This study examines the social functions of stone vessels in Early Dynastic society through a comparison between tomb architecture and the assemblage of stone vessels. The results demonstrated that the more valuable vessels, consisting of special wares and greenish stone vessels, were mostly restricted to high-status tombs in the Memphite and Abydos regions. This hierarchical structure places the king’s and highest officials’ tombs at the top of the hierarchy. Rulers probably distributed stone vessels to elites as part of their political strategy under the administrative institution and system developed since IIIC2. Furthermore, there are formal sets of stone vessels in elite tombs at provincial sites that are close to the vessel assemblage of the ritual list inscribed on funerary slabs during IIID. This suggests that stone vessels were likely brought to provincial areas to promote the offering ritual to local elites in this period. Thus, stone vessels functioned as a political medium for vertical and horizontal integration.
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