Tuesday, May 2, 2023

A Sign of the Times: Administration, Agency of officials and Monumental architecture in Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt

Watt, Kimberley 
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This dissertation explores the state in Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt through the lens of administration and its officials. Due to the abstract nature of the state, it is studied through its manifestations and actions, as defined by anthropologists Sharma and Gupta (2006). The management of the state is made tangible by the administrative apparatus and the everyday activities of its official representatives, while its power is materialised to a great extent by the physical manifestations of monumental projects. This study examines whether the state’s authority is decentralised among its officials, the state’s proxies, and whether they use their own agency to exert control over the landscape, the resources, and the people.

The Eighteenth Dynasty’s administration has been less widely studied as a whole than the later dynasties of the New Kingdom, which have far richer administrative documentation preserved. To compensate for this information gap, prosopographies and a range of evidence drawn from various sites have been incorporated into this research. By re-evaluating existing sources, an examination independent of the later dynasties has been carried out through a close examination of officials. Those focused on were in charge of the administration of the construction of monumental projects, starting with the Overseers of works, and including Overseers of buildings, Overseers of sealed items, and King’s sons of Kush, as well as individuals involved in the acquisition processes of human and material resources. Their respective duties have been identified within their historical context. These officials operated within networks of other individuals, which collaboratively enabled the production of monumental architecture, as well as the running of the Egyptian administration.

The evidence from this thesis points to the management of construction projects and of the acquisition of resources as materialising the commands of the state, while being bound to the concept of authority of the officials themselves. This detailed study highlights the workings of the relationships within the government in Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt, relying on networks of scribes and managerial positions, the latter acting as representatives of the king and the state.

Papazian, Hratch
Egypt, Eighteenth dynasty, New Kingdom, Agency, Administration, Government officials, State, Ancient State, Monumental architecture
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge
Fondation de la Vocation Thomas Mulvey Egyptology Fund Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge



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