Katharina Vogt

Meir - The Middle Kingdom Necropolis. An archival excavation (working title)

Summary of the dissertation project in Egyptology by Katharina Vogt M. A.
(First supervisor: Prof. Susanne Bickel, second supervisor: Prof. Harco Willems)

In Egyptology as well as in other disciplines of ancient studies, funerary archaeological research - along with settlement archaeology - occupies one of the most important positions in the study of past cultures. The source group "graves", which is very informative for archaeological interpretation, represents not only the aspects connected with dying, but also those of life: grave findings convey knowledge both about the dead who were buried and about the living who buried.

Within the framework of the dissertation project, the ancient Egyptian burial site of Meir from the Middle Kingdom period (11th-14th Dynasty: 2055-1650 B.C.) is to be recorded, analyzed, and published in its entirety for the first time on the basis of previously unknown and unpublished excavation documents (from old excavations in the 19th and 20th centuries). The focus is therefore on the necessary evaluation of the archival material as well as its correlation in terms of content (recontextualization) with grave goods belonging to the burial site, which are today distributed in various museums around the world.

Chronology: How do the graves date? Can a chronological development within the necropolis be observed (e.g., different occupation phases, changes in tomb architecture)?

Topography: How is the necropolis structured or organized? Where, how, and in what relation to each other were the graves laid out (proximity/distance, different height levels, orientation of the main axis, landmarks)?

Architecture: What are the grave forms? Can a local grave typology be developed?

Density: how many graves are there? How many burials are there? Can conclusions be drawn about the local population?

Prosopography: Who are the buried persons? What titles do they bear? Where (within the necropolis) and how (single/multiple burials) were they interred? What genealogical conclusions can be drawn?

Burials/grave goods/burial equipment: Can different burial forms be determined? Do gender-specific differences manifest themselves? Are social hierarchical characteristics to be stated on the basis of the burials (status/prestige symbols)?

Comparisons: What temporal or geographic parallels exist with other cemeteries? Can local or regional traditions or innovations be observed?

-> Conception of a general overview of the Meir burial site (plan) with a contextual analysis of the object finds/grave goods as well as a comprehensive evaluation of the excavation documentation on the Meir necropolis, taking into account chronological, topographical, architectural, social, cultic and economic aspects.

Chronological inferences: Reconstruction of a chronological sequence of burials and a specific period of occupation of the cemetery (genesis, main phase of occupation, possibly subsequent use of the graves/secondary burials); chronology of gau princes.

Geographical inferences: Horizontal stratigraphic inferences (division of the necropolis into geographic sections, e.g. burials developing from north to south or starting from a center, to establish a relative chronology or to be able to make culturally specific/social inferences); local features and regional classification.

Inferences about social structure: differences within a gender/age group = vertical social structure (intra-societal); differences between gender/age groups = horizontal social structure (hierarchical); correlation between material burial findings and socioeconomic status of the buried person à establishing social hierarchical characteristics à elite vs. basic class burials; characteristics of the burial community of Meir

Classification options: Creating Meir-specific burial and object typologies.

Knowledge potential from a cultural perspective: determine culture-specific elements through commonalities in funerary archaeological evidence (architecture, grave goods, grave furnishings, location/orientation of the buried) -> cultural characteristics; statements about funerary practice in the necropolis of Meir in the Middle Kingdom

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