The cultural homeland of the Hyksos

Miriam Müller

The Hyksos are a much-debated topic in Egyptology and Near Eastern Studies. The cultural homeland of these enigmatic kings has been variously located in the Northern or Southern Levant. From here they had moved into the Egyptian Eastern Nile Delta to establish their power at the important trade hub Tell el-Dab’a, ancient Avaris during the Second Intermediate Period (1640-1530BC). Whereas the order of the Hyksos kings, their names and family relations are still very much debated, the site of Tell el-Dab’a gives insight into everyday life in their new capital.
Especially ritual practices and the socio-economic background of the city’s inhabitants, foremost in the period leading up to the Hyksos takeover of power, inform about their cultural background and foundations for the Hyksos rule. Inspired by the latest research around the Hyksos enigma and unexpected new insights into the Hyksos’ move to power, this lecture will provide an additional perspective on the roots of the Hyksos culture in Egypt. By presenting various aspects of daily practices as visible in one of the residential neighborhoods of Avaris (F/I) and tracing their origins to the region of the Upper Jezirah, the idea of a shared cultural koiné will be discussed.
Image© Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst München