Northern California: Body Ornaments and Communities of Practice in the Egyptian Predynastic
Presented by: Maryan Ragheb, PhD Candidate UCLA
- 3:00 PM PT Northern California
- In-Person Room 20, Social Sciences Building, University of California, Berkeley
Our bodies and body images are manufactured through one’s treatment of their body surface: Through clothing, jewelry, hairstyles, makeup, or tattooing, we create and recreate certain images that can be readable to others. These body accessories and modifications are not only to reflect identities, but also to be utilized as tools by the wearers to enact their social roles, which are prescribed and promoted by society. Body ornamentation is thus important for affirming social cohesion and shared ideologies of identities both in life and death. In Predynastic Egypt, body ornamentation of the deceased was practiced to varying degrees. This talk discusses the shared community practices in the making and use of Predynastic body ornaments to adorn the deceased’s body. Through a microscopic study of beaded ornaments, their manufacturing processes, and wear marks, I can reconstruct the technical and social processes that were invested in their making, and by extension, the making of the deceased’s image at the time of the funeral.
Maryan Ragheb is a PhD candidate in Archaeology at UCLA, with a special focus on ancient Egyptian archaeology. Her dissertation research is concerned with identity expression pre and post state formation in ancient Egypt, through the study of body ornamentation. Her research interests include identity expressions of different minority groups and the cultural entanglement between different ethnicities within Egypt. In addition to archaeological work in Egypt and Ethiopia, she is interested in community outreach and preservation of cultural heritage initiatives. As such, she is currently involved in the Waystation initiative and the voluntary return of cultural objects to China, while building a skillset in cultural heritage laws in the USA, and in provenance research.
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