Abstract: Of pots and people: updates from the field, Tell Timai, Egypt


Over 4,500 kilograms of pottery have been recovered and processed by the University of Hawa’ii at Manoa excavations at Tell Timai in Egypt during the course of two full field seasons. The pottery spans over 1000 years of occupation at ancient Thmuis. It is now possible to begin linking this ceramic history to a history of the people and industries that built the city up from a small suburb of the Pharaonic city of Mendes to a Roman regional capital and an important Early Christian bishopric. This talk presents the highlights of the ceramic finds at Timai, covering the contexts of discovery, historical settings, and the personal histories of the people who inhabited the city. These contexts include evidence of the cities ancient perfume industry, a household’s place on the wrong side of history, the transformation of a residential and industrial area to an open public space, and evidence of a population occupying a fading city in the seventh century AD. The talk is also an exploration of telling grand histories from the smallest and commonest of archaeological artifacts, the pot sherd.

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