Kahun: Life and death

To me, the settlement at Kahun was the most interesting piece of this week’s readings.  It is amazing how much Flinders Petrie recovered from this site in two years (1888-1890), probably abandoned since the 13th dynasty; seeds, tools, board games, toys, jewelry, records and letters, as well as religious artifacts.  All of these items give us a window in which we can view what life was like for these ancient Egyptians!

When looking at the structures from this middle kingdom era, I am surprised at how complex things got.  It seems like the Egyptians had moved on from the bigger is better mentality and instead began creating very complex structures.  Now we have houses with many rooms, each with a specialized purpose.  From the reading we see that the larger houses now have reception rooms, pools, bedrooms with sleeping alcoves, granaries with enough food to feed thousands of people.

The records that were found here caught my attention.  Fragments of papyri preserved for thousands of years with all manner of information contained on them.  It amazes me how much information the Egyptians kept by recording them on these pieces of papyri; medical information, administrative information, legal documents, religious hymns, literary texts, mathematics.  They knew and understood so much of the world around them.  Maybe even more importantly, they had a desire to make their world better, to fix things and people, to manipulate their environment.

We see again, in this settlement the practice of adult burials being conducted outside of the town.  The reading doesn’t tell us much about these burials.  We also see that infants were buried inside of the settlement, beneath the floors of houses.  We have seen this before and it is becoming a common pattern throughout the time and space of ancient Egypt.  I may explore this in my research article because I find it interesting that they would treat the two events as separate and different.

~Cristina M. Cao

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