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Title: Riverine and desert animals in predynastic Upper Egypt : material culture and faunal remains
Author: Droux, Xavier
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 681X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Animals were given a preponderant position in Egyptian art, symbolism, and cultual practices. This thesis centres on the relationship between humans and animals during the predynastic period in Upper Egypt (Naqada I-IIIB, 4th millennium BCE), focusing on hippopotamus and crocodile as representatives of the Nile environment and antelope species as representatives of the desert environment. Depictions of these animals are analysed and compared with contemporary faunal remains derived from activities such as cult, funerary, or every day consumption. The material analysed covers several centuries: temporal evolutions and changes have been identified. The animals studied in this thesis were first used by the Naqada I-IIB elites as means to visually and practically express their power, which they envisioned in two contrasting and complementary ways. The responsibilities of the leaders were symbolised by the annihilation of negative wild forces primarily embodied by antelope species. In contrast, they symbolically appropriated positive wild forces, chief among them being the hippopotamus, from which they symbolically derived their power. Faunal remains from after mid-Naqada II are few, depictions of hippopotamus disappeared and those of crocodile became rare. Antelope species became preponderant, especially on D-ware vessels, which were accessible to non-elite people. However, toward the end of the predynastic period, antelope species came to be depicted almost exclusively on high elite material; they lost their individuality and became generic representatives of chaotic forces that the leaders and early rulers had to annihilate in order to maintain control and order.
Supervisor: Baines, John ; Friedman, Renée Sponsor: Berrow Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Animals and civilization--Egypt ; Animal remains (Archaeology)--Egypt ; Material culture--Egypt ; Egypt--Antiquities ; Egypt--Religious life and customs