The Distribution and Dating of Egyptian False Doors and Funerary Stelae of the First Intermediate Period: A Preliminary Analysis
The false door, later replaced by the stele, can be traced in the archaeological record from the end of the Old Kingdom to the beginning of the Middle Kingdom. It can be found throughout sites in Upper and Lower Egypt and across each of the major phases of rule, from the Memphites to the Herakleopolitans and the Thebans. However, studies to date have only considered the false door and stele within the parameters of individual sites or localised regions, for example: Dunham and Brovarski's studies at Naga ed-Deir (Brovarski 1989; Dunham 1937), Daoud's study at Memphis (2005) and Fischer's studies at Dendera (1968). There has been little attempt to date false doors and stelae across both time and place. To do so might make it possible to determine a benchmark for dating other events and material culture of the First Intermediate Period, as well as clearer patterns in artistic, administrative and social changes. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is twofold: (1) to present the preliminary findings from a site distribution of 562 Egyptian false doors and funerary stelae currently known from the First Intermediate Period (reigns of King Pepy II - Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II) and (2) to explore the results of a set of dating criteria applied to a representative group of 'well-dated' examples.