Technological change or consistency? an investigation of faience produced from the Middle to the New Kingdom at Abydos, Egypt.

Hammerle, Esme
Technological change or consistency? an investigation of faience produced from the Middle to the New Kingdom at Abydos, Egypt. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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For many years, it has been argued that faience underwent dramatic technological changes from the Middle Kingdom (2040–1640 BC) to the New Kingdom (1570–1070 BC) in Egypt. These technological developments are said to include changes in the sources of some of the key ingredients of faience production, including the silica, alkali, and colourant. However, the proposed technological changes are broad generalizations and, in the case of some faience bead assemblages, they appear to be non-existent. This thesis considers the reasons for the developments in faience production, and focuses on the changes themselves by analysing the chemical composition of faience beads from the Middle to the New Kingdom at the site of Abydos. This research focuses on a sample of 151 beads, dating from the Middle Kingdom to the New Kingdom, which were found during John Garstang’s early 20th Century excavations. All aspects of the beads were investigated in order to establish the production methods used – this was, in essence, reverse engineering of the beads. The investigation was accomplished with a combination of established and innovative analytical methods, some of which had not been tested on faience material before. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was employed to determine changes in the microstructure, and led to an understanding of the glazing methods used in the production of the beads. Energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS) was used to test the chemical composition of the samples. Strontium isotope analysis was conducted to identify the raw material sources of the alkali used in the production of the beads. Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) was undertaken to determine the firing temperatures reached during production, and crystallography (CL) was undertaken to determine the silica source. Once these analyses were complete the archaeological samples were experimentally replicated and analysed. All of the results were then interrogated in order to prove, scientifically, whether or not Egyptian faience technology really underwent change from one period to the next.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Date: 2012-07 (completed)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Faience, Egypt, Abydos
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Histories, Languages and Cultures
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2013 11:53
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 04:37
DOI: 10.17638/00008275