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Chapter 1 discusses the terminology of the name Third Intermediate Period and demonstrates the views within previous archaeological thought and theory, showig which ideas have shaped the discussions and approaches to Third Intermediate Period archaeology, history, and culture. Chapter 1 also provides a discussion of the complex and disputed chronology for the Third Intermediate Period, outlining those areas that are agreed upon and those areas which are still debated.
Chapter 2 establishes the theoretical and archaeological context for the study of landscape and settlements in the Third Intermediate Period. It discusses the approaches to and problems inherent in Egyptian settlement studies regarding landscape reconstruction, the preservation of ancient sites, and defining the concept of ‘site’. The chapter constructs a framework for the understanding of settlement archaeology in the Third Intermediate Period through the analysis of a dataset made up of Third Intermediate Period textual and archaeological material from landscapes and settlements. It further outlines the archaeological theory regarding landscape archaeology in order to establish a methodology for the most effective way of approaching Egyptian settlement patterns and defining the concept of what is a ‘site’ in Egyptian settlement archaeology. The comprehensive record of survey, excavation reports, and artefact/textual source analysis compiled in Appendix 1 is used in Chapter 2 to evaluate the potential for conducting landscape archaeology to see whether settlement patterns are visible, the extent to which they are different from the New Kingdom, and the factors which may have influenced these patterns with due regard to the limitations of the data.
Chapter 3 assesses the built archaeological remains of the Third Intermediate Period and establishes the locations of preserved Third Intermediate Period domestic settlement remains to assess the different regional built environments of settlements and the way in which settlements developed spatially over time. The settlements are further analysed to define the way in which Late Period urban policies affected the development and preservation of Third Intermediate Period urban topography within the archaeological record. The maintenance of or changes in urban topography of the Third Intermediate Period are discussed in the light of the top-down policies of a new political regime in a re-unified government and state in Late Period Egypt. The chapter assesses whether the settlements in the Third Intermediate Period developed as independent entities within specific regions or if there was a general pattern of settlement policy across different political boundaries and geographical regions. It also assesses characteristics of new ideologies, both political and religious, and the economic limitations of different regions through the construction of monumental architecture (walls, temples, and palaces), the nucleation of domestic architecture around monumental constructions, the development of architectural design in both administrative, religious, and domestic architecture, and the self-sufficient nature of local populations.
Chapter 4 demonstrates links back to Ramesside object preferences, and to precursors of Late Period object typologies. The material culture of everyday life and social practices of the people living at that time demonstrate the Third Intermediate Period as a distinctly defined cultural element within Egyptian society and Egyptology. There were changes in artefact usages and material culture, and implications for understanding characteristics of the object world of the period, and the lifecycles of the Third Intermediate Period population. The domestic material culture also demonstrates aspects of regionality in relation to the political fragmentation of the country. The ceramics of the period identify continuity or changes in storage, dining, and drinking cultures. Alongside ceramics, Chapter 4 also includes objects of personal adornment, tools, weapons, and re-used and salvaged stone. The artefacts and object-world of the settlements allow exploration of the social status of the population, their religious beliefs, the extent of elite emulation and self-sufficiency regarding elite object replication, the extent of object re-use and recycling, and the creation and availability of materials for object manufacture.
Chapter 5 discusses the evidence presented in the preceding four chapters and its overall significance for the understanding of the development of Egypt during the Third Intermediate Period. The chapter discusses a series of interconnected characteristics identified within Third Intermediate Period culture and society which relate to the political and economic power of regions, the nucleation of both settlements and people, self-sufficiency at a collective and individual level, defence, both physical and spiritual, regionality in terms of settlement development and material culture, and finally elite emulation through objects. These characteristics are also discussed in association with the themes of continuity and change/transition compared with the previous New Kingdom, and also within aspects of the (Egyptian) north and (Libyan) south socio-cultural and socio-geographical divide.