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Social networks in the Middle Kingdom

PhD-Student: Isabel Steinhardt-Sedlak

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Richard Bußmann (University of Cologne), Prof. Dr. Stephan Seidlmayer (Free University Berlin / German Archaeological Institute Cairo)

The project contributes to social-historical research of the Middle Kingdom (approx. 20th – 18th century BC) through the study and analysis of social networks. For this period in particular, the extensive preservation of primary sources makes it possible to identify individuals, trace their relationships to one another and thus reconstruct their networks. By comparing these networks, conclusions can be drawn about social and societal structures.

The aim of this project is to study and analyse local networks, social milieus, and societal structures, taking into account all sources and genres. The focus will lie mainly on individuals and their connections and relationships with other people.

The data forming the basis of this study are selected corpora, containing all of the prosopographic evidence from particular locations and different contexts from the Middle Kingdom. As a supplementary method, social network analysis (SNA) will be applied to those corpora in order to establish whether and how the method and the resulting illustrations can contribute to a better understanding of the social and societal structures.