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Tomb Treasures of the Late Kingdom

The Archaeology of Female Burials

By Wolfram Grajetzki

Publication Year: 2013

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 Kingdom describes 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 Kingdom sheds 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.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. 1-16

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...

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CHAPTER 1 Court Type Burials

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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...

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CHAPTER 2 Other Burials of Women

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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....

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CHAPTER 3 Types of Jewelry in Late Middle Kingdom Burials

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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...

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CHAPTER 4 The Development of Egyptian Burial Customs

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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...

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CHAPTER 5 The King and the Women Buried Around Him

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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...

APPENDIX: The Royal Women of the Twelfth Dynasty

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pp. 189-194


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pp. 195-198


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pp. 199-224

Egyptian Tombs and Excavation Report

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pp. 225-228


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pp. 229-248


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pp. 249-254


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p. 255-255

E-ISBN-13: 9780812209198
E-ISBN-10: 0812209192
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812245677

Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 106 illus.
Publication Year: 2013