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The Cemeteries of F/I in the Strata d/2 (H) and d/1 (G/4),
late 12th Dynasty and early 13th Dynasty

by Robert Schiestl
  The area of F/I was excavated in the years 1979 – 1989 under the direction of Manfred Bietak.

The Cemetery of Stratum d/2
After an extended hiatus, in stratum d/2 (= H, equals the late 12th Dynasty) in the northern part of the area F/I a settlement, centering on a building of the Syrian so called "Mittelsaalhaus"-type, was built. (D. Eigner 1985) (pic. 1).
pic. 1
  Some tombs were built immediately south of this settlement, but the majority of the tombs lie in an area 50 m to the South. This area seems to have been used exclusively for funerary purposes in this period. The tombs found here are the oldest tombs discovered in Tell el-Dabca to date.

Most of the tombs are in the shape of chambers built of sun dried mud brick, set in pits (pic. 2).
pic. 2
  The chambers are covered by mud brick vaults of different types. The funerary architecture is Egyptian. A small number of tombs consists only of pits, without any architecture. Most people were buried individually, grown ups as well as children and infants. The tomb sizes vary considerably, ranging from very small box-like mud brick constructions for small children (pic. 3) to large many-chambered tombs (pic. 4).  
pic. 3   pic. 4
  The majority of the finds from the tombs is pottery and most of this is Egyptian in form, material and production. The most common shapes are medium to large dishes made of rough Nile clay (Nile C) and less frequent are hemispherical drinking cups made of a finer Nile silt clay (Nile B 1 and 2). The only large containers are ovoid bottles which originally would have most likely contained beer or water (pic. 5).
They possess the typical shape of the late 12th Dynasty - the necks are everted and the rims have a triangular lip. Some imported pottery from the Levant is found in the tombs as well, such as fragments of "Levantine Painted Ware", Canaanite storage jars and dipper juglets. However, this imported pottery constitutes only a small part, roughly 13 %, of the whole assemblage.
pic. 5
  Certain symbolic objects, such as weapons, are only represented by Syro-palestinian types, such as the duck bill axe (pic. 6 and pic. 7), javelin heads and a dagger with two mid-ribs (pic. 8). The earliest evidence, at Tell el-Dabca, for dunkey burials in the entrance pits of tombs or in separate pits is found in this cemetery. This is the beginning of a tradition which continues into the Hyksosperiod.

The inhabitants of this settlement and the people buried here are Asiatics (Egyptian c3mw). Their funerary culture is a remarkable combination of different traditions of Egypt and the Near East.
pic. 6   pic. 7   pic. 8
  Of special interest was the discovery of fragments of a smashed tomb statue. The head, parts of the cloak and the seat were found in tomb p/19-Nr. 1, other fragments, such as a joining shoulder and the left foot were discovered in near by tombs (pic. 9).
The statue was made of limestone and originally was larger than life. It portrayed a seated man wearing a striped cloak and a red, mushroom shaped headdress. Such headdresses are found on various Egyptian depictions of Asiatics in the Middle Kingdom. The skin color of the man is shown yellowish. In the right hand he is holding a throw stick which is resting against his right shoulder. Egyptian Middle Kingdom images showing people as Asiatics most commonly show these as conquered enemies. This man held a position of power, on a local level; He reached this position, however, by maintaining, even emphasizing, what for the Egyptians constituted an "Asiatic".
pic. 9
Eigner D.
Der ägyptische Palast eines asiatischen Königs, in: Jahreshefte des Österreichischen Archäologischen Instituts in Wien 56, 1985, 19-25.
Schiestl R.
Some Links Between a Late Middle Kingdom Cemetery at Tell el-Dabca and Syria-Palestine: The Necropolis of F/I, Strata d/2 and d/1 (= H and G/4), in: M. BIETAK (Hrsg.), The Middle Bronze Age in the Levant. Proceedings of an International Conference on MB IIA Ceramic Material in Vienna, 24th –26th of January 2001, Contributions to the Chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean 3, Denkschriften der Gesamtakademie 26, Wien 2002, 329-352.
Putting the Pieces Together: The Statue of a Canaanite Dignitary from Tell el-Dabca, in: MIROSCHEDJI, P. u. a. (Hrsg.), Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Paris, April 15th-19th, 2002, Paris, in press.
The Statue of an Asiatic Man from Tell el-Dabca, Egypt, Ägypten und Levante 16, 2006, 173-185
Tell el-Dabca XVIII. Die Palastnekropole von Tell el-Dabca. Die Gräber der Straten d/2 und d/1 des Areals F/I in Tell el Dabca, Ausgrabungen in Tell el-Dabca, Untersuchungen der Zweigstelle Kairo des Österreichischen Archäologischen Instituts XXX, Denkschriften der Gesamtakademie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften XLVII, Wien 2009