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The past as property – Cleopatra’s Needles and the reception of Ancient Egypt

The past as property – Cleopatra’s Needles and the reception of Ancient Egypt
The past as property – Cleopatra’s Needles and the reception of Ancient Egypt
This thesis uses the two Egyptian obelisks known as Cleopatra’s Needles, and particularly that one now in London, to examine the ways in which Ancient Egypt has been understood and valued through its material culture. It analyses the use of the term ‘reception’ in an archaeological context; how the material culture of the past acts as a mechanism of cultural transmission between societies, and how understanding of it can differ between groups within the receiving society. In particular it examines reception as a continuing and dynamic process, where the material culture of one society can be encountered by a succession of other cultures, directly or indirectly, and how understanding of such material culture can vary within a society both at a certain time, and over time. To do this it draws on the fact that it took nearly eighty years to bring one of the Needles to London. It argues that differences over time and between different groups in the way that the obelisks were received in London and New York can be usefully understood by applying concepts of property, ownership, and value, both monetary and non-monetary. Finally, it examines how far this approach can be more widely applied in archaeology, particularly to the reception of material culture.
University of Southampton
Elliott, Christopher Niall
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Elliott, Christopher Niall
ed4a1737-d775-4e89-b9db-6387850006ee
Moser, Stephanie
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Zakrzewski, Sonia
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Elliott, Christopher Niall (2019) The past as property – Cleopatra’s Needles and the reception of Ancient Egypt. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 246pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis uses the two Egyptian obelisks known as Cleopatra’s Needles, and particularly that one now in London, to examine the ways in which Ancient Egypt has been understood and valued through its material culture. It analyses the use of the term ‘reception’ in an archaeological context; how the material culture of the past acts as a mechanism of cultural transmission between societies, and how understanding of it can differ between groups within the receiving society. In particular it examines reception as a continuing and dynamic process, where the material culture of one society can be encountered by a succession of other cultures, directly or indirectly, and how understanding of such material culture can vary within a society both at a certain time, and over time. To do this it draws on the fact that it took nearly eighty years to bring one of the Needles to London. It argues that differences over time and between different groups in the way that the obelisks were received in London and New York can be usefully understood by applying concepts of property, ownership, and value, both monetary and non-monetary. Finally, it examines how far this approach can be more widely applied in archaeology, particularly to the reception of material culture.

Text
C Elliott Thesis - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only until 12 November 2022.
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.

More information

Published date: October 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 435865
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/435865
PURE UUID: 97a94baa-1991-4cbf-97ad-5743d949edc4
ORCID for Sonia Zakrzewski: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1796-065X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Nov 2019 17:30
Last modified: 23 Nov 2019 01:35

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Contributors

Author: Christopher Niall Elliott
Thesis advisor: Stephanie Moser
Thesis advisor: Sonia Zakrzewski ORCID iD

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