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Irish, Joel David

Grant Type
Post-Ph.D. Research Grant
Insitutional Affiliation
Alaska, Fairbanks, U. of
Completed Grant
Approve Date
Project Title
Irish, Dr. Joel David, U. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK - To aid research on 'Nubians in Ancient Egypt: Excavation of the C-Group Cemetery at Hierakonpolis'

DR. JOEL DAVID IRISH, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Nubians in Ancient Egypt: Excavation of the C-Group Cemetery at Hierakonpolis. A Nubian C-Group cemetery was excavated at the site of Hierakonpolis (HK), near Edfu, Egypt. Its location represents the farthest-north occurrence of this culture -- once thought limited to lands south of the Nile River's 1st Cataract. Remains of 80 individuals, funerary architecture, pottery, leather garments, and jewelry, all dating from the Egyptian First Intermediate Period/11th Dynasty into the 13th Dynasty (c. 2080/1975 to 1700BC), were investigated. These finds indicate that the inhabitants proudly displayed their Nubian heritage at HK for multiple generations. Analyses suggest that the individuals: 1) engaged in generalized activity(ies), perhaps related to labor, sport, or entertainment, 2) enjoyed good skeletal health like other contemporary groups, 3) had a similar diet to their Egyptian counterparts, 4) exhibit, based on craniodental comparisons to several regional samples, a Nubian affinity -- although they are also proximate to some Egyptians including a contemporary sample from Thebes, and 5) demonstrate increasing 'Egyptianization,' at least culturally, through time. Although the study is ongoing, it is tentatively hypothesized that their contribution(s) to the HK Egyptian community (e.g., hunters, herdsmen, entertainers or perhaps, based on the evidence, leatherworkers, etc.) benefited by maintaining a Nubian identity in the face of a dominant imperial power.