Representational artistic works were researched as visual evidence for the social, political, religious and economic lifestyles of the ancient Egyptian elite. The aims were to comprehend the status of elite women and to challenge the hypothesis that during the New Kingdom they enjoyed an increased social status in comparison to that of their predecessors. Many artistic works were analysed (tomb and palace wall scenes, statues, obelisks and personal artefacts), on the quest for evidence for the roles of elite women in events, practices and rituals at the time when the objects were created. Various international museums were visited and personal observations are correlated with expert publications. The study concludes that the status of elite women in the New Kingdom was both significantly different and exalted in comparison with the status of their counterparts during earlier dynasties.
Master of Arts in Near Eastern Studies, University of South Africa, June 2008