The Excavations at Ismant al-Kharab

Volume 1 - Roman Period Cartonnage from the Kellis 1 Cemetery

Carlo Rindi Nuzzolo ,

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The Excavations at Ismant al-Kharab: Volume 1 - Roman Period Cartonnage from the Kellis 1 Cemetery

About the eBook

Excavations by the Dakhleh Oasis Project at Ismant al-Kharab, ancient Kellis in the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt, revealed the presence of an extensive necropolis dating to the Roman Period, with hundreds of rock-cut tombs containing multiple burials. Termed the Kellis 1 Cemetery, it yielded a range of artifacts and many of the individuals were provided with elaborately decorated cartonnage coverings. This is the largest collection of such material yet discovered in Dakhleh.

This book presents a detailed analysis of the entire corpus of cartonnage found at Kellis in a securely excavated context. These objects, which include mummy masks, foot-cases, and full body covers, were part of the burial accoutrements of the wealthier residents of the village. Stylistic and digital investigation of the artifacts suggests a well-defined craft production, with the presence of multiple groups of craftsmen using specific manufacturing techniques and local traits in their iconographic repertoire. The scale of evidence demonstrates that Kellis was a vibrant community with a dynamic funerary production in contact with nearby areas. Comparison with finds from the neighboring Oasis of Kharga, as well as with artifacts in museums collections and from the antiquities market, suggest a complex network of skilled craftsmen throughout the region.

This is the first comprehensive study of the material. It has been studied in person by the author in the field enabling a detailed appraisal of the items, whether intact or fragmentary. It builds on recent research addressing regionalism and craftsmanship, and constitutes one of the main sources to investigate issues of permanence and change in the indigenous funerary customs of the area.
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