CORDIS - EU research results

Politics and Royal Foreign Women in the Court of Egypt: A New Analysis of Diplomatic Marriages during Late Bronze Age.

Project description

Diplomatic marriages in the Late Bronze Age

International marriages were an important custom of the Late Bronze Age (1600-1200 BCE) in the Ancient Near East (ANE) and Egypt, serving as a major form of diplomacy between royal families. Textual documentation of the ANE and Egypt and recently discovered archaeological data in Luxor (Egypt) will allow the study of the role royal foreign women played in Ancient Egypt and highlight their status at the Egyptian court. Under a gender study and gender archaeology perspective, the EU-funded PRINCESS project will analyse the diplomatic marriages and their role as political unions, as well as explore the funerary customs related to these royal foreign women and their entourage to understand their acculturation level. Finally, excavations will be conducted in Gurob (Egypt, Fayum area), where an important harem-palace was built, to collect new data on the foreign community belonging to the royal entourage housed there.


The PRINCESS project aims to study the foreign women of the royal entourage during the Late Bronze Age (LBA) in Egypt (1550-1060 BC) through the analysis of diplomatic marriages. These political unions that the Pharaoh contracted with the sisters and daughters of the rulers of the foreign Great Powers (Hatti, Mittani, Assyria and Babylonia) are well attested in the textual documentation of the Ancient Near East (ANE) and Egypt. The originality of this project is based on the fact that it involves the study of both Egyptian and ANE sources (textual, archaeological and iconographic data) with the help of ANE specialists, which allows an interdisciplinary approach. In addition, it combines the study of the funerary practices of these royal women, as well as of their ladies-in-waiting. All the data will be analysed in the light of gender studies and gender archaeology. The aim of the research is to highlight their role and status as well as their degree of acculturation at the Egyptian court. This project is crucial to understand the complexity of alliances in ancient worlds through the study of foreign women. New archaeological data coming from tombs recently discovered in Luxor will be associated with fieldwork on the site of Gurob (Fayum) led by the Experienced Researcher (ER) connected with the remains of a harem-palace and an important foreign population. This project will enable the ER to set up innovative models of reflection, which results will also be rewarding for both the host institution (Centre National de la Recherche scientifique) and the partner institution (Universität Basel). In return, the ER will benefit from the teaching and advice from leading ANE archaeologists and ceramicists, and gender studies specialists. Within the 24 months of the fellowship, the ER will gain new skills and international network, and the results will be disseminated through various channels and audiences (database, child’s book, monograph, symposium, TV documentary).


Net EU contribution
€ 184 707,84
75794 Paris

See on map

Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 184 707,84