Macquarie University
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The depiction of the tomb owner in the Old Kingdom cemetery of El-Hawawish in Upper Egypt: a documentation and analysis of the representations of tomb owners at El-Hawawish and other provincial sites

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posted on 2022-03-28, 15:00 authored by Elizabeth M. Thompson
The area chosen as the focus of the study was the Old Kingdom necropolis of El-Hawawish at Akhmim. This provincial cemetery was selected because of the large number of decorated tombs available for study within a single nome and the breadth of the dating span from the mid-Fifth to the Eighth Dynasties. -- The aim of this study was to closely examine the wall scenes in which the tomb owner was the principal focus, to identify the activities in which he chose to portray himself and to make a detailed analysis of the manner in which these activities were depicted. While the primary focus was the tombs at El-Hawawish, attention was also given to comparisons with other similarly dated provincial sites and with the capital, Memphis. Five principal occupations, or activities, of the tomb owner were scrutinised and similarities and differences noted. -- A number of specific questions, relating to the tomb owner's choice of his depictions were posed, such as the effect of the physical isolation of El-Hawawish from the capital, the impact of the status of the tomb owner and the importance of family relationships. Consideration was also given to the extent to which the tomb owners and/or the artists developed a distinct provincial style or incorporated features from tombs in other provinces or the capital. Finally, an attempt was made to identify specific aspects of the data which could provide reliable dating criteria. By this detailed observation, the thesis aimed to gain a greater understanding of the intention of the tomb owner in decorating his tomb and in presenting himself in his social milieu, particularly within his family setting and his province. -- As a result the study of the depictions of the tomb owner and the artistic style of his chosen themes and motifs has provided an understanding of the importance placed on the tomb owner's role and status in society. Comparative analysis of the interaction between the provinces and the capital indicated areas and periods where the traditional forms of the capital were preserved while still allowing the provincial tomb owners the opportunity for individual input. -- The stylistic study and analysis of the scenes was found to provide a useful method of cataloguing information and, through observing changes and developments, assist in suggesting appropriate dating criteria.


Table of Contents

PART I -- 1. Introduction -- 2. The standing tomb owner at El-Hawawish: depictions in tombs and on stelae: -- Part A. The tomb owner depicted as a youthful figure -- Part B. The tomb owner depicted as a mature figure -- Part C. The viewing tomb owner -- 3. The seated tomb owner at El-Hawawish: depictions in tombs and on stelae -- 4. The tomb owner at El-Hawawish: spear-fishing in the marshes -- 5. The tomb owner at El-Hawawish: travelling in a palanquin -- 6. The tomb owner travelling in a sailing ship or a papyrus boat -- 7. Conclusions -- PART II -- Map of Egypt showing Old Kingdom sites -- Catalogue of tombs, stelae and other stone fragments -- List of tomb owners at El-Hawawish (Akhmim) and other Upper Egyptian provinces by chapter -- Tables -- Illustrations -- Appendix I: The major groups of El-Hawawish officials in the Sixth Dynasty -- Appendix II: Themes depicted at El-Hawawish.


Bibliography: pages [235]-251 A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ancient History

Department, Centre or School

Department of Ancient History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Naguib Kanawati


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Elizabeth M. Thompson 2010.






1 online resource (xiii, 251, [190] pages) illustrations., map

Former Identifiers

mq:30236 2120918