Elizabeth Hart

  • Fellowship Dates 2013-2013
  • Research Topic Stones and Status in Daily Life: Exploring the Development of Inequalities through a Comparison of Lithic Assemblages in Naqada Settlements, 4000-3000 BCE
  • Fellow or Grant Type Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
  • Affiliation Pre-doctoral candidate University of Virginia

This research examines the relationship between economic organization and the institutionalization of inequalities in the Naqada culture of Upper Egypt (4000-3000 BCE). Naqada period settlements are a relatively recent research focus, and settlement data sufficient as evidence for addressing inequalities is not plentiful. Yet, contrary to cemetery data, settlement data indicates few discernible wealth differences among Naqada settlement residences until after the formation of the Egyptian state (early dynastic period 3000-2800 BCE). The discrepancy between the cemetery and settlement data indicates that the process of emergent inequality is not fully understood. Did inequalities involve mainly the way people were buried and their relationship with the afterlife, or did they affect how people went about their daily lives? The conspicuous nature of differences in materials and labor investment evident in the Naqada cemetery data lends itself to models of sociopolitical change where aggrandizers and factions competed. Emerging settlement data offers an opportunity to incorporate the activities of more than just aggrandizers into these models. While all societies have some degree of differentiation, perhaps by age or gender, inequality is defined as unequal access to goods, information, decision-making and power. Specialization in production activities is one way people were differentiated in predynastic Egypt. In Upper Egypt, specialization increases over the 4th millennium BCE as evident from the skill, standardization and distribution of certain ceramic and lithic burial items. This research assesses differentiation in productive activities within and between settlements, as indicated by data derived from chipped stone artifacts and whether this differentiation correlates with differences in consumption and exchange patterns. It draws on chipped stone data from multiple Naqada settlements, as stone tools were widely used by both elite and commoner populations of the time. Primary research methodologies include individual attribute analysis and typological categorization of three aspects of the assemblages: raw materials, production technology and function. The research provides insight into the means of increasing inequalities and the participation of and effects on the commoner majority.

TopicsArchaeologyThemeArchaeological SitesHistoric PeriodPredynastic/Early DynasticLocationUpper Egypt


Interested in scholarly research in Egypt? ARCE fellowships fund a variety of academic study projects for 3 to 12 months.Learn More