(University of Liverpool, School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, United Kingdom)
Outline: This paper discusses the distribution of artefactual and architectural evidence of high-status industries within the city of Amarna in New Kingdom Middle Egypt. The general aim of my study is to establish how products and raw materials were controlled and distributed within the major urban centres of New Kingdom Egypt (c. 1550 – 1070 BC). Using GIS software I am in the progress of analysing the distribution of digitised evidence and interpreting resulting patterns.
Abstract: This paper presents part of my PhD, in which I am researching how products and raw materials were controlled within the boundaries of the major urban centres of the Egyptian New Kingdom (c. 1550 – 1070 BC), namely Memphis, Thebes, Gurob, Amarna and Pi-Ramesse. I am approaching this problem by analysing the distribution of artefactual and architectural evidence of high-status industries within each settlement.
In this paper I am focussing on the well-preserved, relatively well-documented, almost purely single-period site of Amarna, examining in particular the evidence relating to the glass, metal, sculpture, textiles and faience industries.
The prevailing opinion is that high-status goods were under the control of a strict authority and administration, which, in many instances reported to Pharaoh directly. However, my paper will demonstrate that, at least at Amarna, this cannot always have been the case and that production took place on a number of different levels, ranging from the larger, probably centrally controlled workshops to the household-community level.
Using only open source GIS software, such as QGIS and gvSIG, I have produced one vector point for each piece of evidence at Amarna and, with the help of vector and raster basemaps, created one polygon for each house unit. This data now allows me to query the evidence and then calculate artefactual densities and display these on maps. This procedure is still relatively rarely applied in Egyptology, as the archaeological remains often do not permit such analysis.
During the course of this experiment, which is still in progress, I have already observed spatial clusters within the distribution of this evidence, reflecting in particular areas of glass- and metal-working. I have been able to isolate and interpret areas of concentrated industrial activity, emphasizing the fact that control over high-status industries was less tight than previously assumed.
Keywords: Egypt, Industries, Productivity, Distribution, Analysis