Sponsored by: AIA-Spokane Society
The role of centralized institutions in the economy of the Egyptian states has traditionally been over-emphasized, in part due to the exaggerated part played by state actors in surviving texts. This textual evidence presents the economy of Egypt as almost exclusively redistributive, with the state assuming a veritable royal monopoly on production, product circulation, and long-distance trade. Yet personal transaction records and depictions of marketplace exchange in tomb paintings reveal an alternative system in which both local and imported goods were mobilized through non-centralized systems incorporating independent merchants. We will explore the different mechanisms for trade and the movement of goods in New Kingdom Egypt by examining the distribution of imported Cypriot and Aegean pottery during the Late Bronze Age. The widespread appearance of these imported goods demonstrates the importance of merchants and traders working outside of royal institutions.
Dr. Christine Johnston, Western Washington University.