Deciphering sealing practices at Uronarti and Askut: A spatial analysis of the built environment and individual sealers /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Penacho, Susan, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (476 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Nadine Moeller Committee members: Scott Branting; Janet Johnson; Stuart Tyson Smith.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: A.
Summary:The Nubian fortresses of the Middle Kingdom formed an important facet of the Egyptian administration. These sites, located along the banks of the Nile and on islands ranging as far south as the Second Cataract, created a defensive barrier as well as facilitated trade and the mining of natural resources in Nubia. One of the largest groups of finds from excavations in the 1920s and 1960s were corpora of sealings, which were used secure and seal objects as well as identify the individual or institution who controlled these items such as doors, boxes, and baskets. Sealings were then discarded once the objects were opened, often left on the floors of buildings and periodically cleaned and placed into secondary trash deposits.
This dissertation focuses on sealing corpora from the Nubian fortresses of Uronarti and Askut, chosen due to the large sealing corpora found within both primary, within interior rooms, and secondary contexts, within exterior and interior trash deposits. Previous research on sealing corpora have utilized the sealings to identify both institutions present at the sites and administrators who used seals with names and titles. In addition to the sealings of institutions and named individuals, the sealing corpora also include a large variety of seal types with design motifs such as coils, scrolls, rosettes, and hieroglyphic signs. These design seal types have largely been ignored due to their lack of text. Yet, these can be used along with institutional and name sealings to form a comprehensive view of sealing practice taking place within both administrative areas and private living apartments at the Nubian Fortresses.
When sealings are analyzed within their excavated contexts, they can be used by researchers to interpret sealing practices, identify administrative architecture, smaller storage spaces, associated trash deposits, and the individuals whom were most active within a site's administration. Clustering of sealings, individual seal types, and the comparison of seal types among deposits will assist in understanding the sealing practices carried out within the Middle Kingdom Nubian fortresses. This research aims to gain a better understanding of the functions of the built environment and the individuals who were part of the sealing activities within the administration at the Nubian Fortresses. This analysis is carried out in two parts. First, the built environment was interpreted through the locations of sealing deposits which illustrate the administration which was taking place at these two Nubian fortresses. This analysis was done through the classification of depositional patterns as belonging to an institution or local storage area based on the seal types within the deposit, the back types of the sealings which are associated with types of items opened within these locations, and the presence of countersealing, a practice associated with the administration of institutions. From this information and analysis, it is possible to identify local institutions, secondary trash deposits associated with those institutions, and smaller storage areas often found in the private apartments.
Second, the analysis of the sealings focused on the individual seal types in order to identify active individuals within the corpus especially those who were involved within the administration of the local institutions and storage spaces. Thus a cluster of a single seal type within a deposit identifies the holder of that seal as being active in the location of that deposit and works for both administration and private storage duties. Lastly, it is possible to distinguish the importation of goods, the movement of goods within the fortress, interactions among the Nubian fortresses and communications with the central Egyptian government. Through the use of each avenue of analysis, this dissertation will come to conclusions about the practice of sealing within the administration of the Nubian fortresses of Uronarti and Askut, the people actively sealing objects, and usages of the built environment at each site.