Pharaonic Power and Architectural Labor Investment at the Karnak Temple Complex, Egypt

Author(s): Megan Drennan

Year: 2016


Labor investment studies, based on the notion that the energy of people is quantifiable, give an invaluable and unique insight into the architectural pursuits of past societies. This labor study of ancient Egypt provides a better understanding of authority among Egyptian pharaohs as represented by their legacy of monumental architecture. A site of profound importance to Egyptian society was the Karnak Temple Complex, specifically the precinct of Amun, which was aggrandized by pharaonic architectural attention over a span of 2,000 years. The primary objective of this research is to compare the leadership and expense invested in the building of Karnak over time, as it reveals the significance of these projects and therefore the power of each pharaoh. Investment was calculated using the volume of material used for each structure that composes the complex and was compared to pharaonic variables. I will present how variables of time, warfare, and the centralization of the government were strongly correlated with monumental building at Karnak. I argue that the results demonstrate that rulers with greater sociopolitical power expressed it through their successful building programs at Karnak. Likewise, it served as a justification for their authority, role, and military actions.

Cite this Record

Pharaonic Power and Architectural Labor Investment at the Karnak Temple Complex, Egypt. Megan Drennan. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 402917)


Architecture Egypt Labor

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;