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International Conference
Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt

(Cracow, Poland: 28th August - 1st September 2002)
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Aspects of the Analysis of a Cemetery


Ägyptisches Museum, Berlin (Germany)


After having excavated the cemetery of Minshat Abu Omar from 1978-1990, a wealth of material remained to be analysed. The advantage of having excavated most of the cemetery, in contrast with other sites investigated in the past and at present, where mostly parts of cemeteries were excavated, is obvious. Another advantage at MAO is that anthropologists where present throughout the excavations and first analysis were made on the spot. This again stands in contrast to many excavations where anthropologists were/are not present or only occasionally present, an estimate of the sex or age being made by none professionals.

Sample taking was able to be undertaken under controlled conditions so that material for analysis, for example animal bones, plant remains and C 14 samples are available and can be used for analysis and research pertaining to various aspect of the cemetery population.

Some of the negative aspects in the analysis and evaluation of MAO cemetery, be it statistical or social, lies in the geological and geographical position of the site. The human remains and the other samples have been affected by rising and sinking Nile floods and groundwater; the gezira hill, although seeming to consist of dry gravels and sand, contains a very high amount of salts and humidity.

This presentation will try to evaluate the realistic possibilities and limits of the analyses of the MAO cemetery.


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