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Title: A monument in desert lands : constructing and transforming place in Egypt's Eastern Desert during the New Kingdom (c.1550-1069 BC)
Author: Garnett, A. E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 5264
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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The Eastern Desert creates a setting where the interaction between people and the landscape, as expressed through rock art, graffiti and monumental construction, developed over time, leaving behind narrative reminders of their authors' journeys through the desert landscape. Royal cultic enclosures for the worship of local and national deities, and the cult of the divine king, were constructed at specific locales in the Eastern Desert during the New Kingdom (c. 1550-1069BC) as visible markers of the pacification of the chaotic desert and integral components of conceptual 'desertscapes' (Richards 1999). A number of desert shrines are well preserved as a result of the favourable environmental conditions in which they were built, forming memorials to specific deities whilst also expressing the divine role of the pharaoh in the peripheral regions of Egypt and serving as a constant reminder of the king's domain, even when he himself was so far removed from the sites. Nine of these New Kingdom sites form the focus of this thesis. Previous studies have investigated these sites in isolation (e.g. Kuhlmann 1979a; Huyge 1984a; 1984b; Sourouzian 1983), or have selected several sites for short comparative analyses (e.g. Darnell 2007; Espinel 2012; Gates-Foster 2012; Klemm 1988; Richter 2010). This thesis centres on the extant architectural remains and inscriptional repertoire forming the infrastructure at these sites, which possess great potential for further research due to the lack of both any pre-existing comprehensive work on the theme of the New Kingdom Eastern Desert, and any inclusive secondary study of these sites as a dataset. The sites featured in this study form a broad north-south representation of built landscapes in the Eastern Desert based on the current state of the archaeological record, from Speos Artemidos in Middle Egypt to Wadi Mia in Upper Egypt. A holistic analysis of these sites, located at the edge of the desert at the interface between the desert and the Nile Valley, and along major desert roads, will aim to reconstruct cultic activity at all points of the journey through the Eastern Desert for New Kingdom Egyptians travelling through the region. This analysis will provide a hypothetical reconstruction of the eastern frontier of the Nile during the New Kingdom and venture one reconstruction of the experience of those travelling to, and through, these sites. Contemporary sites outside of Egypt proper, including in Nubia, will facilitate a comparative spatial analysis of the implications of New Kingdom liminal desert architecture and the motivations behind their construction. The nine sites will be presented in the context of recent theoretical approaches to landscape archaeology and memory, examining the 'use-life' (Polz 1987; Schiffer 1972) of the sites as illustrated by human dwelling and its constitutive activities, which this thesis will strongly suggest were dialectically connected with the surrounding desert landscape. Extant archaeological and textual material at these sites will also be considered through the lens of cultural memory studies, providing insight into human dwelling and its constitutive activities which were entwined with the desert landscape. This thesis is strongly multidisciplinary and will therefore have implications for several areas of study, including the development and transformation of New Kingdom religious architecture, divine and royal legitimation and the expression of personal piety, and the application of social memory in archaeological research.
Supervisor: Snape, Steven ; Eyre, Christopher Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral