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II. Meroë as a Problem of Twenty-Fifth Dynasty History

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Chapter Summary

The special association between the site of Meroë and the problem of origins predates the academic discipline of archaeology, and its subsequent trajectory in the face of an accumulating material record has been one of mutation rather than extinction. Following the paradigm shifts in Nubiology precipitated by the UNESCO salvage operation in distant Lower Nubia, more recent interpretations of the site of Meroë have largely been shorn of that earlier hyperdiffusionism but not of the overriding emphasis on origin. This chapter presents apologiae and critiques of the two dominant schools of thought before proposing a third alternative which has received little discussion in the published literature to date: a scenario equally supported by the evidence but less devoted to the Idol of Origins. For the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, the implications of a gradual annexation of the Meroë region are quite different, suggesting less territorial expansion than has generally been assumed.

Keywords: Idol of Origins; Meroë; Nubiology; Twenty-Fifth dynasty; UNESCO salvage operation



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