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A Bridge to Canaan: Tell el-Daba (Egypt) in the Late Middle Kingdom, ca. 1820 to 1720 B.C.


Tell el-Daba-Avaris, the capital of the Hyksos rulers of Egypt, is one of the largest and most important sites for our understanding of the Near East in the Middle Bronze Age, because it provides evidence of a mixed culture with Egyptian as well as Canaanite components.

The origins and history of the immigrants who helped to create this culture remain unclear. By assembling all the evidence available for a large area of settlement of late Middle Kingdom date, ca. 18201720 BC, excavated between 1966 and 1980 and unpublished, their history will be traced in all facets that can be gained from archaeological data.

This will complement the scarce textual evidence existing for this period. First context groups within the excavation area will be assembled, consisting of metal and stone implements, animal bones, flint tools, shells, scarabs, archaeo-botanical remains and ceramics; to analyse them by application of statistical methods and interpret the results by comparison with similar purely Egyptian settlements.

There are some well excavated sites belonging to the late Middle Kingdom-early Second Intermediate Period, ca. 19801700 BC, for comparison, such as Memphis, Dahshur, Lisht, Abydos, Thebes, Elephantine and the military forts in Lower Nubia, which will provide additional evidence regarding the architectural lay-out; settlement patterns; functional areas in the settlement; socio-economic issues like trade patterns and the life style of a non-elite community.

This study will provide the first firm evidence for the beginning of the acculturation of Egyptian and Canaanite culture at Tell el-Daba, a process, which culminated in the Hyksos rule. It will provide a test case for interference theories in cultural studies.

The research training with a group of innovative scholars at the McDonald Institute active in a wide area of archaeology including laboratory based natural sciences, e.g. petrography, will enable the researcher to diversify and complete her expertise.

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