Ancient Egyptian “Soul Houses” in Life and in Death

02

May
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Lecture by Nicholas Picardo, Giza Project at Harvard University

  • 5:00 p.m. Illinois
  • The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago LaSalle Banks Room
Because the majority of ancient Egypt’s so-called “soul houses” have come from cemetery contexts, they are almost always classified as funerary equipment. Yet, this outlook offers little to explain their less frequent but still numerous find spots in settlements and houses. This presentation adopts concepts from the discipline of household archaeology to consider an extended range of functions and ideological importance for soul houses, ultimately positing a use lifespan that began prior to their deposition in cemeteries. Further, their use in both household and funerary practices is evaluated as a mechanism for reinforcing identities and relationships and preserving social ties between the living and the dead.