The Tutankhamun Burnt Group from Gurob, Egypt: Bases for the absolute chronology of LH III A and B
In 1888-1890 W. Flinders Petrie excavated the kom of Gurob, at the entrance to Egypt's Fayum depression. He discovered a number of so-called "burnt groups": pits filled with layers of ash and smashed objects. These included Egyptian glass, stone, faience and pottery vessels, toilette articles, and jewellery, as well as Mycenaean Greek vases, mostly stirrup jars of LH III A and B style. Occasionally items with Egyptian royal names were also found, such as the two faience beads from the Tutankhamun Group. Petrie took these to indicate that all the objects in the associated group should be contemporary with the named ruler. Following upon Petrie's work, Furumark and others, to the present day, have used the groups to provide absolute dates, based on Egyptian absolute chronology, for the Mycenaean pottery styles. The most important group for the Aegean is the Tutankhamun Group, which contained pottery of both styles and which has been used to date the appearance of LH III B to the reign of Tutankhamun in the 18th Dynasty. An examination of the Egyptian objects from the group, however, indicates that, when they can be dated, many of them are Ramesside (Dyn. 19) in character. Further, a reinvestigation of the archaeological contexts of the groups, insofar as they can be reestablished, suggests that they were all intrusive into a royal palace or harim that was occupied until the end of Dynasty 18. They must, therefore, be no earlier than Dynasty 19. This new assessment of the Burnt Groups, and of the Tutankhamun Group in particular, agrees with the results obtained in other, more recent, excavations: importation of pottery in LH III A2 style continued well into Dynasty 19, and the pottery was possibly still being produced in Greece at this time. LH III B pottery, both Egyptian importation and Aegean production, belongs more properly to Dynasty 19.
0579: Ancient civilizations