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Egyptian watercraft models from the Predynastic to Third Intermediate Periods

Merriman, A.M.; (2010) Egyptian watercraft models from the Predynastic to Third Intermediate Periods. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The reliance of a society on watercraft is nowhere more apparent that in ancient Egypt, where the Nile River provided the means for all but the most local transport. It is not surprising that ancient Egyptians would incorporate watercraft, an important object from their everyday lives, into their funerary furniture for use in the next world. The primary goal of this study is the reclassification of Egyptian watercraft models from the standard 1898 George Reisner typology in order to demonstrate that these artifacts graphically represent the evolution of nautical technology through the recognition of major and minor construction attributes. Other secondary objectives include the recognition of site specific or regional patterns in watercraft design that may reflect the social conditions of a geographic area based upon hull forms, quality, color, iconography, and the equipment on-board. Further, certain artifacts shed light on the social structure of Egyptian life including the hierarchy of workers and the represented status of boat men, servants, the military, clerics, and nobility that are depicted on-board. Other identified factors can affect model outcome including the talent of the model builder, raw material availability, the economic and political climate, and the requirements of the model watercraft’s owner. Ancient Egyptian watercraft-building and hull design transformed over thousands of years and models survive from the Predynastic to Roman Periods. Clay, ivory, mud, and stone models from the Predynastic and Early Dynastic Periods are used to demonstrate that even at these early dates, the Egyptians constructed substantial watercraft. Hundreds of models made of wood, clay, one of gold, and one of silver from the Old Kingdom to Third Intermediate Period represent the progressive stages of Egyptian maritime architectural development. Unprovenanced artifacts are included in this study, many with suggestions for their probable context based on provenanced boats that have identical attributes. Further, several models are anomalous in that they exhibit non-standard construction, iconography, color, and lack provenance to such an extreme that their authenticity must be questioned. In some cases, documentation confirms these suspicions.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Egyptian watercraft models from the Predynastic to Third Intermediate Periods
Language:English
Additional information:Authorisation for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology

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