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Scaling the state: Egypt in the third millennium BC

Bussmann, R; (2014) Scaling the state: Egypt in the third millennium BC. Archaeology International , 17 79 - 93. 10.5334/ai.1708. Green open access

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Abstract

Discussions of the early Egyptian state suffer from a weak consideration of scale. Egyptian archaeologists derive their arguments primarily from evidence of court cemeteries, elite tombs, and monuments of royal display. The material informs the analysis of kingship, early writing, and administration but it remains obscure how the core of the early Pharaonic state was embedded in the territory it claimed to administer. This paper suggests that the relationship between centre and hinterland is key for scaling the Egyptian state of the Old Kingdom (ca. 2,700-2,200 BC). Initially, central administration imagines Egypt using models at variance with provincial practice. The end of the Old Kingdom demarcates not the collapse, but the beginning of a large-scale state characterized by the coalescence of central and local models.

Type: Article
Title: Scaling the state: Egypt in the third millennium BC
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.5334/ai.1708
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/ai.1708
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).
Keywords: Egypt, State formation, Early civilization, Imagined communities, Administration
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1452728
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