Anth 311 Lecture 1: Introduction
Anth 311 Lecture 1: Introduction Anth 311
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Popular in Ancient Egypt
Popular in anthropology, evolution, sphr
This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hallie Notetaker on Sunday January 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Anth 311 at Minnesota State University - Mankato taught by Dr. Ron Schirmer in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 50 views. For similar materials see Ancient Egypt in anthropology, evolution, sphr at Minnesota State University - Mankato.
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Date Created: 01/24/16
1/13/16 Lecture 1: Introduction The Eternal Lands Interest in Ancient Egypt has existed even since Egypt was ancient o By 1000 BC, Egyptians were fascinated by their own history stretching back more than 3000 more years o Records of visits by Mesopotamian and Mediterranean Kings and dignitaries to the ancient sites Monumental structures, statuary, other objects and artistic carvings inspired awe o Hieroglyphics depended the mystery The rise of Western culture and particularly the disciplines of science and history latched on to that mystery o They knew that hieroglyphics were written language but it was long dead and indecipherable Temples closed and religion forbidden in AD 380s by Theodosius Rosetta Stone Now used as trademark for a language learning program Also widely used as a phrase meaning, “key to breakthrough in understanding” Where did it come from? Abundant carvings on buildings were one thing, but there were also many preserved papyri, ostraca, etc. o Note: many papyri are also palimpsests (reused paper) and that complicates things Large fragment of a decree written in 196 BC by Ptolemy V o Three versions of the law One in hieroglyphics One in Demotic One in Ancient Greek Found used as construction fill in an Ottoman fort occupied by the French in 1799 o Taken by the British to London in 1802 Greek translated first, then Demotic, then Hieroglyphic o Champollion 1822 Did not solve everything, but finally opened a door that had been closed for 1000 years o Other similar bi- or tri-lingual stones exist Stone of Canopus, Stele of Memphis Received Time Most detailed history written by Manetho, c. 350 BC o Used existing “King lists” – most of which are lost o Contains omissions based on where he researched – the delta area (southern kings are missing in intermediate periods) o An earlier one, the Turin King list, is earlier, but stops earlier, too Developed concept of “dynasty” o Groups of rulers with some relationship o Based on convenient breaks Geography – changing capitols Genealogy – more successive authority than consanguineality o No existing original copies o Period was full of “historians” who wrote polemics and tried to contradict each other History vs. Reality King lists (and Manetho’s work) were political o Used to legitimize reigns o Eliminated contests or anything that would cast doubt on authority E.g. List in Seti I’s list at Abydos, which eliminated his great grandmother and much of the family Competing King lists and recent scholarship show much less unity than previously thought o Some even visible in Manetho (changing capitols), although minimized Manetho’s Legacy Overemphasis on: o Centralized, legitimate authority o Short term trends Under emphasis on: o Regionalization o Long term trends Environment Economy Material culture Still the single most complete period record that remains a building block Beyond King Lists Chronology o Relative Stratigraphy and serration o Absolute calendars and astronomical observations o Experimental Radiocarbon and TL Some conflicts between absolute and experimental o Error ranges are larger in the latter o But dates in the former can have been altered during their production Particularly troublesome for Predynastic Period o Not many artifacts, and unclear how to interpret them Issue of actual versus ritual event – did it happen? Palermo Stone C. 2400 BC Annals of kings stretching back to gods Shows preoccupation with tracking direct line of supernatural descendants Parts of it in different museums, most never found Important bit of economic information o Year-registers on stone organized by biennial cattle censi and Nile floods o Events recorded include rituals, taxation system, sculptures, buildings, wars… Everything a King should do Calendars and Kings Calendars were relative to reigns o Hence recorded as seasons, etc., since beginning of rule o Made problematic by co-regencies Each new reign was literally and figuratively a new beginning o Required new telling, recasting, etc., of all of history o History itself was what conveyed authority; if you could trace it, it was real Kings held several names, referring to different important parts of history or responsibility o Specific names used in different contexts, many names lost or unattributable o Called a titulary Grounded in the Stars Traditional reconstructions of succession relied on textual references Problem when there are multiple, competing reigns (I.e. Intermediate periods) Astronomical observations of Sirius (Sopdet to the Egyptians) tie things together o Cycles of Sirius risings recorded on several documents o Cycle known today to be 1456 years o Hence, documented risings serve as calibration points for other references Other Considerations Despite centrality of King, many other parts of Egyptian life changed at different pace Requires us to keep an uneasy balance between recognizing importance of central political system and independent economic and material forces
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