This book is a profusely illustrated preliminary attempt to make sense of one of the least known ceramic periods of Ancient Egypt. It brings together a mass of material ascribed to the Late New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period from more than fifty old excavation reports, together with a number of previously unpublished pots excavated in recent years and included through the generosity of the publishers and excavators concerned.
The book begins by considering all of the published groups of pottery dated to the Twentieth Dynasty and the Third Intermediate Period, followed by a gazetteer of sites, arranged geographically from Buto in the north to Elephantine in the south, where pottery of the twelfth to seventh centuries has reputedly been found. Each context is examined and, in many cases, the reputed dates are defined more closely by examining other objects found with the pots, sometimes to the effext of removing the
context from the Third Intermediate Period altogether. Indeed it becomes quickly apparent that the Petrie-Brunton school of pottery dates, followed almost universally and uncritically ever since the early days of Egyptology, is consistently too early; most of their so-called XXIInd Dynasty pottery is, in fact, contemporary with the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, whilst their XXIIIrd Dynasty material is generally Saite or Persian.
Once these contexts are re-examined, however, it becomes clear that the pottery of the Late New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period can be divided into three major phases, one contemporary with the twelfth to tenth centuries, one contemporary with the tenth to mid eighth century and a final one dating to the eighth and seventh centuries BC. The first two, the earliest of which almost certainly had an early and a late subphase, seem to occur throughout the entire country, but during the final phase there appear to be marked differences between northern forms and those found in the south, and this final phase is divided into a Phase III N(orth) and a Phase III S(outh). Each of the defined ceramic phases is then examined in turn and typical pots illustrated for each one.
Short sections are then devoted to the styles of decoration found during the Late New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, and to the foreign pots imported into Egypt during these times. Finally the text is rounded off with an epilogue giving a brief hint of how pottery development continued during the Saite and Persian periods.