During class on Tuesday, Ethan touched on the Hierakonpolis site, and in particular, mentioned the Potter’s house. I found it interesting because the majority of sites that are found are a symbol of great art or engineering in the past. Specifically, pottery is something that we have touched on many times in this class, because of the use of pottery in relative dating. Also, the production of different types and styles of pottery demonstrate a change in culture and style, as well as successful trading between different communities. Ancient Egyptians were able to create works of art that were not only stylish, but useful and wanted by members throughout the known world at that time. In addition, another thing I find interesting about Hierakonpolis is that the society lasted for thousands of years – thus there is thousands of years of context in the same place.
On the other hand, the Potter’s house demonstrates that not everybody knew what they were doing. Thus, I decided to look more into the Potter’s house, and I found a website (a sub site of archaeology.org) that gave a detailed report on Hierakonpolis and the objects, structures, and humans remains found there.
The Potter’s House is Egypt’s oldest preserved house – a testament either to the engineering, or the ability of a kiln to save a house forever. In addition to the Potter’s House, there are other works of art and engineering that demonstrate the continued growth of technology. There is evidence of industrial-strength breweries, decorated stone-cut monuments, and Narmer’s temple – Egypt’s oldest temple.
In addition to structures, there is also evidence of material culture through grave goods such as tools, jewelry, and bows and arrows. In one case, in a Nubian cemetery context, a carving of a scarab was found. I remember, in addition to cats and pyramids, another thing that people often associate with Ancient Eygpt are scarabs. This scarab – though it was found later, during Dynasty 13) – was a part of a bracelet consisting of eggshells and beads that belonged to a teenager.
Even though I had never heard of Hierakonpolis before this class, I find it really interesting. There is a wealth of information relating to this ancient – as well as later – society that is all available in it’s original context.