Present Theory Meets Past Practice 

5-6pm (UK) / 7-8pm (Egypt)

As the material culture from the settlement of Tell Gabbara (eastern Delta) undergoes study, the present focus is on its enigmatic potmark corpus. Markings incised deeply onto the interior surfaces of bread moulds have been equated with ancient branding activity, since such marks imprinted the surfaces of bread loaves with single textual signs during the baking process. In attempting to understand the meaning of ‘potmark-brands’, the application of modern branding theory allows us to view these markings as linguistically based messages and as logos. The universal value of the brands as logos bears implications for how they were negotiated in the blended literate and non-literate working environment of bread production. This presentation will draw from multiple disciplines such as marketing, clinical neuropsychology, and psycholinguistics to illustrate these salient features of potmark-brands in Early Dynastic Egypt.

Sabrina Rampersad is an Egyptologist with specialities in archaeological method and theory (University of British Columbia; University College London), Egyptian archaeology, ancient Egyptian language and literature, and Nubian A-Group archaeology (University of Toronto). As director of excavations at Tell Gabbara, a late Second Dynasty settlement in the eastern Nile Delta (c. 2700 BCE), she is working toward a better understanding of this still obscure era of the Egyptian past.

Don't miss it: If you're a subscriber, then you can read Dr Rampersad's latest article in volume 106 of the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology
Rampersad, S. 2020. 'Commodity Branding and Textual Potmarks: Three Bread Mould Intaglios from Tell Gabbara', JEA 106, 187-198.

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