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Kinship and Family in Ancient Egypt
Archaeology and Anthropology in Dialogue


  • Date Published: February 2020
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108498777

£ 93.99

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About the Authors
  • In this interdisciplinary study, Leire Olabarria examines ancient Egyptian society through the notion of kinship. Drawing on methods from archaeology and sociocultural anthropology, she provides an emic characterisation of ancient kinship that relies on performative aspects of social interaction. Olabarria uses memorial stelae of the First Intermediate Period and the Middle Kingdom (ca.2150–1650 BCE) as her primary evidence. Contextualising these monuments within their social and physical landscapes, she proposes a dynamic way to explore kin groups through sources that have been considered static. The volume offers three case studies of kin groups at the beginning, peak, and decline of their developmental cycles respectively. They demonstrate how ancient Egyptian evidence can be used for cross-cultural comparison of key anthropological topics, such as group formation, patronage, and rites of passage.

    • Provides examples of inter-disciplinary approaches and cross-cultural comparison for the study of the past
    • Presents kinship as a dynamic process that should be analysed from an emic perspective
    • Outlines a method for the study of ancient Egyptian society through apparently static sources
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… the book … offers a new approach to ancient Egyptian kinship capable of sidestepping some of the limitations that previous studies have encountered, notably the paucity of evidence that makes it difficult to address traditional kinship questions such as marriage rules or the exact delineations of different emic categories of kin groups.' Rune Nyord, Journal of Near Eastern Studies

    '… in-depth application of theories from a range of subject areas … Recommended.' N. Mactague, Choice

    '… this is an interesting and thought provoking study that generates genuinely novel social analyses.' Tom Landvatter, African Archaeological Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108498777
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 260 x 184 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.77kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Ancient Egyptian Kinship in Context:
    1. Introduction: ancient Egyptian kinship between relatedness and material agency
    2. Understanding the sources: dating, characterisation, contextualisation, and display
    3. Setting the terms: etic and emic approaches to ancient Egyptian relatedness
    4. Between the emic and the etic: kin groups in ancient Egypt
    5. Dynamising kin groups
    Part II. On Koinographic Analysis:
    6. The birth of a kin group: from filiation to group formation
    7. The summit of a developmental cycle: non-genealogical relatedness
    8. Displaying decline: survival strategies and marriage patterns
    9. Conclusions: the dynamism of the social fabric.

  • Author

    Leire Olabarria, University of Birmingham
    Leire Olabarria is a Lecturer in Egyptology at the department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology of the University of Birmingham.

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