Institute of Archaeology


Tian Tian

Decline of grave goods in 3rd millennium BC Egypt


Email: tian.tian.14@ucl.ac.uk
Section: World Archaeology


Decline of grave goods in 3rd millennium BC Egypt

The research is focused on the decline of grave goods from the beginning of the Old Kingdom and the motivation behind such phenomenon. Currently there are three major research questions to be answered:

1) how have excavators coped with and interpreted the Old Kingdom burial that have little grave goods and to what extent has the decline of the grave goods been explained for ancient Egypt? In terms of funerary archaeology, what theories have been laid out to cope with this phenomenon;

2) to what extent could the decline of the grave goods be detected and demonstrated? Publications about ancient Egyptian funerary culture have mentioned the reduction in grave goods during the Old Kingdom in general terms, but the evidence and demonstration is not detailed. In answering this question, this vague impression will be clarified and demonstrate with detailed evidence. From comparative funerary archaeology, I plan to identify and apply diverse models to estimate the quantity and quality of the grave good will be found.

3) what are the motivations behind the decline of the grave goods? The motivations for putting objects into burials are generally explained as a way to ensure the survival of the afterlife in ancient Egypt. However a decline in quantity and/or quality goes against this homogeneous notion and challenges a traditional social approach to the funerary evidence that grave goods reflect social status and structure. In this area, my research is dedicated to specifying factors that may cause the decline of the grave goods.

The major material for the research is the tomb cards of 483 unpublished and undated burials from Petrie's excavation in Tarkhan--Kafr Ammar in 1912. Burials from other parts of Egypt will be examined in comparison.


China Scholarship Council


    BA History, Beijing Normal University, 2009,

    MA Ancient History, Department of History, UCL, 2015