Egyptian Phyles in the Old Kingdom: The Evolution of a System of Social Organization
Groups of part-time workers called phyles served in mortuary cults and work crews during the Old Kingdom in Egypt. This study clarifies their attributes and functioning in these and other institutions, based on the integration of textual and archaeological evidence from the Old Kingdom and the Archaic period preceding it. The arguments suggest that phyles originated in an upper Egyptian social organization dated to the predynastic period, and that they played a more important role than is generally realized in the stability of the early Egyptian state.
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