Technical choices and processes of stone vessel manufacture under the reign of king Den: Evidence from the Cemetery M at Abu Rawash

Keita Takenouchi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stone vessels were produced on a large scale during the Early Dynastic Period. The pro¬duction of stone vessels in this period is a typ¬ical example of the development of attached specialists that occurred parallel to the emer¬gence of the central government and admin¬istration. However, we are not thoroughly familiar with the specifics of the manufac¬turing techniques and system that supported this large-scale production in Early Dynastic society. This paper reconstructs the detailed manufacturing techniques and processes of the cylindrical jars and the open forms through the observation and analysis of the unpublished materials from the Cemetery M (excavated by Montet) at Abu Rawash. This research has found that travertine bowls were probably shaped by irregular and less precise polishing than mudstone. Addition¬ally, the deeper bowls were found to have a intensive use of "figure-of-eight" shaped reamers. Craftsmen also selected techniques, processes, and tools according to vessel shape and size in addition to the hardness and nature of the stone. The detailed manufac¬ turing process of the cylindrical jars is also reconstructed. These cylindrical jars can be classified into two categories: high-quality and low-quality jars. The low-quality and small-sized jars were manufactured by a more intensive use of "figure-of-eight" shaped reamer. A comparison with quantitative data from other cemeteries at Abu Rawash and other Early Dynastic sites indicates that the low-quality and the small jars were probably supplied to Abu Rawash as "commoditized products" during the 2nd Dynasty. Finally, the article discusses the increased use of rota¬tional reaming techniques with a "figure-of- eight" shaped reamer in the manufacture of both cylindrical jars and bowls during the 2nd Dynasty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-157
Number of pages23
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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