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When Games get Lost: On the Disappearance of the Ancient Egyptian Board Game Mehen 1

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Résumé

The late fourth and early third millennium BC saw the rise in popularity of the mehen board game in Ancient Egypt. Its circular shaped game board with its characteristic coiled serpent as spatial game design appeared in a number of royal burial contexts, and also in inscriptions and wall paintings. A visible decline of mehen's popularity can be observed in the mid-3third millennium BC, leading ultimately to the total disappearance from the material culture of the Egyptians in the late third millennium. It is argued that the disappearance of mehen can be better understood by utilising Assmann's cultural memory theory. This study presents a concise material biography of mehen. Moreover, Assmann's cultural memory is introduced as theoretical apparatus through which mehen's transformations in material culture and representation are analysed. The conclusion regards mehen's disappearance as a result of mehen's fading role as object for establishing social identity.
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hal-03737320 , version 1 (24-07-2022)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03737320 , version 1

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Benjamin Hanussek. When Games get Lost: On the Disappearance of the Ancient Egyptian Board Game Mehen 1. XXIII BOARD GAME STUDIES COLLOQUIUM- The Evolutions of Board Games, Apr 2021, Paris, France. ⟨hal-03737320⟩
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