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date: 18 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This contribution investigates the procurement, assembly, arrangement, and fragmentation of grave inventories on the basis of so-called intact burials in the elite cemeteries of New Kingdom Thebes. After introductions to the state of research, the material under investigation, and the course of Egyptian funerals, two phenomena of fragmentation, namely grave robbing and the redeposition of burials, are discussed. It is argued that most of the burials classified as ‘intact’ are in fact affected by them in some way. The procurement of burial equipment is studied on the basis of concrete examples. They show that religious, social, and emotional motivations guiding its assembly were complemented by practical necessities and contingencies. These and the aforementioned forms of fragmentation are defined as analytically relevant criteria under the keyword ‘archaeology of the profane’. It is argued that they do not only shape the archaeological record in an equal measure, but are also integral and significant parts of the funerary practice, whose identification widens our understanding of death in Ancient Egypt—and beyond.

Keywords: pharaonic Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Medina, archaeology of the profane, course of burial, burial rites, tomb robbing/grave plundering, secondary depositions/reburial, grave goods, funeralia, burial equipment/grave inventory

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