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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

All Research Projects

Mr James Bennett


2007-2010 BA (Hon) Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool

2010-2011 MA (Distinction) Egyptology University of Liverpool

Research topic

The Development of Settlements in Egypt During the Third Intermediate Period (1069-664 B.C.)


The project looks to collect all archaeological and textual evidence relating to the settlements and cities of the Third Intermediate Period. Each settlement is then placed onto a map of Egypt. By doing this it allows for settlement patterns to be assessed at both a countrywide and a regional level using GIS. These maps are combined with studies on the political, religious and socio-economic developments of the period to define factors that affected the way in which settlement patterns developed. The research also looks to understand the way in which settlements changed and the overall development of urbanism throughout the period. The evidence suggests that Egypt during the Third Intermediate Period developed an urban model based on the city state systems culture, like its contemporary civilizations in the Near East and Aegean. 

The research further analyses the architectural developments of domestic buildings and their relationships to the administrative and religious buildings that surrounded them. It looks at individual architectural features such as enclosure walls, palaces, cemetery areas, domestic structures and districts and industrial areas. It looks at the building materials used and how the houses were constructed. Furthermore the research addresses how the Third Intermediate Period structures utilized the existing landscape around them, including the natural landscape and the already existing structures of the earlier periods of Egyptian history such as the temples and cemetery areas. A question that will be discussed is do the people of the Third Intermediate Period simply continue to live in buildings of the New Kingdom, or do they construct new settlements or re-use existing non-domestic structures? Finally by documenting the everyday objects and ceramics found within the buildings, we can begin to attribute room functions as well as overall building functions. This in turn will lead to the typologies of domestic equipment being put together and from this the different domestic levels can begin to be dated thus giving a chronology for architectural development during this period.

Research Interests

Ancient cities and the development of urbanism

The archaeology of domestic settlements in Egypt

The environmental and geological development of the Nile Delta

Settlement patterns in ancient Egypt

Egypt in the 1st Millennium BC

Ancient Egyptian architecture

The use of mud brick in architectural building

Egyptian material culture of the 1st millennium BC

The taphonomy of Nile Delta settlements

Ancient Egyptian language

The nature of city-states in the 1st Millennium BC

The history of Egyptology

Egyptian burial assemblages of the 1st Millennium BC

Egyptian chronology of the 1st Millennium BC

Excavations in Egypt

2014: Archaeologist, Egypt Exploration Society and Durham University, (Director Dr. P. Wilson)

2012-2014: Athribis (Middle Egypt). (Excavation Supervisor) University of Tubingen. (Directors: Professor C. Leitz and Dr. M. Muller)

2009-2015: Tell Timai (North Eastern Egyptian Delta) (Excavation Supervisor) University of Hawaii (Directors. Professor R. Littman and Dr. J. Silverstein, Dr M. Kenawi).

Grants and Awards

2011 AHRC Award MA in Egyptology Liverpool, Full tuition and accommodation Costs

2014 Egypt Exploration Society Centenary Award: £3000 ‘Survey and Excavation of Tell Gumaiyima

2015 AIA Hawaii, $1000 Survey of Tell Gumaiyima

Conference Presentations

J.E.Bennett, ‘Libyan Tribal Society and City-State Systems: A Model for the Development of Settlements during the Third Intermediate Period’ at the Egyptological Conference in Copenhagen, Life and Heritage in Ancient Egypt, 6th-8th May 2015

J.E.Bennett, Travelling through the 21st Dynasty with Amenemope: Archaeological Reality or Didactic Fantasy?, Current Research in Egyptology XVI Oxford, 15-18 April 2015

J.E. Bennett, ‘Tells, Toponyms and The Third Intermediate Period: Creating a New Settlement Location Map for the 21st – 25th Dynasty’, Current Research in Egyptology XV, Ancient Egypt in a Global World, University College London and Kings College London, 9-12 April 2014.

J.E. Bennett, ‘The Terracottas from the University of Hawaii’s Excavations at Tell Timai (Thmouis) in the North Eastern Delta. Function, Dating and Provenance’, Kontextualisierung von Terrakotten im spätzeitlichen bis spätantiken Ägypten. Tagung vom 6. bis 8. Dezember 2013 im Martin von Wagner Museum, Würzburg.

J. Haney, J. Bennett and R. Littman, ‘Recent Excavations near the Center of Thmuis: A Late Roman Period Room Deposit’, Society for American Archaeology 77th Annual Meeting, April 18-22, 2012, Memphis Tennessee

Upcoming Conference Presentations

J.E. Bennett, ‘A Report on the Excavations at Tell Timai (Thmuis): The North Western Zone of the City’ International Congress of Egyptologists XI, Florence Italy August 23rd – 30th 2015

J.E. Bennett, ‘Appraising the Potential for Settlement Pattern Studies during the Third Intermediate Period: A Regional Study of the Theban Nome and the North Eastern Nile Delta’, 5th International Congress for Young Egyptologists: Tradition and Transformation in Ancient Egypt, 15 – 19 September 2015, University of Vienna

Durham University Research Seminars

October 1st 2014: Collaborating within a Worldwide Egyptological Academic Community and A New Archaeological Expedition to the North Eastern Nile Delta, James Bennett (PhD Archaeology/Egyptology)

November 20th 2013: The Late Ptolemaic – Early Roman Temple Foundations in the northern area of Tell Timai, James Bennett (PhD, Archaeology/Egyptology)

February 7th 2013: A Season at Athribis 2012-2013: Uncovering Ancient Egypt's Last Great Stone Temple, James Bennett(PhD, Archaeology/Egyptology)

November 15 2012: The Development of Egyptian Settlement in the Third Intermediate Period: An Overview of the Research, James Bennett (PhD, Archaeology/Egyptology)

Community Outreach Teaching and Talks

J.E. Bennett, ‘Excavations at Tell Timai (Thmouis)’. North East Ancient Egypt Society (NEAES) in collaboration with the Joseph Cowan Lifelong Learning Centre CIC, Newcastle. (Commercial Union House, Newcastle, UK).

Lecturer in ‘Beginners Hieroglyphs’ (2013-2014) held at Durham University.


J. E. Bennett, ‘A Troupe of Six Terracotta Acrobat Figurines found in a Votive Pit at Thmuis’, in ZÄS 141/2 (2014), 105-111.


2014 – 2016: Co-Chair (2015-2016) of the Permanent Committee for the Current Research In Egyptology Conference

Teaching 2013-2015

Archaeology in Action (ARCH1071)

Ancient Civilizations of the East (ARCH1111), including museum handling sessions.

Ancient Empires of the East (ARCH2141), museum handling sessions.

East Mediterranean in the Bronze Age (ARCH 2141)

Research Projects

  • Ceramics

Scottish Soldiers Project

Cooperating with the Palace Museum in China