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Accounting for the activities of funerary temples: the intertwining of the sacred and the profane

Ezzamel, Mahmoud 2005. Accounting for the activities of funerary temples: the intertwining of the sacred and the profane. Accounting and Business Research 35 (1) , pp. 29-51. 10.1080/00014788.2005.9729661

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This paper explores the role of accounting practices in the functioning of funerary temples (established to preserve the cult of important, dead individuals) from the Old Kingdom (2700–2181 BC), ancient Egypt. The paper identifies several roles played by accounting practices in this context, which involved the construction of various types of visibility: organisational, technical and dependency. Organisational visibility was manifest in the use of a combination of black and red ink in a grid, tabular format. Technical visibility involved the use of a noun- dominated limited vocabulary, various metrics of quantification and measurement, and a classification taxonomy. Dependency visibility clarified the linkages among various economic institutions and between them and the funerary temples as the latter drew on provisions supplied by the former. Accounting practices constructed funerary temples as both economic and spiritual institutions. There is also evidence to suggest that some abstract conceptualization of accounting was entertained by the ancient scribe who used accounting entries as a means of reconstructing activities into newly created realities. The paper concludes by arguing that accounting practices were part of an intertwined sacred/profane assemblage that did not recognize either dimension as discrete.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > C Auxiliary sciences of history (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 0001-4788
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:24

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