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Title: The archaeothanatology of Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt : a methodological approach
Author: Tamorri, Veronica
ISNI:       0000 0004 6059 690X
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis investigates mortuary evidence from 3,207 Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egyptian tombs (ca. 4000-2686 BC) by means of the taphonomy-laden methodology Archaeothanatology. My research shows that Archaeothanatology coupled with a solid analytical framework including statistical analysis of large datasets, is fundamental to develop strong archaeological correlates to theoretical discussions over past bodies and agency, and obtain significant insights into the socio-ritual organisation of ancient Egypt. By using the burial evidence from Predynastic Egypt as a case study, I also contribute to the advancement of the archaeothanatological method, originally developed in the European temperate environment, by providing new insights into the taphonomy of cadavers decomposing in dry and hot climates. The fine-grained analytical tools offered by Archaeothanatology are essential to make inferences on the past gestes funéraires that influenced archaeological formation processes in the graves considered. In particular, I propose crucial insights into how bone distribution in tombs is influenced by taphonomic processes or anthropic actions; the onset of natural soft tissue desiccation; the use of now-decayed disposal types including reed mats and coffins; and the existence of different looting patterns and modalities. I also shed new light on less common and less investigated gestes funéraires, including plural tombs, secondary burials, and funerary body manipulations resulting in apparently inexplicable bone arrangements. Overall, the micro-scaled investigation of burial taphonomy and body treatments proposed in this thesis emphasises the dynamic and creative character of many Predynastic funerals within a common underlying framework. It also discloses Predynastic people’s multi-faceted attitudes to death, the body and the reproduction of social relations, which often involved the close engagement between the living and the corpse. This work also corroborates the role of Archaeothanatology in bridging between science-based and theory-laden approaches to past bodies, suggesting that it should be implemented more consistently in funerary archaeology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available