CRAFT PRIESTS IN ANCIENT EGYPT. THE MEMPHITE PRIESTHOOD: PEOPLE, SPACES, ACTIVITIES

  • Cervello Autuori, Josep (Principal Investigator)
  • Agrás Flores, Raquel (Collaborator)
  • Barahona Mendieta, Zulema (Collaborator)
  • Cano Da Cunha, Oliver (Collaborator)
  • García Ramis, Francisco Javier (Collaborator)
  • González León, Daniel (Collaborator)
  • MOHAMMAD YOUSSEF, MOHAMMAD (Collaborator)
  • Orriols Llonch, Marc (Collaborator)
  • Puche Fontanilles, Josep Maria (Collaborator)
  • Rada Cotera, Carlos (Collaborator)
  • Rodriguez Gonzalez, Maria (Collaborator)
  • Vilaró Fabregat, Jaume (Collaborator)
  • Vives Menor, Daniel (Collaborator)
  • Lull García, Jose (Investigator)

Project Details

Description

THIS PROJECT PROPOSES THE COMPREHENSIVE STUDY OF AN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN PRIESTLY ORDER: THAT OF THE PRIESTS OF THE CULTS OF PTAH AND SOKAR, THE GODS OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS, FROM THE OLD TO THE MIDDLE KINGDOM (2700-1700 BC) AND DURING THE THIRD INTERMEDIATE PERIOD (1076-722 BC). THE PERIODS ENVISAGED ARE BASED ON THE SPECIALITIES OF THE TWO MEMBERS OF THE RESEARCH TEAM AND THE NEED TO CHOOSE WELL-DEFINED PERIODS OF EGYPTIAN HISTORY, WITH HOMOGENEOUS DOCUMENTATION THAT CAN BE PROCESSED AND STUDIED WITHIN THE CHRONOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK OF THE PROJECT (4 YEARS). THE MEMPHITE PRIESTHOOD IS CHARACTERISED BY ITS CONNECTION WITH CRAFT ACTIVITIES: MEMPHITE PRIESTS ARE CRAFT PRIESTS. THEIR HIGH PRIEST HELD THE TITLE OF “GREATEST OF THE DIRECTORS OF CRAFTSMEN”: HE IS THE HEAD OF A HIERARCHY OF PEOPLE ENGAGED IN CRAFT ACTIVITIES, RANGING FROM QUARRYING STONE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF FUNERARY MONUMENTS, SUCH AS THE PYRAMID COMPLEXES OF THE OLD KINGDOM, TO THE MAKING OF STATUES AND STELAE. THIS MEANS THAT THEIR ACTIVITY HAD A STRONG ECONOMIC IMPACT, ESPECIALLY IN THE OLD KINGDOM, WHEN THE GREAT ROYAL CONSTRUCTIONS WERE THE DRIVING FORCE OF THE ECONOMY. THE COMPLEMENTARITY BETWEEN CRAFT AND RITUAL TASKS IS EXPLAINED BY THE NATURE OF THE GODS CONCERNED: PTAH AND SOKAR ARE CREATOR AND CRAFT GODS, AND CRAFTSMANSHIP IS A FORM OF CREATION, AND CREATION IS A DIVINE ACTIVITY. THE MEMBERS OF THE PRIESTHOOD OF A DIVINITY OF PRIMARY POLITICAL IMPORTANCE SUCH AS PTAH CONSTITUTE AN ELEMENT WITH A STRONG IMPACT ON THE SOCIAL NETWORK AND, IN THIS SENSE, THE COMPREHENSIVE STUDY OF THIS EGYPTIAN PRIESTLY ORDER CAN BE PARTICULARLY REVEALING. THUS, THE GENERAL OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT ARE AS FOLLOWS: 1) TO UNDERSTAND THE STRUCTURE, ORGANISATION, HIERARCHY, CIVIL AND RITUAL ACTIVITY, AND THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ROLE OF THE PRIESTHOOD OF MEMPHIS DURING THE OLD KINGDOM, THE FIRST INTERMEDIATE PERIOD, THE MIDDLE KINGDOM, AND THE THIRD INTERMEDIATE PERIOD. 2) TO KNOW THE PROFILE OF THE INDIVIDUALS WHO INTEGRATED THE MEMPHITE PRIESTHOOD AS A WHOLE IN THE PERIODS CONCERNED: THEIR TITLES AND POSITIONS, THEIR RANK AND SOCIAL INTERRELATIONS, THEIR FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS, THEIR ACTIVITIES, THEIR MATERIAL LEGACY (MAINLY ASSOCIATED WITH THEIR FUNERARY CULT), AND INVESTIGATE TO WHAT EXTENT ONE COULD SPEAK OF A SOCIO-RELIGIOUS GROUP WITH ITS OWN IDENTITY (A GUILD). 3) TO PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE HIGH PRIESTS OF THE MEMPHITE PRIESTHOOD: THEIR POLITICAL ROLE, THEIR RELATIONS WITH OTHER HIGH PRIESTHOODS, THE POSSIBLE INHERITANCE OF THEIR OFFICE, THEIR FUNERARY CULT. 4) TO STUDY THE ESSENCE AND THE CULTS OF THE MEMPHITE GODS PTAH AND SOKAR FROM THE ORIGINS TO THE MIDDLE KINGDOM AND TO RECONSIDER, FROM THIS, THE ACTIVITY OF THEIR PRIESTHOOD. 5) TO EXCAVATE, DOCUMENT, AND CONSERVE THE TOMBS OF THE MEMPHITE HIGH PRIESTS OF THE OLD KINGDOM IN THE CEMETERY OF NORTH SAQQARA. INDEED, THE PROJECT HAS TWO MAIN AREAS OF ACTION: ON THE ONE HAND, RESEARCH BASED ON TEXTUAL AND EPIGRAPHIC SOURCES AND THE PROSOPOGRAPHICAL METHOD; ON THE OTHER HAND, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATION OF THE CEMETERY OF THE OLD KINGDOM MEMPHITE HIGH PRIESTS LOCATED IN NORTH SAQQARA BY THE SPANISH-EGYPTIAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MISSION IN SAQQARA, WHICH IS LINKED TO THIS PROJECT. THE MISSION HAS BEEN GRANTED PERMITS BY THE SUPREME COUNCIL OF ANTIQUITIES OF EGYPT AND ITS WORK WILL PROVIDE IMPORTANT NEW DATA TO THE INVESTIGATION.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/09/2331/08/27

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