The Sacred Landscape of Dra Abu el-Naga
Maria de los Ángeles Jiménez-Higueras [+]
Spanish National Research Council, Madrid
The aim of this chapter is to present the study of the spatial development of the sacred landscape of the southern area and the beginning of the northern of Dra Abu el-Naga from the 18th to the 20th Dynasties (1550-1069 BC). This multidisciplinary work analyses the topographical elements of this area, together with the geomorphologic, architectural and archaeological changes that Dra Abu el-Naga encountered throughout the New Kingdom in order to explain how the distribution of the territory took place. In this sense, I will resort to Geographical Information System's studies as they enable us to connect the landscape features with the cultural, socio-political and religious background, which also played a very important role in the distribution of the territory. My working hypothesis is based on the existence of a clear connection between the private tombchapels and the mortuary and cult temples, as well as between the location, size and quality of the tomb and the status of the owner when it came to select the location of a tomb. The methodological approach that we are going to adopt is based on Landscape Archaeology, which suggests an approach to the spatial reality of ancient populations from different variables, defining landscape in a more holistic and relational sense, including pieces of evidence that due to their characteristics are closer to the symbolic and conceptual. Three different but complementary analyses of the tombs of Dra Abu el-Naga will be addressed: 1. Study and development of the tombs from an archaeological and architectural point of view throughout the New Kingdom, by focusing on their external part, as this modifies our vision of the necropolis and the landscape. 2. A Prosopographical and Genealogical Study of the tomb-chapels’ owners is going to be carried out, with special attention to the familial and professional relationships between the owners. This study expects to verify whether social status and kinship relationships played a part in the choice of the place 9 for the location of a tomb, determining whether the tombs of family members were intentionally located according to a spatial relationship between them, and to ascertain whether there is a clustering of tombs or family complexes or not. 3. A study of the distribution of the territory and its connection with other areas of the necropolis and the surrounding religious-cultic zones by using GIS technology. In addition to the visibility study, a reconstruction of the ancient paths and processional routes will be carried out with a view to finding an explanation for this site’s layout after analysing the evidences and data collected in a survey at Dra Abu el-Naga South between February and April 2013.