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Tomb Treasures of the Late Middle Kingdom

Tomb Treasures of the Late Middle Kingdom: The Archaeology of Female Burials

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Tomb Treasures of the Late Middle Kingdom
    Book Description:

    During the late Middle Kingdom (about 1850-1700 B.C.E.), ancient Egyptian women of high standing were interred with lavish ornamentation and carefully gathered possessions. Buried near the pyramids of kings, women with royal connections or great wealth and status were surrounded by fine pottery and vessels for sacred oils, bedecked with gold and precious stones, and honored with royal insignia and marks of Osiris. Their funerary possessions include jewelry imported from other ancient lands and gold-handled daggers and claspless jewelry made only to be worn in the tomb.Extensively illustrated with archival images and the author's own drawings,Tomb Treasures of the Late Middle Kingdomdescribes and compares the opulent tombs of eminent and royal women. In addition to the ornaments, many of which are considered masterpieces of Middle Kingdom craft, Egyptologist Wolfram Grajetzki examines the numerous grave goods, artifacts of daily life, and markers of social status that were also placed in tombs, presenting a more complete picture of funerary customs in this period. By considering celebrated examples of female burials together for the first time,Tomb Treasures of the Late Middle Kingdomsheds new light on the role and status of women in the royal court and explores how the gendered identity of those women was preserved in the grave.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0919-8
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-15)

    The late Middle Kingdom in ancient Egypt, c. 1850 to 1700 BCE, is exceptionally rich in undisturbed burials of women. These tombs are often lavishly equipped with jewelry of the highest quality. Much of this jewelry has been regularly depicted in books on ancient Egypt. The burials are not often discussed as a whole, however; the other object types found in them are frequently barely mentioned. In this book my aim is to fill this gap. In the first part I provide a description and synthesis of the latest research on several of the most important late Middle Kingdom burials...

  4. CHAPTER 1 Court Type Burials
    (pp. 17-93)

    In this chapter the category of Middle Kingdom burials known as “court type” is discussed. The first two examples described are the burial of Senebtisi and the “treasure” from the tomb of Sathathoriunet. These two burials are discussed first because both were carefully excavated and the findings published in detail. Indeed, in terms of their documentation and publication, the excavations of these burials set the standard in Egyptian archaeology. Furthermore, it was in the excavation report on the tomb of Senebtisi that the term “court type burial” was first coined. The burials discussed after those of Senebtisi and Sathathoriunet are...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Other Burials of Women
    (pp. 94-113)

    The most important undisturbed tombs of other women, not buried in court type style, are presented in this chapter in order to gain a better understanding of the burials of the royal and highest-status women buried in the court type style discussed in Chapter 1.

    While the items of jewelry found in these other burials have many points in common with those from court type burials, it is striking that the other items of burial equipment are in general different, even though all the burials date from more or less the same period and many of these non-royal women are...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Types of Jewelry in Late Middle Kingdom Burials
    (pp. 114-134)

    There are several sources from which it is possible to gain information on personal adornments worn in late Middle Kingdom Egypt. First of all there are the items found in tombs and to a lesser extent in settlement sites. They provide a firsthand view of Egyptian jewelry. However, they are not without problems. Jewelry found in tombs might have been selected especially for the burial, and so examples found there may not really reflect the jewelry worn normally in daily life or at least on those occasions when jewelry was usually worn, such as special religious or social events. An...

  7. CHAPTER 4 The Development of Egyptian Burial Customs
    (pp. 135-179)

    In most periods of ancient Egyptian history burials include items from two types of objects—funerary and daily life—and the burial equipment of Egyptian tombs always represents interaction between them. In burials of the ruling class funerary objects are more common, while further down the social ladder in the graves of the broader population these funerary objects become rarer. In the cemeteries of the royal residence objects of a funerary industry are always common, while in many periods they are not so common in provincial cemeteries, even in burials of people of the highest social status.

    The products of...

  8. CHAPTER 5 The King and the Women Buried Around Him
    (pp. 180-188)

    The burials of kings with only women placed around them seem to be a significant feature of many Old and all Middle Kingdom pyramid complexes. Among them are the burial complexes of the Sixth Dynasty containing the smaller tombs of queens. The pyramid complex of Pepy II consists of the king’s pyramid and pyramid temple, and around this pyramid the small pyramids of the king’s wives.¹ There are no tombs of king’s daughters or male members of the family. They must have been buried somewhere else, perhaps somewhat farther away. The same arrangement is found for the pyramid complex of...

  9. Appendix The Royal Women of the Twelfth Dynasty
    (pp. 189-194)
  10. Chronology
    (pp. 195-198)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 199-224)
  12. Egyptian Tombs and Excavation Reports
    (pp. 225-228)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 229-248)
  14. Index
    (pp. 249-254)
  15. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 255-255)