Carl Walsh

Techniques of the body and the transmission of courtly lifestyles in the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean

My project departs from current methodologies examining inter-regional contacts which focus on similarities of visual styles of luxury arts and identifying material correlates of diplomatic gifts in texts. Instead, I have adopted a sociological approach based on the work of the sociologist Norbert Elias, synthesizing a range of archaeological, artistic and written primary sources as evidence for inter-palatial relationships across the eastern Mediterranean and neighbouring regions, ranging from the later Middle Bronze to early Late Bronze Age. Both earlier (third millennium BC) and later (Amarna period) evidence will be used to frame the core structure of the thesis. Material culture relating to elite courtly lifestyles and body culture (games, furniture and cosmetic equipment), artistic sources (palatial frescoes and furniture decoration), and textual material (diplomatic texts and didactic literature) will be examined as a related corpus of material contextualised within the social and spatial arenas of palaces. Such an approach reconsiders the emphasis of this material on the physical context of the reception of ‘outsiders’ and how large static and small portable material can be used in combination with one another to direct human bodies and construct social theatres for the interwoven upper elite priorities of diplomacy, commerce and entertainment.

Funding organisation

  • AHRC


 Educational background

  • BA, Egyptology, University of Cambridge, 2008
  • MA, Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, UCL, 2010

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