Ethnicity in Ancient Egypt: An Introduction to Key Issues

In: Journal of Egyptian History
Juan Carlos Moreno García CNRS France

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The study of ethnicity in the ancient world has known a complete renewal in recent times, at several levels, from the themes studied to the perspectives of analysis and the models elaborated by archaeologists, anthropologists, sociologists and historians. Far from traditional approaches more interested in detecting and characterizing particular ethnic groups (“Libyans,” “Medjay”) and social organizations (“tribe,” “clan”, etc.), in identifying them in the archaeological record through specific markers (pottery, ornaments, weapons, etc.) and, subsequently, in studying their patterns of interaction with other social groups (domination, acculturation, assimilation, resistance, centre periphery), recent research follows different paths. To sum up, a deeper understanding of ethnicity in ancient Egypt cannot but benefit from a close dialogue with other disciplines and is to enrich current debates in archaeology, anthropology, and ancient history.

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