powerful state, which is also reflected in its art. Rising creativity from the 9th century onwards reflected local needs and ambitions. In the course of time, surrounded by Islamic neighbors, Nubian art on one hand remained independent in its forms of art, but on the other hand absorbed a new style and iconographic details, which is most visible in 12th-century wall painting. Most probably it reflected a changing lifestyle, inspired by the wider Middle Eastern world at that time. The late period, although characterized by much less activity and financial possibilities of individuals or communities, still shows flourishing activities of Nubian artists. Christian Nubian culture ended almost simultaneously with the Byzantine empire, leaving almost one thousand years of its unique heritage.
Aspects of the Relationships between the Community of Sheikh Abd al-Qurna and Ancient Egyptian Monuments
Andrew Bednarski and Gemma Tully
Epigraphers and archaeologists working in Egypt must navigate a host of complex relationships both on and off site. This chapter explores the multifaceted nature of local Egyptian peoples’ relationships with nearby monuments through the lens of a single case study: the site of Sheikh Abd al-Qurna and its local population, the Qurnawi. Egyptologists have not traditionally sought to incorporate formally the stories and histories of local populations in their studies of pharaonic sites. An increasing blend of social awareness and the desire for social action on the part of both foreign professionals and local activists, however, is pushing Egyptologists to re-evaluate their practices, which, in turn, is moving the discipline in new and positive directions.