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Interpreting identities from the Graeco-Roman period

Golden Mummies of Egypt presents new insights and a rich perspective on beliefs about the afterlife during an era when Egypt was part of the Greek and Roman worlds (c. 300 BCE–200 CE). This beautifully illustrated book, featuring photography by Julia Thorne, accompanies Manchester Museum’s first-ever international touring exhibition. Golden Mummies of Egypt is a visually spectacular exhibition that offers visitors unparalleled access to the museum’s outstanding collection of Egyptian and Sudanese objects – one of the largest in the UK.

Being and becoming in faience figurines of Middle Kingdom ancient Egypt
Rune Nyord

2 The Nile in the hippopotamus: being and becoming in faience figurines of Middle Kingdom ancient Egypt Rune Nyord Traditional approaches to ancient Egyptian funerary practices are strongly shaped by Victorian ideas of a universal human quest for immortality, of which Egypt was thought to provide a paradigmatic example (Nyord 2018). Correspondingly, grave goods are generally interpreted as finished objects of immediate use to the deceased in his or her personal afterlife, and, where this for one reason or another appears intuitively unlikely, the objects are

in Images in the making
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The role of meteorite iron in the development of iron-working techniques in ancient Egypt
Diane Johnson
Joyce Tyldesley

32 Iron from the sky: the role of meteorite iron in the development of iron-working techniques in ancient Egypt Diane Johnson and Joyce Tyldesley The earliest evidence for the large scale smelting of iron ores in Egypt dates to the sixth century BC (Petrie 1886: 39); this strongly suggests that iron production technologies developed much later in Egypt than in neighbouring territories. However, archaeology has shown that some elite Egyptians were buried with iron grave goods long before iron production became common within their land (Carter 1927: 122, 135

in Mummies, magic and medicine in ancient Egypt
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Migrant bodies and uncanny skin
Lisa Mullen

than palpable, and its codes were cultural rather than hieroglyphic. In the absence of their putative owner, the grave goods took on an uncanny potency: the lost subjecthood of the dead king seemed now to reside in the objects which had once embodied his sovereignty and wealth. It is true that later, more sophisticated analysis of the site would indicate that the burial had in fact once contained a body, which had dissolved in the acidic local soil; but when the Sutton Hoo treasure was exhibited for the first time in 1946 – having spent the

in Mid-century gothic
Kinship, community and identity

Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries are well-known because of their rich grave goods, but this wealth can obscure their importance as local phenomena and the product of pluralistic multi-generational communities. This book explores over one hundred early Anglo-Saxon and some Merovingian cemeteries and aims to understand them using a multi-dimensional methodology. The performance of mortuary drama was a physical communication and so needed syntax and semantics. This local knowledge was used to negotiate the arrangement of cemetery spaces and to construct the stories that were told within them. For some families the emphasis of a mortuary ritual was on reinforcing and reproducing family narratives, but this was only one technique used to arrange cemetery space. This book offers an alternative way to explore the horizontal organisation of cemeteries from a holistic perspective. Each chapter builds on the last, using visual aesthetics, leitmotifs, spatial statistics, grave orientation, density of burial, mortuary ritual, grave goods, grave robbing, barrows, integral structures, skeletal trauma, stature, gender and age to build a detailed picture of complex mortuary spaces. This approach places community at the forefront of interpretation because people used and reused cemetery spaces and these people chose to emphasise different characteristics of the deceased because of their own attitudes, lifeways and lived experiences. This book will appeal to scholars of Anglo-Saxon studies and will also be of value to archaeologists interested in mortuary spaces, communities and social differentiation because it proposes a way to move beyond grave goods in the discussion of complex social identities.

Art, process, archaeology

This book presents a study of material images and asks how an appreciation of the making and unfolding of images and art alters archaeological accounts of prehistoric and historic societies. With contributions focusing on case studies including prehistoric Britain, Scandinavia, Iberia, the Americas and Dynastic Egypt, and including contemporary reflections on material images, it makes a novel contribution to ongoing debates relating to archaeological art and images. The book offers a New Materialist analysis of archaeological imagery, with an emphasis on considering the material character of images and their making and unfolding. The book reassesses the predominantly representational paradigm of archaeological image analysis and argues for the importance of considering the ontology of images. It considers images as processes or events and introduces the verb ‘imaging’ to underline the point that images are conditions of possibility that draw together differing aspects of the world. The book is divided into three sections: ‘Emergent images’, which focuses on practices of making; ‘Images as process’, which examines the making and role of images in prehistoric societies; and ‘Unfolding images’, which focuses on how images change as they are made and circulated. The book features contributions from archaeologists, Egyptologists, anthropologists and artists. The contributors to the book highlight the multiple role of images in prehistoric and historic societies, demonstrating that archaeologists need to recognise the dynamic and changeable character of images.

Burials of ‘military men’ between 300 and 500
Benjamin Hamm

monuments or gravestones, burying communities spent their energy creating more intimate tableaus that were viewed only by those who attended the funerals. During the last decades of the fifth century, all over the former western empire, the importance of weapons as grave-goods had increased to such an extent that almost every second male burial in the developing row-grave cemeteries contained some form of weapon. 5 It is the purpose of this chapter to investigate these changes in the burial rites of military men in

in Early medieval militarisation
A sketch of a funerary ritual
Peter Robinson

the clear depiction of a human-headed ba bird, wings spread as if in the act of flying down the stairway. Immediately at the bottom of the stairway, in the antechamber to the burial chamber, the papyrus’s artist has drawn a chair and offering table. In the burial chamber itself, Nebqed lies within his anthropoid coffin, upon a bier, his name written above, and surrounded by braziers and jars containing offerings. In a side chamber, we see the grave goods in a box, the deceased’s sandals and another offering table, ready to receive offerings. Finally, above the image

in Mummies, magic and medicine in ancient Egypt
Michel Summer

. 3 Within the poem, helmets, armour and swords are used as gifts and grave-goods. The poet presents these items as playing a pivotal role in the establishment and the perpetuation of the ties that existed between a military leader and his warriors. 4 Although their authors were Christian and chronologically removed from the periods they described, texts such as Beowulf or the sagas written in Old Norse are used by historians and archaeologists to

in Early medieval militarisation
A reflection of ‘militarisation’?
Susanne Brather-Walter

Merovingian period ‘row-grave cemeteries’ show a variety of burial furnishings. Men were equipped with belts and weapons, women with dress accessories and jewellery. Furthermore, graves contained ‘non-gendered’ objects such as vessels or furniture. Grave-goods assemblage additionally varied based on the age of the deceased, the location of their burial, and the point of time at which they had been buried. When weapons (sword, lance, bow and arrow, shield) and equestrian equipment (spurs, stirrups and saddle) are found only

in Early medieval militarisation