Grazia A. Di Pietro

  • Laurea in lettere, PhD
  • Marie Curie Research Fellow

Research Interests

  • Development of complex societies
  • State formation process
  • Material culture of early Egypt
  • Ancient Egyptian ceramics
  • Settlement archaeology of the Nile Valley

Current Research 

Comparative Archaeological Study of Egyptian Predynastic Settlements (CASEPS)

Over the last 40 years, archaeological investigations in Egypt have produced a considerable amount of new data about the formative stage of ancient Egyptian civilization, known as the Predynastic (c. IV millennium BC).  Nevertheless, several key issues still remain obscure, foremost among them being the factors influencing the formation of the unified Egyptian state, one of the first nation states in the world. Evidence for this topic has until recently been heavily dependent on mortuary data, thus hindering progress on crucial questions revolving around e.g. the dynamics of interaction between different cultural spheres extant in Egypt in this period and how the process of state formation influenced the life of the inhabitants of the Nile Valley.

Within the broad aim of furthering our understanding of the organization, dynamics of interaction and change within Predynastic society, specific objectives of the present project are exploring artefact variability, artefact patterning and, where possible, intrasite spatial organization of Predynastic settlement sites, with the aid of quantitative, statistical and spatial analyses. Findings from these analyses will be further tested against models of organization and evolution currently applied to Egyptian Predynastic society, as well as models of social organization, interaction and change developed in archaeology, anthropology and in the social sciences, from regions outside of Egypt.

Research project supervisor: David Wengrow

Research Projects / Collaborations

  • 2011 - 2012: Examination and study of the ceramic assemblage from the archaeological investigations conducted by Michael A. Hoffman in 1969 and 1984 within the Dynastic town of Nekhen, Hierakonpolis (Egypt). This ceramic collection represents the only uninterrupted stratigraphic sequence of Predynastic and Early Dynastic age (i.e. the stage of state formation in Egypt), ever found on a major 'town' site in Upper Egypt. It is an unparalleled source of information for this crucial period of Egyptian history. 

    Funded by a grant of the "Michela Schiff Giorgini's Foundation" of the United States.

  • 2009 - present: team member of the Hierakonpolis Expedition (director and primary investigator: Dr. Renee F. Friedman, British Museum).

Educational Background

  • 2011: PhD in Africanistica (African Studies / Archaeology and Prehistory of Africa), University of Naples "L'Orientale", Italy.

Thesis title: "Il ruolo di Naqada nella tarda preistoria egiziana e nel processo di formazione dello stato nell'antico Egitto" (The role of Naqada in the late Egyptian prehistory and in the formation process of the ancient Egyptian state)

Supervisor: Prof. Rodolfo Fattovich, University of Naples "L'Orientale", Italy. 

  • 2005: Laurea in lettere (Classical humanities and archaeology), cum laude, University of Naples "L'Orientale", Italy.

Thesis title: "Il modello insediativo egiziano tra Predinastico e Antico Regno" (The Egyptian settlement pattern between Predynastic and Ancient Kingdom)

First supervisor: Prof. Rosanna Pirelli, University of Naples "L'Orientale", Italy. 


  • In prep: G. A. Di Pietro, R. Fattovich, R. Pirelli, M. Tosi, Naqada in the context of state formation process in ancient Egypt. Università degli Studi di Napoli "L'Orientale", Napoli.


  • In prep: G. A. Di Pietro, "Administration in Predynastic Egypt. Some reflections based on the evidence from Naqada".
  • In press: G. A. Di Pietro, "Upper Egyptian Pre- / Proto-dynastic settlement ceramics. The assemblage from Petrie's 'South Town' at Naqada", in B. Bader, C. M. Knoblauch, E. C. Köhler (eds.), Vienna 2 - Ancient Egyptian Ceramics in the 21st Century. Proceedings of the International Conference held at the University of Vienna 14th-18th of May, 2012, OLA, Leuven: Peeters.
  • In press: G. A. Di Pietro, "Studio dei materiali ceramici dal sondaggio stratigrafico condotto da Michael A. Hoffman (1984) nell'abitato di Nekhen, Hierakonpolis, Alto Egitto", in R. Pirelli (ed.), Ricerche Italiane e Scavi in Egitto, Vol. VI, Centro Archeologico Italiano, Cairo.
  • 2012: G. A. Di Pietro, "Nekhen 10N5W Revisited: Charting Ceramic Changes", Nekhen News 24, pp. 13-14.
  • 2011: G. A. Di Pietro, "Miscellaneous artefacts from Zawaydah (Petrie's South Town)", in R. F. Friedman & P. Fiske (eds.), Egypt at its Origins 3. Proceedings of the Third International Conference "Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt" London, 27th July -1st August 2008. OLA 205. Leuven / Paris / Dudley: Peeters, pp. 59-79.
  • 2011: G. A. Di Pietro, "Models from Predynastic daily life. A view from Naqada", in M. Horn et al. (eds.), Current Research in Egyptology 2010. Proceedings of the eleventh annual symposium which took place at Leiden University, The Netherlands, 5-8 January 2010. Oxford: Oxbow, pp. 42-52.
  • 2010: G. A. Di Pietro, "Documentazione e studio dei materiali dalle indagini archeologiche della Missione I.U.O. (1977-1986) a Zawaydah (Naqada, Alto Egitto). Seconda e terza stagione", in R. Pirelli (ed.), Ricerche Italiane e Scavi in Egitto, Vol. IV, Centro Archeologico Italiano, Cairo, 2010, pp. 111-120.
  • 2009: G. A. Di Pietro, "Documentazione e studio dei materiali dalle indagini archeologiche della Missione IUO (1977-1986) a Zawaydah (Naqada, Alto Egitto)", in R. Pirelli (ed.), Ricerche Italiane e Scavi in Egitto, Vol. III, Centro Archeologico Italiano, Cairo, 2009, pp. 63-69, tavv. I-III.
  • 2007: G. A. Di Pietro, " 'Kleinfunde' from the Italian Excavations at Zawaydah (Petrie's South Town)", in H. Hanna (ed.), The International Conference on Heritage of Naqada and Qus region. Monastery of the Archangel Michael, Naqada, Egypt 22-28 January 2007. Preprints Vol. I. Cairo, pp. 79-87.

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