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Painting Amara West: the technology and experience of colour in New Kingdom Nubia

Fulcher, Kate; (2018) Painting Amara West: the technology and experience of colour in New Kingdom Nubia. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis presents an investigation of the paints used in domestic and funerary contexts in a pharaonic town in Nubia. Amara West was the seat of the Deputy of Kush, founded during the reign of Seti I, and inhabited up to the 8th century BC. The site retains evidence of painted house walls, paint in ceramic palettes, and raw pigments, as well as painted coffins in the cemeteries. The combination of freshly excavated material with secure archaeological contexts, and the ability to export samples, has allowed an in depth scientific analysis of the inorganic and organic components of the paints to be conducted. This is the first in depth study on the use of colour across an ancient Egyptian town site. The pigments identified mainly sit within the known Egyptian palettes, but three unusual pigments were found: a green earth, a blue earth, and ground bitumen. In addition, petrochemical analysis enabled the geographical source of the bitumen to be identified and molecular analysis detected a plant gum binder. The materials analysis has been combined with ethnoarchaeological interviews and a phenomenological study in order to consider the aims and activities of the people who made and used the paints at Amara West, and how these were influenced by and fit into the landscape and taskscape particular to this area. The situation of the site in Nubia provides the opportunity to consider the influence of a local non-Egyptian population on Egyptian technology and cultural choices. Pigments were chosen not just for their colour, but for the associations that were attached to the material, which may be related to its origin, the journey it has taken, the network of people involved in its procurement, or cultural determinations.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Painting Amara West: the technology and experience of colour in New Kingdom Nubia
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10044169
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