Off the Record – tomorrow!

Don’t forget that tomorrow we have Dr. Elizabeth Bloxam talking on…

Socialising landscapes of procurement: investigating the social context of 4th millennium BC ornamental stone quarrying in the Wadi Hammamat region of Egypt’s Eastern Desert


Dr Elizabeth Bloxam – Thu 5th May 1:00pm / Room 209

The Wadi Hammamat greywacke quarries in the Egyptian Eastern Desert are the source of some of Egypt’s most important cultic objects, in particular ceremonial palettes, synonymous with the rise of early elites during the 4th millennium BC.  The Wadi Hammamat Project, a joint UCL and Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities collaboration, is the first of its kind to undertake a holistic, multi-disciplinary characterisation and documentation of the quarry landscape from prehistory into the present day.

Our initial research objectives have been to explore the prehistory of quarrying to assess the linkages between changes in resource procurement strategies, and social transformations in the early monumental societies of the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East. Comparatively and cross-culturally, research of quarries particularly in European and Australian contexts, has set new agendas to the ways in which we interpret, from the bottom up, the cultural and technological aspects of resource procurement within broader frameworks of social life.

Within these models, this seminar discusses and analyses material culture from our recent discovery of the earliest (Predynastic) 4th millennium BC greywacke palette, bracelet and vessel quarries in the Wadi Hammamat.  It aims to discuss the extent to which the quarry landscape was a key arena of contact in local and regional social networks of mobile stone-working specialists, and therefore a context for generational technological transmission over time. It also discusses these findings in relation to the ‘socialisation’ of the landscape through inscribing, an aspect that endures from prehistory into the present day.

Dr. Bloxam has published on this topic here:


As usual all welcome and feel free to bring your lunch!


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