Identifying the women of Early Dynastic Egypt: an analysis of the women’s funerary stelae/slabs from Abu Rawash, Helwan, and Abydos
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 11:24 by Susan A. Kelly
The study of women’s historiography worldwide, historically, was largely neglected until the feminist movement advocated for the inclusion of women’s contributions to world history. The inclusion of ‘women and gender’ studies in Egyptology commenced in the late 1980’s, however, the predominance of literature pertains to the Pharaonic period. To date, little concentrated analysis dedicated to the women of Early Dynastic period (3150 – 2890 BC) has been undertaken. The thesis investigates the roles of the women in the early Egyptian society, through the examination of the biographic details recorded on their funerary monuments. The multi-disciplinary investigation combines a textual, and a new sociological approach, to the women’s titles recovered from the cemeteries of Abydos, Abu Rawash and Helwan. The evaluation into the previous scholarship regarding the titles uncovers androcentric characterisation of the women as concubines associated with the harem, which has masked the women’s participation in the society. The textual analysis re-evaluates the titles objectively and situates the women’s involvement contextually, providing new insight into the society of Early Dynastic Egypt. The study offers an anthology of the women’s Early Dynastic stelae that provides a framework for the developments and changes to women’s roles throughout the different period of Egyptian history.