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The characterisation of ceramic production from the Central Levant and Egyptian trade in the Pyramid Age

Badreshany, Kamal and Sowada, Karin and Ownby, Mary and Jean, Mathilde and De Vreeze, Michel and McClymont, Alice and Philip, Graham (2022) 'The characterisation of ceramic production from the Central Levant and Egyptian trade in the Pyramid Age.', Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 41 . p. 103309.


A recent petrographic study of ceramic jars from Giza imported into Egypt during the 4th Dynasty of the Pyramid Age (c. 2613–2494 BC) identified the original production zone as the Lebanese coast generally between Beirut and Tripoli, including the region of Byblos. The jars and their contents were imported to Egypt by maritime trade expeditions conducted at the behest of the Egyptian state. This study analyses a selection of these ceramic samples using ICP-AES and -MS for comparison with published data from the region of Byblos. The results not only confirmed the underlying petrography, but together with new evidence from Lebanon suggests the vessels likely belonged to specialised workshop production in the Byblos environs and were made specifically for export to Egypt. The finding sheds new light on the relationship between the Egyptian state and the polity of Byblos in the Early Bronze Age, indicating the presence of standardised local production and commodity procurement mechanisms tailored to the needs of a large trade entity. This relationship in turn delivered significant prestige and status to local elites in an environment of competitive local peer-polity interactions.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 22 December 2022.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© 2021 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:30 November 2021
Date deposited:29 November 2021
Date of first online publication:22 December 2021
Date first made open access:22 December 2022

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