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Social Stratification in the Lower Rank of tombs at Beni Hasan - An online ZOOM lecture

Beni HasanDate: Saturday 23rd October 4.00pm
Booking : to book click here
: Dr Sara Orel

The Upper Rank of tombs at Beni Hasan are among the most famous of Middle Kingdom Egyptian provincial tombs.  The tombs in the Lower Rank, excavated a century ago, are generally much less elaborate, simple shafts cut into the bedrock with a small chamber at the bottom, just big enough to hold a coffin and other grave goods.  This presentation uses textual evidence and a comparison of the energy expended in the preparation and equipping of the tombs in both the upper and lower necropoleis to identify relationships and the social rank of those buried here.

Distinctions between the population of the upper and lower sets of tombs are easier to identify than status variations among those buried in the lower cemetery.  Among the lower tombs no clear, discontinuous divisions attributable to status or rank appear, but there are gradations of wealth (indicated by the variety and value of materials used in grave goods) and status (shown through possession of a title).  These variables are not dependent upon each other in the lower necropolis at Beni Hasan, as has been documented at other Egyptian sites of similar date.  The differentiation in energy expended in equipping burials between tombs in this lower set indicates a relatively narrow range of variation among inhabitants.  Those buried in this cemetery are largely members of what has been termed the "middle class" of Egyptian Middle Kingdom society.

Cost: Free forMembers (enter the password in the box that appears when selecting a free members ticket) and £4 Visitors. Click to book

Joining : Use the zoom link emailed to you after booking to join the zoom from 3.45 pm for a 4.00 pm start


Dr Sara Orel

Dr. Orel teaches ancient and non-western Art History as well as courses in Museum Studies. She got her M.A. and Ph.D. in Egyptian Archaeology from the University of Toronto. Her A.B. in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology is from Bryn Mawr College.

Dr. Orel is the former Chair of the Arts and Humanities Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) and remains a councilor for that organization.  She is also a member of the College Art Association, the Missouri Association for Museums and Archives, the Egypt Exploration Society, and the American Research Center in Egypt.

She has participated in National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes/Workshops at the East West Center/University of Hawai'i and at the University of Notre Dame and a Freeman Foundation Japan Studies Association institute at Tokai University/Hawai'i.

Dr. Orel received the Distinguished Research Service Award (2001) and the Allen Fellowship for Faculty Excellence (2008).  Her research specialty is ancient Egyptian pottery and she curated an exhibit of ancient Egyptian ceramics from the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto) in the Truman State University Art Gallery in 2010 as well as shows of Chinese export porcelain of the Qing Dynasty (2012) and Indochinese textiles (2003).  Her current research is preparing the publication of archaeological fieldwork at Gebel el-Haridi in Egypt.  Her most recent publication is the co-edited volume How to Get Started in Arts and Humanities Research with Undergraduates

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