Egyptian Periodisation–Object Categories as Historical Signatures

Faience objects from the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology



Recurrence or disappearance of object categories across time can reveal social, internal (regionalism) and transnational (ethnicity) changes; material and ritual transformation; different patterns of cultural transmission; and can help in providing a more detailed periodisation for the Egyptian history.

The aim of EPOCHS project is to provide the basis for new interpretative models of material culture transmission and social transformation in stratified societies, taking as case study Egypt during the Middle to Late Bronze Age (1850-1550 BC) transition, i.e. Late Middle Kingdom-Second Intermediate Period.

EPOCHS will establish a parallel-track categorisation and periodisation of material cultural products in a transition period in Egypt (1850-1550 BC), in order to map primary diagnostic object-types that may be taken as period “signatures” and develop a methodology for comparative historical synthesis in studying processes of cultural change.

The main focus of EPOCHS is to map the objects which can be diagnostic in distinguish different periods of Egyptian history between the time span from Late Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period.

EPOCHS to reconceptualise problems of ideology (focus: history of ideas) in material-cultural products (focus: material and object-based analysis), through the relation between archaeological context and ritual practice (keyword: performance); this phase will produce a new historical synthesis of results.

Gianluca Miniaci working on the EPOCHS projectGianluca Miniaci working on the EPOCHS project

Related outputs

  • La Niece, Guerra, Miniaci, “Analytical study of the first royal Egyptian heart-scarab, attributed to a Seventeenth Dynasty king, Sobekemsaf” in British Museum Technical Research Bulletin Volume 7 (2013), in press
  • Miniaci, “The collapse of faience figurine production in the Late Bronze Age: reading the history of Ancient Egypt between Postmodernism and Grand Narratives” in Journal of Egyptian History (forthcoming)
  • Miniaci, “EPOCHS project and late Middle Kingdom figurines in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology”, in Göttinger Miszellen (forthcoming)
Conferences and talks
  • Informal discussion event on Beyond Nature and Culture in Ancient Egypt? at the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology on 18 October 2013. Further details are available here»
  • 14 November 2012: “Beyond the Grand Narratives: the collapse of faience figurine productions in Second Intermediate Period Egypt” in ‘Egyptian World’ seminar series at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 19 April 2013: “A cultural collateral “sacrifice”: the faience figurines and the transition from one epoch to another”, Cincinnati USA


EU Marie Curie Actions

Project Leader:

Project Partners:

  • UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
  • Department of Conservation and Scientific Research at the British Museum
  • Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France-Palais du Louvre - Paris
  • Università di Pisa


Further information:

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