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Power and Competition in the Upper Egyptian Predynastic: A View from the Predynastic Settlement at el-Mahâsna, Egypt.

Anderson, David Allen (2006) Power and Competition in the Upper Egyptian Predynastic: A View from the Predynastic Settlement at el-Mahâsna, Egypt. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Questions concerning the basis of power and processes which lead to social stratification have occupied anthropological research for decades, resulting in a number of competing schools of thought. This research examines two of these; factional competition and managerial models for the rise of social complexity. Factional competition models propose that individuals are in a constant state of competition for power and leadership positions and use a variety of arenas and methods by which to compete. Managerial models on the other hand suggest individuals are given power by the populace in exchange for managing subsistence goods and production for the overall benefit of the society. These models are evaluated in light of evidence from the Predynastic period cultures of Upper Egypt, where scholars have suggested that each of these models reflect the processes which led to the formation of the centralized Egyptian state. Data for this study was obtained through a program of systematic surface collections and new, large-scale excavations at the Predynastic settlement site of el-Mahâsna. Patterns of artifacts and activity areas revealed through these efforts are evaluated against implications for intrasite patterning derived from managerial and factional competition models specifically proposed for the Nile Valley.Results of this study suggest that elites during the later Naqada I and early-mid Naqada II periods were not heavily involved in the management of subsistence goods, nor do they appear to have been competing through large scale feasting or the production of luxury goods for use in the funerary industry, as suggested. Further, results from this study suggest that competition for power in the Nile Valley may already have progressed beyond the level of individual communities, and may have been taking place at a regional level between established leaders by the mid-Naqada I. Finally, the data from el-Mahâsna reveals a pattern of elite activities focused upon ritual and ceremony associated with a possible early cult structure.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Anderson, David
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRicharson, James Bjbr3@pitt.eduJBR3
Committee MemberLinduff, Kathrynlinduff@pitt.eduLINDUFF
Committee MemberScaglion, Richardscaglion@pitt.eduSCAGLION
Committee MemberDrennan, Robert Ddrennan@pitt.eduDRENNAN
Date: 6 October 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 20 April 2006
Approval Date: 6 October 2006
Submission Date: 17 August 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Abydos; Adaima; Amratian; anthropology; anthropomorphic; archaeology; Armant; Aryton; B-ware; Badarian; Big Men; Buto; C-ware; ceramic; chiefdom; complex society; cult; D-ware; dynastic; Dynasty 0; Early Dynastic; el-Mahasna; faunal; fertility; figurine; Garstang; Gerzean; Hierakonpolis; ideology; Loat; Mahasna; management; Nagada; Nagada III; pre-dynastic; protodynastic; religion; ritual; social hierarchy; Umm el-Qaab; zoomorphic
Other ID:, etd-08172006-145240
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:59
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


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