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Ties that bind: investigating Hyksos provenance and migration using dental morphology.

Maaranen, N., 2020. Ties that bind: investigating Hyksos provenance and migration using dental morphology. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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The term Hyksos commonly refers to the foreign dynasty that inhabited and held power in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, circa 1640–1530 BCE. Recent research has integrated archaeological, artistic and textual evidence, revealing the Hyksos origin and presence in Egypt to be more complex than previously envisioned. Answers to questions regarding the Hyksos origin (and reasons for migration), ethnic and biological homogeneity, nature of rule and impact on the Egyptian worldview have been sought by the ‘Hyksos Enigma Project’. The aim of this study was to produce new information on Hyksos provenance and migration pathways, as well as understand its place in the landscape of the Middle Bronze Age Near East. Mobility studies have experienced a new awakening in archaeology, caused by recent theoretical and methodological developments in both non- destructive and biochemical techniques. Biological distance, or biodistance, measures the similarity and dissimilarity of individuals and groups from skeletal remains using multivariate statistical analysis. Distance measures can be based on allele frequencies or haplotypes (measuring genotypic expression), or on phenetics, grouping organisms together according to their morphological similarity. Phenotypic analysis rests on the assumption that phenotypic expression is informative of underlying genetic heritability. Due to the state of preservation, biodistance was explored using dental nonmetric traits and the Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System (ASUDAS). The traits have been selected due to their repeatability, resistance to attrition, lack of sexual dimorphism and an underlying genetic component. The method was complimented with an application of 2D geometric morphometrics, comparing shapes in multidimensional space. Dental data was recorded on all available individuals from Tell el-Dab’a (n=96) for an intra-site and inter-site (total number of individuals n= 1095) analysis. C.A.B Smith’s mean measure of divergence (MMD) and Gower distance analysis were utilised due to their ability to accommodate missing values. Geometric morphometrics were explored digitising standardised photographs of lower first permanent molars and converted into shape data using the R package geomorph. Due to missing data, MMD was the most appropriate method for analysing the material, followed by Gower distance analysis and 2D geometric morphometrics. The results create a pattern of movement, visible in both biological data and the archaeological record. Tell el-Dab’a shared a biological closeness with sites along the Levantine coast (such as Ugarit and Sidon), but the only site to indicate significant similarity was the Southern Levantine site of Pella on the Jordan River. No other comparative site from the Southern Levant exhibited similar closeness, pointing to a specific trade route connecting Pella and Egypt, possibly via Tell el-‘Ajjul. However, the samples from Tell el-Dab’a did not cover the earliest occupation phases or represent each cemetery of the site, potentially masking other previous or coinciding affiliations. Together with other affiliations (Ugarit-Sidon and Ugarit-Pella), Tell el- Dab’a generates a pattern of movement, visible also in the reconstructed trade networks. Material and biological evidence from Tell el-Dab’a, ancient Avaris, exhibits the interconnectedness of the Middle Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean, moving both commodities and people. Climate and political turmoil may have been compounding factors in initiating migration to Egypt, but once started, the movement may have been maintained by economic interests and kinship networks. The results not only offer new insight of the Tell el-Dab’a population but provide further information of the Middle Bronze Age world of the Near East.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:ancient Egypt; Hyksos; Levant; second intermediate period; middle bronze age; biodistance analysis; dental morphology; ASUDAS; geometric morphometrics
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:33459
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:19 Feb 2020 11:15
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:20


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