Bioarchaeology; stable isotope; social identity; egypt
The material remains of ancient Egypt provide extensive and wide ranging data about the empire throughout its history. However, little evidence is available from ancient Egypt, or any past culture, with which to rebuild an image of social identity or individual experiences. This is especially problematic when the dominant narrative ignores experiences of minorities and minimizes the variation existing throughout the empire. Stable isotope analysis has the potential to reveal variability in lived experience of past peoples by acting as a proxy for behavior that can be analyzed from bone. Such an approach has been applied on individuals from the Romano-Christian Kellis 2 cemetery in the Dakhleh Oasis to explore diversity of lived experiences in relation to age, sex, and gender. Analysis of stable carbon and nitrogen values from bone collagen of 138 adults revealed a predominately C3 plant based diet with the addition of some animal protein. Statistical analysis of these values uncovered discernable differences in the values of young males and older adults which may suggest differences in the biological experiences of these groups and unique social experiences for those individuals. These findings offer a starting point with which to explore social organization at this site and others in ancient Egypt and the methods provide a useful approach to exploring individual experience in the past in ways not possible from other sources.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
East, Kaitlin, "Exploring Social Identity through Stable Isotope Analysis in the Kellis 2 Cemetery" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 666.