As the course progresses it becomes more and more apparent that the ancient Egyptians were enthralled and bewildered by the concept of death. Over the past several weeks Ethan has discussed several of the seemingly infinite Egyptian practices relating to death and the mortuary context. Specifically in this week’s lecture, the discussion focused on pottery and vessels. It was stated in class that there is a big distinction between household and mortuary vessels, at least in the Badarian Period (Ethan Watrall, class lecture 10/2/2012). Household vessels were typically rough ware ceramics that, while functional, did not display the intricate designs and shapes of mortuary vessels. In the many pictures that we viewed during class, it was very apparent that vessels created specifically for the mortuary context displayed a higher degree of craftsmanship and appeared to be richer in design and symbolism. This brings me to the question of why ancient Egyptians believed that the dead should be placed with goods of seemingly greater material worth than the individuals that were still living. When linked to earlier discussions of the Egyptian practices of mummification and rituals specifically enacted to unify the deceased with their soul, it becomes evident that the life thereafter was more important than the life Egyptians lived in this world. This is particularly interesting when considered from an archaeological perspective because archaeology studies material culture. Because of its focus, archaeology is particularly well suited to interpret the mortuary record. And as luck would have it, the mortuary record is incredibly telling for ancient Egypt. As we have seen throughout the semester, the ancient Egyptians wanted only the best interred with their dead. Therefore, grave goods represent what these people wanted to have in the afterlife, once their souls came back to life. Archaeologists are left with the items that have cultural and religious significance at the individual level, but also for the population at large.