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Diachronic perspectives on a royal necropolis: identity, agency, and interaction

English title Diachronic perspectives on a royal necropolis: identity, agency, and interaction
Applicant Bickel Susanne
Number 156046
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Ägyptologisches Seminar Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Archaeology
Start/End 01.03.2015 - 28.02.2019
Approved amount 789'249.00
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Keywords (14)

Archaeology; Ancient Egypt; Valley of the Kings; Egyptology; Anthropology; mummification; burial goods; burial customs; funerary architecture; Pharaonic court; social identity; tomb robberies; agency; diachrony

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Das bisher unerforschte Grab KV 40 im Tal der Könige bei Luxor, Oberägypten, enthält die Überreste von ca. 50 mumifizierten Individuen sowie mehrere hundert Fragmente ihrer Grabausstattungen. Das zu analysierende Grabinventar stammt aus zwei verschiedenen Epochen (14. und 9. Jh. v. Chr.) und zwei unterschiedlichen sozialen Milieus (Königshof und lokale Priesterschaft). Im Zuge antiker und moderner Beraubungen wurden ausgesuchte Teile der Grabausstattung entfernt sowie die verbliebenen Objekte und Mumien stark fragmentiert.
Lay summary

Die interdisziplinäre Analyse wird die komplexe Befundsituation von KV 40 aufarbeiten. Die Bestattungssitten der einzelnen Nutzungsphasen werden kontextualisiert und diachron untersucht. Eine Leitfrage ist dabei, inwieweit sich am überlieferten Material die ursprüngliche agentivische Interaktion mit Objekten und Räumen sowie Vergangenheitsbezüge ablesen lassen.

In seiner ursprünglichen Belegung wurde das Grab von mindestens 30 Personen aus der Königsfamilie der 18. Dynastie genutzt. Die Analyse der Mumien und der Objektfragmente soll zur Rekonstruktion ihrer individuellen und sozialen Identität sowie ihrer Grabausstattung beitragen. Die Phase der Beraubung während der 20./21. Dynastie soll in Bezug auf ihre Motivationen und ihr Ausmass eingeordnet werden. Die Nachnutzung durch 15-20 Individuen der 22. Dynastie soll als gezielte Integration von Vergangenheit und Ausdruck von Erinnerungsstrategien untersucht werden.

Es handelt sich bei diesem Projekt um die erste eingehende Untersuchung einer nicht für Pharaonen angelegten Grabstätte im Tal der Könige. Der hier verfolgte methodische Ansatz nimmt die gesamte Nutzungsgeschichte des Tals während einer Zeitspanne von ca. 500 Jahren in den Blick und untersucht sowohl jede einzelne Nutzungsphase als auch die Zusammenhänge der verschiedenen Interventionen und den Umgang mit der jeweils vorgefundenen Situation. Die medizinisch-anthropologische Untersuchung erlaubt erstmals nicht nur Individuen, sondern zwei in sich kohärente, in Geschlecht und Alter gemischte Gesellschaftsgruppen sowohl synchron als auch diachron zu analysieren. Der agentivische Zugang wird drei unterschiedliche soziale Gruppen in ihrer spezifischen Objekt- und Raum-bezogenen Dynamik näher erfassen und in ihrem historischen Kontext verorten. Es wird sich dadurch eine neue, multifaktorielle und diachrone Perspektive auf die Nekropole des Tals der Könige eröffnen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 20.10.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
New results on the manufacture and durability of cartonnage: experimental archaeology as a method to understand the history of 22nd Dynasty cartonnage cases from KV40 (Thebes, Egypt)
Hunkeler Charlotte (2021), New results on the manufacture and durability of cartonnage: experimental archaeology as a method to understand the history of 22nd Dynasty cartonnage cases from KV40 (Thebes, Egypt), in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 36, 102836-102836.
Retrieving the king’s treasure – reburying the king’s body: Contexts of 21st Dynasty activities in the Valley of the Kings
BickelSusanne (2020), Retrieving the king’s treasure – reburying the king’s body: Contexts of 21st Dynasty activities in the Valley of the Kings, in Amenta Alessia, Sousa Rogério , Cooney Kathlyn M. (ed.), L'Erma di Bretschneider, Rom/Bristol, 69-79.
Retrieving the king’s treasure – reburying the king’s body: Contexts of 21st Dynasty activities in the Valley of the Kings
BickelSusanne (2020), Retrieving the king’s treasure – reburying the king’s body: Contexts of 21st Dynasty activities in the Valley of the Kings, in Bab el-Gasus in Context. Rediscovering the Tomb of the Priests of Amun, L'Erma di Bretschneider, Rome, Bristol.
Multidisciplinary studies of heavily fragmented and commingled ancient Egyptian human remains found in KV 40 (Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt): A pragmatic workflow and first results
Meyer Sabrina, Frater Nakita, Seiler Roger, Bickel Susanne, Böni Thomas, Eppenberger Patrick, Rühli Frank (2020), Multidisciplinary studies of heavily fragmented and commingled ancient Egyptian human remains found in KV 40 (Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt): A pragmatic workflow and first results, in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 29, 102069-102069.
Ein gläserner Krateriskos aus dem Tal der Könige
Gamma Claudia, Schlick-Nolte Birgit (2019), Ein gläserner Krateriskos aus dem Tal der Könige, in Antike Kunst, 62, 3-13.
Mummified proportionate dwarfs from the Valley of the Kings
Meyer Sabrina, Galassi Francesco, Böni Thomas, Seiler Roger, Bickel Susanne, Ruehli Frank (2019), Mummified proportionate dwarfs from the Valley of the Kings, in The Lancet: Diabetes - Endocrinology, 7, 173-175.
Noble Burials? Notes on the Use of Black Coffins in KV40.
Münch Hans-Hubertus (2018), Noble Burials? Notes on the Use of Black Coffins in KV40., in Dawson Julie, Strudwick Helen (ed.), Oxbow, Oxford, 52-57.
KV 64. An intact 22nd dynasty burial in the Valley of the Kings. Preliminary description
Bickel Susanne (2017), KV 64. An intact 22nd dynasty burial in the Valley of the Kings. Preliminary description, in Proceedings of the First Vatican Coffin Conference I, 83-88, Edizioni Musei Vaticani, Cità del Vaticano83-88.
La Valle delle Regine durante l’Epoca dei Thutmosidi: alcune osservazioni sull’identità sociale dei suoi ‘ospiti’
Casini Emanuele (2017), La Valle delle Regine durante l’Epoca dei Thutmosidi: alcune osservazioni sull’identità sociale dei suoi ‘ospiti’, in Egitto e Vicino Oriente , 40, 19-37.
Les tombes non-décorées de la Vallée des Rois : perspectives sociales et historiques
Bickel Susanne (2017), Les tombes non-décorées de la Vallée des Rois : perspectives sociales et historiques, in Bulletin de la Société Française d'Egyptologie, (197), 12-28.
The Valley of the Queens: some remarks on the social identity in an 18th Dynasty necropolis
CasiniEmanuele (2017), The Valley of the Queens: some remarks on the social identity in an 18th Dynasty necropolis, in Current Research in Egyptology 2017. Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Symposium, NaplesArchaeopress, Oxford.
Konstruktion und Praxis einer Sakrallandschaft: das Beispiel Tal der Könige
Bickel Susanne (2016), Konstruktion und Praxis einer Sakrallandschaft: das Beispiel Tal der Könige, in Beck Susanne, Backes Burkhard, Liao I-Ting, Simon Henrike, Verbovsek Alexandra (ed.), Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 11-26.
Other tombs: queens and commoners in KV
Bickel Susanne (2016), Other tombs: queens and commoners in KV, in Wilkinson Richard H. & Weeks Kent R. (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 230-242.
Remarks on ancient Egyptian cartonnage mummy masks from the Late Old Kingdom to the end of the New Kingdom
CasiniEmanuele (2016), Remarks on ancient Egyptian cartonnage mummy masks from the Late Old Kingdom to the end of the New Kingdom, in Current Research in Egyptology 2016. Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Symposium, Jagiellonian U, KrakowOxbow, Oxford.
Volti eterni, guide nell’aldilà:
alcune osservazioni sulle maschere funerarie ritrovate nella tomba di Sennedjem a Deir el-Medina
CasiniEmanuele (2016), Volti eterni, guide nell’aldilà:
alcune osservazioni sulle maschere funerarie ritrovate nella tomba di Sennedjem a Deir el-Medina, in Egitto e Vicino Oriente, 39, 91-106.
Das Grab KV 40 im Tal der Könige. Eine Familiengruft Amenophis’ III.
Bickel Susanne (2015), Das Grab KV 40 im Tal der Könige. Eine Familiengruft Amenophis’ III., in Sokar, Geschichte & Archäologie Altägyptens, 78-89.
New Ancient Egyptian Human Mummies from the Valley of the Kings, Luxor: Anthropological, Radiological, and Egyptological Investigations
Rühli Frank, Ikram Salima, Bickel Susanne (2015), New Ancient Egyptian Human Mummies from the Valley of the Kings, Luxor: Anthropological, Radiological, and Egyptological Investigations, in BioMed Research International , 1-8.
Prinsessen, plunderaars en priesters. Nieuwe onderzoeken naar de niet-koninklijke graven in het Dal der Koningen
Bickel Susanne (2015), Prinsessen, plunderaars en priesters. Nieuwe onderzoeken naar de niet-koninklijke graven in het Dal der Koningen, in Koek Jan (ed.), Mehen Studienzentrum voor het oude Egypte, Bunnik, 160-175.
Broken Dreams of Eternity: Third Intermediate Period Coffins and Cartonnages from KV40
Hunkeler Charlotte, Münch Hans-Hubertus, Broken Dreams of Eternity: Third Intermediate Period Coffins and Cartonnages from KV40, in Proccedings of the Second Vatican Coffin Conference, Musei Vaticani, Rome.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Abegg-Foundation Riggisberg Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Zurich, Institute for Plant Biology, (Dr. Christiane Jacquat) Switzerland (Europe)
- Publication
Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale Egypt (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
American University of Cairo (Prof. Dr. Salima Ikram) Egypt (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Zurich, Centre for Evolutionary Medicine, (Prof. Dr. Frank Rühli) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Austrian Academy of Sciences (Dr. David Aston) Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
ETH, Department of Earth Sciences Engineering Geology Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Ägyptologie-Forum Zürich Individual talk Prinzen und Prinzessinnen: KV40 in der 18. Dynastie 25.10.2018 Zürich, Switzerland Münch Hans-Hubertus;
Essex Egyptology Group Individual talk New Research in the Kings’ Valley. Tombs for the Family of Amenhotep III. 08.04.2018 Witham, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Bickel Susanne;
Antikenmuseum Basel Individual talk Könige, Prinzessinnen und Räuber im Tal der Könige: laufende Untersuchungen der Universität Basel 22.03.2018 Basel, Switzerland Bickel Susanne;
Cercle dauphinoise d’égyptologie, journée d'études Individual talk La Vallée des Rois: recherches en cours, University of Basel Kings’ Valley Project 10.07.2017 Grenoble, France Bickel Susanne;
Second Vatican Coffin Conference Talk given at a conference Broken dreams of eternity: TIP coffins and cartonnages from KV40 08.06.2017 Rome, Italy Münch Hans-Hubertus; Hunkeler Charlotte;
Università di Pisa Individual talk Use concepts of the mid-18th dynasty Kings’ Valley: social and topographical questions 16.03.2017 Pisa, Italy Bickel Susanne;
Société française d’égyptologie Talk given at a conference Les tombes non-royales à la Vallée des Rois: perspectives sociales et historiques 25.02.2017 Paris, France Bickel Susanne;
Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Orientalische Altertumswissenschaft Talk given at a conference University of Basel Kings’ Valley Project, Ziele und Stand der Forschung 10.12.2016 Basel, Switzerland Bickel Susanne; Adrom Faried; Münch Hans-Hubertus;
Naturforschende Gesellschaft Schaffhausen Individual talk Archäologische Forschungen im Tal der Könige 05.12.2016 Schaffhausen, Switzerland Bickel Susanne;
Bab el-Gasus in Context. Egyptian funerary culture during the 21st Dynasty Talk given at a conference RetrievRetrieving the king’s treasure – reburying the king’s body. Contexts of 21st Dynasty activities in the Kings’ Valley 19.09.2016 Lisbon, Portugal Bickel Susanne;
Sussex Egyptological Society Individual talk The University of Basel Kings' Valley Project 25.06.2016 Horsham, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Bickel Susanne;
University of Liverpool Egyptological Seminar Individual talk The entourage of Amenhotep III new results from KV 40 24.05.2016 Liverpool, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Bickel Susanne;
Amelia Edwards Lecture in Egyptology Individual talk Pharaohs, princesses, priests and robbers -  recent research in the Valley of the Kings 05.05.2016 Bristol, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Bickel Susanne;
Ancient Egyptian Coffins: Past - Present – Future Talk given at a conference High class coffins? Some remarks on the black coffins of the 18th Dynasty from KV40 08.04.2016 Cambridge, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Münch Hans-Hubertus;
Egyptological doctoral Seminar Talk given at a conference The entourage of Amenhotep III 01.04.2016 Copenhagen, Denmark Bickel Susanne;
Danish Egyptological Society Individual talk Princesses, Robbers, and Priests. The unknown side of the Kings’ Valley 31.03.2016 Copenhagen, Denmark Bickel Susanne;
Basler Forum für Ägyptologie Individual talk Pharaos Familiengruft? Basler Forschungen im Tal der Könige 22.10.2015 Universität Basel, Switzerland Bickel Susanne;
Museo Egizio, Turin Individual talk Princesses, Robbers, and Priests. The unknown side of the Kings’ Valley 14.10.2015 Turin, Italy Bickel Susanne;
XIth International Conference of Egyptologists Talk given at a conference Displaced – Removed – Drifted: The Making of the Archaeological Record of KV 40 27.08.2015 Florence, Italy Münch Hans-Hubertus;
XIth International Congress of Egyptologist Talk given at a conference The Royal Family in the Kings’ Valley 26.08.2015 Florence, Italy Bickel Susanne;
Egyptology Society of Victoria Talk given at a conference The Third Intermediate Period in the Kings’ Valley 15.08.2015 Melbourne, Monash University, Australia Bickel Susanne;
Egyptology Society of Victoria Talk given at a conference KV 40 and the burials of members of the 18th Dynasty royal family 15.08.2015 Melbourne, Monash University, Australia Bickel Susanne;
Australian Centre for Egyptology Conference Talk given at a conference KV 40 and the burials of members of the 18th Dynasty royal family 15.08.2015 Sydney, Macquarie University, Australia Bickel Susanne;
Australien Center for Egyptology Conference Talk given at a conference The Third Intermediate Period in the Kings’ Valley 08.08.2015 Sydney, Maquarie University, Australia Bickel Susanne;
Ancient Egypt Society of West Australia Individual talk Royal Family, Robbers, and Priest. New Research in the Valley of the Kings 01.08.2015 Perth, Australia Bickel Susanne;
Universität Heidelberg, Ägyptologisches Institut Individual talk Nicht-königliche Gräber im Tal der Könige 25.06.2015 Heidelberg, Germany Bickel Susanne;
Universität Leipzig. 26. Siegfried Morenz Gedenkvorlesung Talk given at a conference Prinzessinnen, Räuber, Priester: Zur diachronen Nutzung des Tals der Könige 11.06.2015 Leipzig, Germany Bickel Susanne;
Study Day Royal Families of the New Kingdom Talk given at a conference The sociology of court societies: how well do our data fit the theory? 09.05.2015 University of Basel, Switzerland Münch Hans-Hubertus;
Study Day Royal Families of the New Kingdom Talk given at a conference The entourage of Amenhotep III. New results from KV 40 09.05.2015 University of Basel, Switzerland Bickel Susanne;
Universität Mainz Individual talk Die Königsfamilie im Tal der Könige neue Erkenntnisse in Grab KV 40 06.05.2015 Mainz, Germany Bickel Susanne;
Mannheim, Reiss-Engelhorn Museen Individual talk Pharao und seine Familie neue Forschungen im Tal der Könige 09.04.2015 Mannheim, Germany Bickel Susanne;
Actualité de la recherche archéologique 2014-2015 Individual talk Nouvelles découvertes dans la Vallée des Rois 30.03.2015 Paris, Musée du Louvre, France Bickel Susanne;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Study Day. Royal Families in the New Kingdom 09.05.2015 Basel, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
WEA adult learning Talk 11.08.2015 Adelaide, Australia Bickel Susanne;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Gräber und Mumien: Archäologie im Tal der Könige German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: radio, television Harem of the Sun King / Die 1000 Frauen des Pharao Arte International 2017
Media relations: print media, online media Wissenschaft persönlich Science&Cité German-speaking Switzerland 2017
Media relations: radio, television "Einstein" im Tal der Könige SRF 1, Einstein German-speaking Switzerland 2016

Awards

Title Year
For the Film: Film Harem of the Sun King (dir. Richard Reisz, concept S. Bickel + R. Reisz) 2. Preis Firenze ArcheoFilm Award (https://www.firenzearcheofilm.it/en/awards-jury-2018/) 2018
For the Film: Film Harem of the Sun King (dir. Richard Reisz, concept S. Bickel + R. Reisz) Arkhaios Cultural Heritage and Archeology Film Festival (South Carolina) 2018: - Best Archaeology Film (http://www.arkhaiosfilmfestival.org/2018-awards.html) - Audience Favorite Film 2018
For the Film: Film Harem of the Sun King (dir. Richard Reisz, concept S. Bickel + R. Reisz) XVIII Festival Internacional de Cine Arqueologico del Bidasoa (http://www.ficab.org/servicios-ficha.php?id_servicio=51&id_servicio_fam=36) Grand Prix du Festival 2018

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
162967 Life Histories of Theban Tombs 01.11.2015 Project funding
205588 Räuber - Priester - Königskinder. Die Gräber KV 40 und KV 64 im Tal der Könige, Band 1: Die beschrifteten Objekte der 18. Dynastie und die Keramik 01.07.2021 Open Access Books

Abstract

The project aims to be an interdisciplinary, innovative and fully contextualised study of a hitherto unexplored non-royal tomb (KV 40) in the UNESCO world heritage area of the Kings’ Valley in Egypt. This tomb is currently being archaeologically assessed by the University of Basel Kings’ Valley Project. The present application concerns the research necessary to scientifically explore and evaluate the archaeological results obtained to date, and to investigate the numerous historical, cultural, and social questions raised by these finds. Tomb KV 40 contains the human remains of some 50 mummified individuals, from both the 18th and 22nd dynasty (15th-14th c. BC and 9th c. BC), along with several hundred items of their funerary equipment, which have been fragmented by antique and modern looting. This tomb also yields information on members of the royal court of Thutmosis IV and Amenhotep III. In its combined egyptological, technical, and medico-anthropological approach, the project will explore the social and biological identity of the tomb owners of both periods as well as the processes of interaction between the different phases of activity. In drawing intensively on the concepts of diachrony and agency, the project will construct a new and substantiated picture of the developments and changes in the mortuary landscape of the Theban area between the 2nd millenium and first half of the 1st millennium BC. The project is designed to set new standards in combined methodology applied to research on the funerary archaeology of ancient Egypt. Finally, it will enhance the visibility of Swiss Egyptology in an interdisciplinary field.
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