Tomb Robberies at the End of the New Kingdom: The Fayum Case – the Gurob Burnt Groups Reinterpreted by Valentina Gasperini
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Overview: At the end of the 19th century W.M.F. Petrie excavated a series of assemblages at the New Kingdom Fayum site of Gurob. These deposits, known in the Egyptological literature as ‘Burnt Groups’, were composed by several and varied materials (mainly Egyptian and imported pottery, faience, stone and wood vessels, jewellery), all deliberately burnt and buried in the harem palace area of the settlement. Since their discovery these deposits have been considered peculiar and unparalleled. Many scholars were challenged by them and different theories were formulated to explain these enigmatic ‘Burnt Groups’.
The materials excavated from these assemblages are now curated at several Museum collections across England: Ashmolean Museum, British Museum, Manchester Museum, and Petrie Museum. For the first time since their discovery, this book presents these materials all together. Gasperini has studied and visually analysed all the items. This research sheds new light on the chronology of deposition of these assemblages, additionally a new interpretation of their nature, primary deposition, and function is presented in the conclusive chapter. The current study also gives new information on the abandonment of the Gurob settlement and adds new social perspective on a crucial phase of the ancient Egyptian history: the transition between the late New Kingdom and the early Third Intermediate Period. Beside the traditional archaeological sources, literary evidence (‘The Great Tomb Robberies Papyri’) is taken into account to formulate a new theory on the deposition of these assemblages.
Genre: Non-Fiction > History