Buildings in context: a study of Middle Kingdom Granaries and their representation in the archaeological, textual and visual record
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 20:34 by Genevieve Holt
Grain was of fundamental importance to ancient Egypt in both life and afterlife. It provided the ingredients for the daily diet of bread and beer, it was a key part of the local and State economy, and the need for eternal sustenance in the afterlife meant that it played an important role in funerary practices. The storage of grain was thus an essential part of Egyptian life. Evidence for granaries can be found in the archaeological record at settlement sites, in texts such as estate accounts and commemorative inscriptions, and in tomb wall paintings and funerary models. Yet there are few detailed studies of these indispensable structures and they have tended to focus on one type of evidence. This project is based on the idea that buildings are more than physical structures and that they can be seen as tangible expressions of a culture. The presence of granaries in settlements indicates the necessity of grain in daily life; the references to granaries in administrative texts is evidence of their role in the economy. However, granaries also feature in literary texts and funerary beliefs. This demonstrates how these buildings occupied a place in the culture which was more than their architectural function. By collecting and analysing different types of evidence for granaries from the Middle Kingdom period, this study seeks to explore the role these buildings played beyond their basic function as storage facilities. This exploration of an architectural form as an expression of culture will help enrich our understanding of this complex ancient society.