Social, political and cultural transformations manifest dynamic processes involving group interactions as well as both internal and external catalysts. The study of the past can offer significant observations regarding the nature of such processes, allowing for detailed analyses on how civilizations develop over either shorter or longer periods of time. Although usually incomplete, the archaeological record also has the potential to demarcate such developments, especially when assessed using multidisciplinary perspectives. This paper explores change at the site of Tell el-Dab’a in the northeastern Egyptian Delta, the stratigraphy of which incorporates a lengthy period in Egyptian history that witnessed the rise and fall of several dynasties, as well as the critical transition of the Middle Kingdom to the New Kingdom. Not only does the material evidence at the site point to gradual developments leading to the Fifteenth Dynasty, it also suggests specific intervals resulting in noticeable and possibly more rapid change with evidently significant social and political ramifications. The mechanisms of such change are discussed in view of the punctuated equilibria concept, as is their association with other historical and archaeological data, to help enhance our understanding of the events that defined ancient Egypt and the Near East in the first half of the Second Millennium B.C.
17 Nov 2018
American Schools of Oriental Research Annual Meeting