The characterisation of ceramic production from the central Levant and Egyptian trade in the Pyramid Age

Kamal Badreshany*, Karin Sowada, Mary Ownby, Mathilde Jean (Contributor), Michel De Vreeze, Alice McClymont (Contributor), Graham Philip (Contributor)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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A recent petrographic study of ceramic jars from Giza imported into Egypt during the 4th Dynasty of the Pyramid Age (c. 2613–2494 BCE) identified the original production zone as the Lebanese coast generally between Beirut and Tripoli, including the region of Byblos. The jars and their contents were imported to Egypt by maritime trade expeditions conducted at the behest of the Egyptian state. This study analyses a selection of these ceramic samples using ICP-AES and -MS for comparison with published data from the region of Byblos. The results not only confirmed the underlying petrography, but together with new evidence from Lebanon suggests the vessels likely belonged to specialised workshop production in the Byblos environs and were made specifically for export to Egypt. The finding sheds new light on the relationship between the Egyptian state and the polity of Byblos in the Early Bronze Age, indicating the presence of standardised local production and commodity procurement mechanisms tailored to the needs of a large trade entity. This relationship in turn delivered significant prestige and status to local elites in an environment of competitive local peer-polity interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103309
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Archaeological science
  • geochemistry
  • petrography
  • ceramics
  • social complexity
  • trade
  • Early Bronze Age Levant
  • Old Kingdom Egypt


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