"The EPOCHS project aims to provide a basis for new interpretative models of material cultural transmission and social transformation in stratified societies. This will require the development of a specific methodology for comparative synthesis at a broad regional level (equivalent to the ‘national’ in modernity); the case-study will be Egypt in transition from Middle to Late Bronze Age (1850-1500 BC). From current collections-database control-lists, the project will pursue two linked tracks, categorisation and periodisation of material cultural products, to identify period ‘signatures’. This framework will be used to analyse (a) synchronic patterns recurrent across different signature object-categories, and (b) diachronic variations within each. From historical and laboratory analyses of prioritised objects in collections, the interregional relationships of material production and consumption will be charted on the two horizons of (a) endogenous (internal Egyptian regionalism) and (b) exogenous (‘internationalism’, relations between Egyptian and external groups), in order to assess in synthesis the societal impact at local, internal-regional and national levels. The final phase of the project will address questions of ideology in material-cultural products, applying the concept of performativity in order to explore relations between archaeological context/material and ritual/non-ritual practice. The outcomes will create the ground for a new historical synthesis between the evidence-bases for the wide range of relevant archaeological sub-disciplines from archaeometry to philology."
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