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The Management of Estates and their Resources in the Egyptian Old Kingdom

Joyce Swinton
Publication Year:
261pp. Includes 45 figures, 17 tables
ISBN 10:
BAR number:


The subject of this study is an examination of the resources at the disposal of the elite class of Old Kingdom officials who administered the state on behalf of the crown. Their assets included one or more rural estates either owned outright or held in usufruct and/or enjoyed according to a land-owning system referred to as the pr Dt (estate), and all that the estate produced: a workforce if in some way bound to the estate, buildings, means of transport, household and personal effects. The resources available to these officials were the products of the estate: livestock, annually grown field crops and what could be procured from the desert margins, waterways and marshlands. Their assets and resources contributed to officials' status and authority and provided the crown with an elite class of administrators available for state service. This examination of Old Kingdom estates is based on a study of funerary images and inscriptional material that may throw light on the economic basis of high officials and on the value that they attached to the different resources at their disposal.