It’s hard to say what part of ancient egyptian archaeology is the most important. For me I prefer cultural applications when it comes to Anthropology. It seems that the most interesting is to see how social customs have been transferred across time through burial sites as well as art that has been recovered.
The reason why the cultural aspect of ancient Egyptian archaeology is the most important, in my eyes, is that we can add more context to all the other discoveries. It adds a story line and it allows context. This context is necessary when we try to examine the past. The contextualization provides meaning and we can start to answer the universal question, “why?”.
The burial sites, especially, seem to give a lot of meaning. We have talked about this some throughout the lectures, but for me it helps see the culture and the time period for more of what it was and less as my mind imagines it. An important example is how there is an increase in social complexity in both Ma’adi and in Buto in the pre-dynastic era. Without these important cultural discoveries the variations between cities and over time would seem more minute than they are.
By looking at the cultural aspects of ancient Egypt we can not only see the increase in social complexity, but we can also see how the economic system developed as well as how their government started. It seems to me that this is essential when knowing entirely what a civilization is and how they have evolved over time through their interactions with each other and their interactions with people from far off lands.
The cultural aspect brings a wealth of knowledge and clarity to what may have seemed obscure. The light shed through cultural application can also enable understanding for something that was a mystery.
Something that many of my classmates may have noticed along with myself is that as the eras move forward through time the communities become more complex, which is as to be expected. I find it amazing that in just a short period of time [in retrospect it seems like a short period of time, that is] the dynamics of the community as a whole changed.
It is interesting how with Memphis is one of the first pharaoh and the breakdown of the nomes [provinces] is a ‘key feature in the empire itself’. The politics must have been interesting and extremely dynamic. You can see links to the Upper and Lower Egypt along with links to the dynastic and the predynastic periods of Egypt [as mentioned in the video lectures].
The Naqada’s practices are intriguing. The ceramics and the grave burials are probably of the most notable practices. Social complexity seems to be a reoccurring motif in both our lectures and the readings. I found myself wondering how the intricate social norms lead to the increase in political complexity. It’s amazing to think of how Naqada/Buto/Ma’adi et al. started – as in when they were primarily hunter gatherers. The increase in social complexity is [in my opinion] primarily linked to the ability to undergo agricultural practices. From what we have learned this is also a primary factor when you look at how the surplus of goods produced by the Nile River Valley contributes to the ability to trade. In order to have good trading practices you need someone to act as the moderator, which may have resulted in the establishment of formal rules.
Ethan (as per our Tweets!) mentioned in the introductory videos about order and chaos. Since then I have been thinking in those terms in reference to our readings and the videos.
The predynastic sites, Buto and Ma’adi, really stuck out to me as some of the first examples of how Egypt has this order/chaos motif. Buto seems to have to controlled chaos while Ma’adi is comparatively more ordered. I noticed this when the reading and the videos touched on ceramics. Lower Egypt (The majority of the Nile Delta & Buto) has ‘inferior ceramics’ which are unparalleled when they are compared to the ceramics of Upper Egypt. Ma’adi shows how they keep their materials and craftsmanship in line and thereby show how ordered they were as a society.
As I’ve explored the resources on WordPress I am liking the open access idea more and more. Why pay for information?!
At any rate, I’m Alexandria Cook and I’m currently a senior that is [hopefully] graduating in December. My primary major is Criminal Justice with an additional major in Anthropology. A funny thing about that is every time I mention the two together I always get asked if I’m going to be like Temperance Brennan from Bones, and sadly, no. I’ve thought about a number of things I would like to do – such as going to get my Masters, working with the federal government as an intelligence analyst, becoming a certified Spanish speaker, and going to culinary school!
Mainly though I want to travel and write about my experiences. Within Anthropology I generally lean towards the socio-cultural end especially how culture changes over time. So it’s a big dream of mine to be able to travel and write about it. If you name a place I more than likely want to at least visit if not live there for a period of time.
As of now, I’m in EL, and I’m loving the lush greenery [amongst many other wonderful things]. I love EL so much that I just couldn’t leave. I didn’t want to leave my job either. Money is money, right? Aside from that I am taking 2 other online classes, luckily they span the entire summer. Both are criminal justice classes, so if you ever need a CJ prospective I’m your girl.