Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation investigates whether or not ceramics can be used to determine ethnicity, demographics, and settlement patterns of Libyans living in Lower Egypt during the Third Intermediate Period (Dynasties 21-24, ca. 1100-713 BCE). As few Libyan ceramics have been found and collated, the ceramic corpora from Mendes, Tanis, and Sais - attested Egyptian centers of Libyan habitation - were compared to the assemblages from Memphis, a city which housed both Libyans and Egyptians, and Tell El-Retaba, a city with no known Libyan settlement. This study first aimed to define a distinct Libyan identity based on textual evidence from Egyptian and Classical authors and from the archaeological evidence that has been found and published in western Egypt and in Libya. Then, these attributes were compared to the changes in the Third Intermediate Period, which occurred in Egypt after the Libyan migration and rise to power. Finally, the ceramic data, including form, fabric, and decoration, from all five sites was compared to test if the Lower Egyptian ceramic corpora also changed due to the Libyan migrations. Analysis of the archaeological material from Libya, the Egyptian and Classical texts, and the geography and climate of Libya provide evidence that the Libyans were most likely semi-nomadic agropastoralists. They may have lived and traveled with their families, and formed a segmentary state tribal society. Surveys in western Egypt and in Libya found locally made ceramics, which should have been visible in the Egyptian archaeological record after the Libyan migration into the Nile Delta. The data show that there is a change in the fabric and form at all of the sites, except for Tell El-Retaba. However, other than the ceramics found at Mendes, surface treatment and decoration vary little on the ceramics found at the other four sites. Based on an examination and comparison of pottery from Mendes, Tanis, Sais, Memphis, and Tell El-Retaba, the ceramics from the Third Intermediate Period cannot be used on their own to determine Libyan ethnicity, demographics, or migration in Egypt.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Mittelman, Rachel Jana, "Ceramics as an Ethnic Identifier: Libyans in the Nile Delta during the Third Intermediate Period" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1016.