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Changes in contents of burials over the 3rd millennium BC in Egypt

Tian, Tian; (2020) Changes in contents of burials over the 3rd millennium BC in Egypt. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Egyptian grave goods changed dramatically during the third millennium BC, but these changes have received little scholarly attention. Some have described this as a “decline” and attributed changes to new situations in beliefs, economy or social structures, without considering recent debates on grave goods in archaeology. This thesis experimentally applies practice-based theory in order to explain changes in grave goods meaningfully. The theory of this thesis argues that people embodied and reproduced sensorimotor experiences in funerary rituals. At the beginning of the third millennium BC, they tended to create and recreate visual experiences of grave goods in rituals by displaying them with bodies. When changes made them unable to display objects in burials, they improvised to ensure the display. These improvisations caused changes in embodied experiences and led to changes in ritual practices. From quantitative analyses and observations of unpublished tomb cards and photographs of Tarkhan-Kafr Ammar excavations, now stored in the archive at Petrie Museum, UCL, this thesis found that changes in grave goods were caused by combined forces of developments in funerary practices and formation processes of archaeological material. Before 2600 BC, Egyptians could display grave goods in burial pits because grave design allowed grave goods to be visible to participants. From 2600 BC onwards, an underground chamber appeared, which rendered grave goods invisible to most of the participants, and Egyptians shifted displays of grave goods to the ground to ensure the creation of visual experiences. This process lessened the chance of objects to survive underground as archaeological finds.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Changes in contents of burials over the 3rd millennium BC in Egypt
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10109143
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