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Pottery of the Third Intermediate Period

Pottery is far and away the most common type of object found in any excavation of an ancient Egyptian site, whether a town site or a tomb. Petrie, the 'father of Egyptian archaeology', established how important it is as an aid to dating, and that excavators ignore it at their peril. However, too many did ignore it in the past, and it is only in the past 30 years that the study of pottery as a subject in itself has really been established. A fundamental book is Do. Arnold and J. Bourriau (eds), An Introduction to Ancient Egyptian Pottery (Mainz 1993), which examines methods of manufacture and the clays used.

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A Phoenician amphora

A Phoenician amphora

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Red-slipped siltware jar

Red-slipped siltware jar

An enormous amount of pottery has been found in TT99, shown in the tables which you may already have looked at. Pamela Rose has grouped the material found so far into 'Recent', 'Late Roman', and 'Pharaonic'. The first two of these categories cover the majority of material found, although it has been possible to assemble a number of pharaonic vessels, four of which are illustrated here. More information will be found about the ceramics in the reports on the 1995 and 1996 seasons.

The Phoenician amphorae shown above are to be dated to the period between circa 800 BC and the early 6th century BC (R. Amiran, Ancient Pottery of the Holy Land (Jerusalem 1969), 241-249). The red-slipped siltware jars can also be attributed to the 8th and 7th centuries BC, and perhaps a little later in Nubia ( D.A. Aston, Egyptian Pottery of the Late New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (Twelfth-Seventh Centuries BC) (Studien zur Archäologie und Geschichte Altägyptens 13, Heidelberg 1996), 76, fig. 221). I am grateful to P. Kyle MCarter of Johns Hopkins University for identifying the script as early Phoenician, and informing me that it appears to be a patronymic, 'x son of y', although more work will be needed to identify the full names. A close-up is given below:

phoenician inscription

© Nigel Strudwick 1997-2014