Find out about our research into ancient Egyptian culture, history and society.
Egyptology research at Manchester is innovative and highly diverse, characterised by several themes:
- Amarna Period royal ideology;
- Ancient Egyptian ceramics and ceramic analysis;
- New Kingdom and Late Period material culture;
- the reception of ancient Egypt from the Medieval Period to modern times;
- the role of women in ancient Egypt.
- Flies, Lions and Oyster Shells: Investigating Military Awards in Ancient Egypt
Two Egyptian soldiers recorded receiving golden flies from the king in their tombs. As a result, fly-shaped pendants of all materials from ancient Egypt have been interpreted by historians as military awards. However, these flies are frequently found in burials of women and children, who would not normally be associated with military activity in ancient Egypt. To understand the function and roles of flies in ancient Egypt, this research focuses on analysing the forms of flies in archaeological, iconographic and textual sources and interpreting their functions through examining their context. As gold lion-shaped pendants and inscribed oyster shells have also been interpreted as military awards by historians and are also found in the burials of women and children, they form useful comparators. Their forms and functions will also be analysed and compared to that of flies to understand if any of these objects operated as military awards in ancient Egypt.
- Women, Agency, Politics and Power during the Late Bronze Age: An Examination of Women in Diplomatic Correspondence between Egypt and the wider Eastern Mediterranean region (c.1550 BCE - 1190 BCE)
Foreign diplomatic correspondence has been well-documented during the Late Bronze Age between Egypt and the wider Eastern Mediterranean cultures. Previous research has focused on diplomacy as a patriarchal system of power; however, gender and feminist archaeology suggests a new wave of analysis to identify the presence of women in this power hierarchy. The 14thCentury BCE Amarna Letter EA 26 testifies to the inclusion of women in diplomatic affairs by recording the Mittani king’s address to an Egyptian queen asking for assistance when his request to the Egyptian king was not fulfilled. Diplomatic texts, including over 350 Amarna Letters and the Ugarit texts archives, record communications involving royal women and attests to the presence of women in the political sphere. Content analysis will be carried out on documents from the Late Bronze Age between 1550 BCE-1190 BCE drawing together texts from diplomatic, military, elite and royal correspondence. Social context will be considered utilising the gathered corpus to identify individual women, their roles, power and agency which will aid in defining social structures and redefining an ancient hierarchy of power inclusive of women.
The Tell Nabasha Survey Project (originally based at the University of Liverpool) was instigated by Dr Nicky Nielsen (University of Manchester) and Dr Valentina Gasperini (British Museum) in 2014 following a visit to the site of Tell Nabasha which showed evidence of damage and illicit excavation.
The first field season was conducted in the autumn of 2015 during which time the team excavated Late Period and Ptolemaic structures, conducted a topographic survey of the eastern tell and photographically documented the remains of the Shrine of Amasis II on the site’s western edge.
Further work under the aegis of this project has included the 2016 remote sensing survey which revealed several areas of further archaeological interest, as well as the on-going recording and publication of the material found at Tell Nabasha by Flinders Petrie in 1886 in the British Museum collections.