Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations

First Advisor

Josef W. Wegner


Kevin M. Cahail

Dr. Josef W. Wegner

The site of South Abydos was home to royal mortuary complexes of both the late Middle, and New Kingdoms, belonging to Senwosret III and Ahmose. Thanks to both recent and past excavations, both of these royal establishments are fairly well understood. Yet, we lack a clear picture of the mortuary practices of the non-royal individuals living and working in the shadow of these institutions. For both periods, the main question is where the tombs of the non-royal citizens might exist. Additionally for the Middle Kingdom is the related issue of how these people commemorated their dead ancestors. Divided into two parts, this dissertation looks at the ways in which non-royal individuals living at South Abydos during these two periods dealt with burial and funerary commemoration. Three seasons of field work in and around the Senwosret III mortuary complex, and the associated town of Wah-sut, uncovered a previously unexplored New Kingdom cemetery. We excavated and analyzed the contents of six tombs belonging to this burial ground, which we dubbed the Temple Cemetery due to its proximity to the earlier mortuary temple of Senwosret III. Further exploration of the site revealed numerous Middle Kingdom objects related to both tomb assemblages and funerary commemoration. The discovery of the tomb of Useribre Senebkay in January 2014 revealed numerous inscribed late Middle Kingdom chapel blocks, which had been reused to construct the Abydene Dynast's burial chamber. While we did not discover any tombs of the late Middle Kingdom, the results of these excavations demonstrate that tombs of this period almost certainly exist in the area. Commemorative objects from within Wah-sut evince a complex system of domestic funerary rituals meant to commemorate the recently-deceased, which link this site with contemporary settlements at Lahun and Kom el-Fakhry. New Kingdom vaulted tombs such as that belonging to the scribe Horemheb and the Stable master Rameses testify that South Abydos was still a highly significant burial ground during the late Eighteenth Dynasty, including the burials of individuals with significant wealth. In short, this dissertation presents the previously unpublished results of ongoing archaeological excavation at the site of South Abydos.

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