Ancient Remains as Life's Stage: Differing Perspectives on Life in the Theban Necropolis

Kees van der Spek

in The Modern Neighbors of Tutankhamun

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9789774164033
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781617970917 | DOI:
Ancient Remains as Life's Stage: Differing Perspectives on Life in the Theban Necropolis

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This chapter explains the situation in al-Qurna during mid-November 1997, at the start of the anthropological fieldwork: the scenario of local and global forces behind what has become known as the “Luxor Massacre,” the sudden collapse of the tourism industry during what otherwise would have been the year's busiest season, and the physical and emotional trauma that resulted for local villagers. The particular conditions of the Egyptian winters of 1997–98 provided sets of circumstances that allowed ethnographic observation of not only social and economic activity in this archaeological landscape, but also of the strategies people employ to make ends meet during such episodes of adversity. The history and plurality of social and economic practices that were found to operate in the Theban foothills became a leitmotif of resilience that connected and gave meaning to much of the ethnographic material, in the process countering long-held assumptions about life and human activity in the Theban Necropolis.

Keywords: al-Qurna; Luxor Massacre; Egyptian winter; Theban foothills; Theban Necropolis

Chapter.  7867 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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