The Western Wadis of the Theban Necropolis St Andrews Archaeology Society May lecture - in person
Piers Litherland, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University and head of the New Kingdom Research Foundation, presents new findings about senior royal women and evidence of climate change in the Western Wadis of the Theban Necroplis. Investigation of the Wadi Bairiya shaft tombs has brought to light a hitherto unknown group of court women of the period of Amenhotep III, including a Great Chief Wife of the King, Nebetnehet, a Son of the King, Menkheperre, a Wife of the King, Henut, a Daughter of the King, Tia, and at least 28 other individuals whose burials were deliberately destroyed in pharaonic times. Further study of the site and its surroundings, and additional work in the Western Wadis and Wadi 300, has produced evidence of a cycle of wetter weather in at least four periods, the most extreme of which was the XVIIIth dynasty (1550-1292 BC). Re-analysis of graffiti has disclosed that the western wadis were filled with water during this time for watching and trapping live falcons. As well as advancing our understanding of this landscape and its development, this wetter weather may account for a marginal expansion in the hunting and gathering constituents in the economy and provide a model for explaining the extraordinary expansion of the economy in the early XVIIIth dynasty and its subsequent contraction through the XIXth and XXth dynasties (1292-1077 BC).
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