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Crossed lines: an analysis of the Pan-Grave ceramic tradition in Upper Egypt, Lower Nubia and beyond
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 13:46 authored by Aaron M. De Souza
The enigmatic Pan-Grave culture is archaeologically attested in the Nile Valley of Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia from the late Middle Kingdom until the end of the Second Intermediate Period. Despite being known to Egyptology for over a century, uncertainty still surrounds their true identity, their place in Egyptian and Nubian society, their origins, and their eventual fate. This thesis aims to address these and other issues through a dedicated study of the most abundant and accessible of Pan-Grave material remains - their ceramics. The analysis is divided into three parts: Part One identifies the issues that are central to the thesis, critically evaluates existing literature, introduces the datasets being analysed, and lays out the aims and methodology of the analysis. Part Two analyses pottery from confirmed Pan-Grave sites across Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia to establish the key characteristics that define the Pan-Grave ceramic tradition. The morphological aspects investigated include vessel form, fabric, ware and surface treatment,and decoration. Part Three contextualises the Pan-Grave ceramic tradition based on the defining criteria identified in Part Two. Pottery from sites in Upper Nubia, the Eastern Desert, and the Western Desert oases, and from Egyptian cultural contexts will be brought into the analysis to ensure the fullest possible coverage of the Pan-Grave ceramic tradition. An analysis of pottery distribution aims to identify any regional variation and chronological developments in Pan-Grave pottery. Part Three includes a cladistic analysis to identify any evolutionary developments in Pan-Grave pottery decoration. Three main outcomes are reached: First, it is shown that a relative chronological sequence can be constructed using certain aspects of the Pan-Grave ceramic tradition in relation to dateable Egyptian artefacts. Second, that this relative chronological sequence can assist in developing and re-evaluating theories relating to the origins and fate of the Pan-Grave people. Finally,that the identity of the Pan-Grave culture and its relationships with other contemporary cultures should be reconsidered in light of new evidence.