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Liminal Deities in the Borderlands: Bes and Pataikos in Ancient Nubia

Erin E. Bornemann, Stuart Tyson Smith

Abstract


This paper examines amulets in the forms of the apotropaic liminal gods Bes and Pataikos, as represented in the archaeological assemblage from the site of Tombos in Upper Nubia. Through examination of these amulets under anthropological and archaeological conceptions of materiality, they can be linked to the individuals that would have come in contact with and used them; likewise, both object and individual can be connected back into the larger contemporary social sphere of which they would have been an active part. Tombos provides the primary case study for examining these amuletic forms in the Eighteenth and Twenty-fifth Dynasties, and examples from this site will be compared to others from sites in both Egypt and Nubia. This paper exemplifies the utility of materiality studies as applied to archaeological investigations of the daily lives and deaths of individuals in ancient Egyptian and Nubian society and hopes to foster further discussion of amuletic forms that made the transition from life into death.

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