Child and infant burials in New Kingdom Egypt: a Gurob case study

by Johanna Leah Petkov

Institution: Monash University
Department: School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies. Centre for the Study of Ancient Cultures
Year: 2015
Keywords: Gurob; New Kingdom Egypt; New Kingdom; Egyptology; Ancient Egypt; Mortuary archaeology; Archaeology; Child burials; Infant burials; Ceramics; Burial material; Archaeology of childhood
Record ID: 1060726
Full text PDF: http://arrow.monash.edu.au/hdl/1959.1/1146144


This thesis is a re-evaluation of commonly held assumptions on child and infant burials. It challenges the bias that often exists in the discussion of these individuals. In particular, the mortuary remains of non-elite children and infants are viewed by some researchers as crude burials, containing very few grave goods. According to this view they represent little economic outlay, were often interred elsewhere because of their lack of integration within their community, and were sometimes disposed of like garbage. To re-evaluate these views, a case study is undertaken of 127 non-elite child and infant burials from the New Kingdom cemeteries of Gurob. Specifically, funerary material is used to explore whether age impacted the degree to which an individual was considered a member of the community, based upon the location, type of burial container, and the grave goods included within the burial. This thesis argues that infants and children were treated as diversely as adults in the mortuary sphere and did not appear to exhibit signs of neglect or exclusion from their community at Gurob. This thesis presents a catalogue of all child and infant burials from the New Kingdom cemeteries of Gurob, thus representing the first major synthesis of this material.