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Books on Egyptology

The Archive Library — October 1997


Francesco Abbate (Ed). [1966] Transl. H.A. Fields. Octopus Books, 1972.
Alternating periods of power and decline were vividly mirrored in the work of generations of artists and craftsmen, seldom departing from the set bounds of tradition and convention, culminating in the varied masterpieces of the New Kingdom. Magic, funeral rites, and pictorial canon. Chronological outline of Egyptian history; bibliography; index of illustrations. 158 pages.

Claudio Barocas. [1970] English trans. Readers Digest, 1972.
In examining the architectural heritage of Egypt, Barocas relates the pyramids, tombs and temples of the Nile valley to the diverse patterns of Egyptian society as it evolved across three thousand years.He discusses the conditions of Egyptian life, the struggles for empirical and internal power, the role of the priestly caste in centralising that power in the person of the omnipotent Pharaoh, and the subsequent conflicts between Church and State. Covers the Old Kingdom; the Middle Kingdom; the New Kingdom; the Ptolemaic Period. Appendices cover: The Royal Archaeologists of Ancient Egypt; Egypt's Monuments usurped by foreigners; The Monuments in the Shadows; The dawn of modern archaeology in Egypt. Chronological chart; map; index. 191 pages.

John Baines & Jaromir Malek. Phaidon Press, 1980.
Egyptian culture presented in the form of an atlas. In addition to many historical and topological maps, there is substantial text by two distinguished Egyptologists, numerous photographs and drawings. Central section of the book is a journey down the Nile, describing some 90 sites where significant discoveries have been made, or spectacular monuments stand, preceded by chapters on the cultural background in terms of geography, archaeology, history, art and architecture; later chapters focus on aspects of Egyptian society - daily life, religion, the army, the role of women. Special visual features pick out themes for closer study - the pyramids, representational conventions in art, hieroglyphic writing. Glossary; bibliography; Gazetteer; index. 240 pages.

THE ORION MYSTERY: Unlocking the Secrets of the Pyramids
Robert Bauval & Adrian Gilbert. William Heinemann Ltd/BCA, 1994.
The text-book theory is that the pyramids were royal tombs; Bauval and Gilbert have investigated the Pyramid Texts and their links with the stellar alignments of the Giza pyramids and the mysterious passage systems and shafts of the Cheops pyramid. Their view is that the contentious 'air shafts' are precise stellar alignments, in particular with Orion and Sirius - representing Osiris and Isis - and that the Great Pyramid is a stone-age star clock. The Giza pyramids are laid out in terrestrial imitation of the constellation of Orion.... Bibliography; index. 325 pages.

THE BOOK OF THE DEAD: The Hieroglyphic Transcript & English Translation of the Papyrus of Ani
E.A. Wallis Budge (introduction). Gramercy Books, NY, 1994.
A facsimile of two volumes published by the Medici Society in 1913, with plates reduced to black&white. The Book of the Dead is a collection of texts that the ancient Egyptian scribes composed for the benefit of the dead - spells and incantations, hymns and litanies, magical formulae and names, words of power and prayers. The 78-foot Papyrus of Ani is the longest papyrus of the Book of the Dead from the Theban period. Dating from 1420BC it was created for Ani, a royal scribe. Index. 704 pages.

Howard Carter. [Original publication 1923, 1927 & 1933]. Barrie & Jenkins/BCA, 1972.
The discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922 is a landmark in archaeological history. This story of the discovery, first published in instalments between 1923 and 1933, is here told by Howard Carter, who led the work of excavation. The text is complemented by Harry Burton's contemporary photographs. Appendices: Report on the examination of Tutankhamen's mummy; Report on floral wreaths found in the coffins of Tutankhamen. Index. 238 pages.

Lionel Casson. Time-Life Books, 1966.
Life on the Nile;the war machine; gods and the after-life; the Pharaoh and his people; the pyramid builders; hieroglyphs; the centuries of decline. Appendices: Chronologies; the Egyptian Pantheon. Index. 192 pages.

CHRONICLES OF THE PHARAOHS: Reign-by-reign Record of Rulers & Dynasties
Peter A. Clayton. Thames & Hudson/BCA, 1994.
First book to set down in narrative form, using timelines and other visual aids, all the rulers and dynasties of Egypt in their chronological order. From Narmer, who first united the lands along the Nile, to Cleopatra some 3000 years later. The five Royal Names of the Pharaohs; bibliography; index. 224 pages.

THE PYRAMID BUILDERS OF ANCIENT EGYPT: A modern investigation of Pharaoh's workforce
Rosalie David. Routledge, Kegan & Paul/BCA, 1986.
The Egyptian builders of the pyramids are revealed as simple people, leading ordinary lives while they are engaged on building the great tomb for a Pharaoh. The book describes the work of the Kahun Project at Manchester Museum which, since 1980, has been reworking the major collection of objects excavated by Flinders Petrie at Kahun in 1887. Kahun was a pyramid workmen's town, and uniquely important because no such site had been discovered or excavated before. Bibliography; index. 269 pages.

Rosalie David. Michael O'Mara Books/BCA, 1993.
How the discoveries of early travellers, archaeologists, and philologists have helped us understand the ancient Egyptian world and its civilisation. First, a general introduction to the men and women who travelled to Egypt to see the great monuments, excavate them, and ultimately, to interpret this information into historical facts. Second, a survey of the most famous sites and initial discoveries. Finally, an outline history of Egypt which attempts to show how evidence derived from excavations has helped Egyptologists to reconstruct the main developments and events, and indicates some of the difficulties involved in providing details for periods of history for which archaeological data is scanty or missing. Index. 192 pages.

Aidan Dodson. The Rubicon Press, 1995.
A concise account of the lives and times of some of the more significant occupants of the Egyptian throne, from the unification of the country around 3000BC down to the extinction of native rule just under three millennia later. Chronology & the Kings of Ancient Egypt / The Royal Cemeteries / Maps /
Guide to further reading / Index. 238 pages.

Werner Forman & Stephen Quirke. Opus/BCA, 1996.
Egyptian hieroglyphs unite art & writing in a conscious plan to attain eternal life. The success of that plan can be read in the 3000-year lifespan of Pharaonic tradition, and can only be understood through its religious foundation. Stephen Quirke sets out the history of the texts designed to guarantee life beyond death, from the Pyramid Texts for kings and queens, c.2400BC, to the Book of the Dead used by King and subject alike after 1600BC. Concept and photography by Werner Forman. Hieroglyph Script and Art / Pyramids, Mute and Voiced / Human made Divine: the Coffin Texts / Surviving Death in an Age of Empire / Revivals of the Past in the First Millennium BC / The last Flowering: Afterlife in Roman Egypt. Glossary of Names & Terms; Bibliography; Chronological Table; Map of Ancient Egypt; Index. 192 pages.

Nicolas Grimal. [1988] Transl. Ian Shaw. Blackwell, 1992.
From the first human settlement in the Nile Valley, c.120,000BC, to the appearance of Alexander the Great, c.331BC, this history blends archaeological and textual evidence into a lucid and informed narrative. Appendix: Chronology of Ancient Egypt. Glossary; bibliography;index. 512 pages.

TUTANKHAMEN: The Untold Story
Thomas Hoving. [1978]. Hamish Hamilton/BCA, 1979.
The uncovering of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 was one of the most important discoveries in the history of modern archaeology. It changed the course of archaeological expeditions - no longer were foreigners and advanturers able simply to walk in and appropriate whatever they could find of ancient civilizations. In all of the accounts so far published - including Carter's - some of the most important facts were not revealed. These facts, overlooked or suppressed, substantially change the official, and up to now unquestioned, story. Index. 384 pages.

CENTURIES OF DARKNESS: a challenge to the conventional chronology of Old World archaeology
Peter James. Jonathan Cape 1991, Pimlico paperback 1992.
A tantalising archeological riddle of the Old World is the "Dark Age", an economical and cultural recession so devastating it lasted for 400 years from 1200 to 800 BC. The suggestion is made here that existing chronologies for that crucial phase in human history are in error by several centuries and that, in consequence, history will have to be rewritten. Chronological tables & maps. Index. 434 pages.

THE WISDOM OF ANCIENT EGYPT: Writings from the time of the Pharaohs
Joseph Kaster. Michael O'Mara Books 1968. BCA, 1995.
Comparatively little of the literature of Ancient Egypt has been readily available in a format that gives the modern reader insight into this complex civilisation. Kaster has selected a sampling of many literary genres from documents which have survived over 4000 years: creation myths, work songs, love poems, rituals of the Divine Cult, hymns, prayers, incantations and curses. 305 pages.

ECHOES OF THE ANCIENT SKIES: The Astronomy of Lost Civilisations
E.C. Krupp. Harper & Row, 1983. OUP paperback, 1994.
Archeoastronomy, the interdisciplinary study of ancient, prehistoric, and traditional astronomy and its cultural context, has become more anthropologically oriented. Archeoastronomists are more interested in understanding how astronomy affects society and culture than in identifying astronomical alignments, although these remain an important element of research. The sky symbolism of Osiris; "stretching the cord" ceremony; sky gods, sacred kingship - the connection between earth and sky; sky myths and cosmic order - the celestial components of funerals and tombs and the journeys of the dead; the Great Pyramid, royal tombs of the New Kingdom; the three calendars of dynastic Egypt; rituals - the "opening of the mouth" ceremony; solar sanctuaries of the New Kingdom. Bibliography; index. 386 pages.

Enrico Leospo. Hawk Books,
Illustrated guide to the burial sites of Saqqara and the pyramids of Giza. The Cheops pyramid represents the zenith of pyramid building and has inspired a wealth of pseudo-scientific literature based on the esoteric significanace of its dimensions and angles, and the calculations for its proportions. Maps and index. 76 pages.

ISLAND OF ISIS: Philae, Temple of the Nile
William MacQuitty. Macdonald & Jane's Publishers, 1976.
When the second Aswan dam was opened in 1971, Philae, most beautiful of Egyptian temples , was trapped beneath the waters. UNESCO and the Egyptian government constructed a coffer dam around the island; the water was pumped out, and the carvings and inscriptions on the buildings were recorded by photogrammetry, preparatory to the dismantling and re-erection of the temple complex on the neighbouring island of Agilkia, safe above the Nile waters. This book is a celebration of the rebirth of Philae, the 'Pearl of Egypt'. Also: Abu Simbel - project completed; List of the Ptolemies; Chronological table; List of gods & goddesses; index. 192 pages.

Geoffrey T. Martin. Thames & Hudson, 1991.
An expedition which started with a search for Maya's tomb, also revealed a series of spectacular funerary monuments, Horemheb, Princess Tia (Ramesses the Great's sister), and other courtiers of New Kingdom Egypt. Chronology; bibliography; index. 216 pages.

David Macauley. [1975]. Collins, 1977.
Macaulay has taken account of all the archaeological evidence available and presented us with the two prevailing views on pyramid construction. Glossary. 80 pages.

THE PLUNDERED PAST: The Traffic in Art Treasures
Karl Meyer. Hamish Hamilton, 1974.
The documented result of three years of pioneer investigation into the illicit traffic in stolen art and pillaged antiquities Mentions appeals to save Egyptian archeological sites; laws on art and antiquities; looting of art by the French under Napoleon; the Nefertiti bust; the offer of the Temple of Dendur to the US. Bibliography & index. 353 pages.

Kurt Mendelssohn. Thames & Hudson/BCA, 1974.
The thesis put forward is a simple one: the pyramids of Egypt are immensely large, very ancient and, by general concensus, extremely useless. These man-made mountains, containing altogether more than 25 million tons of quarried limestone, were heaped up in just over a century. The ancient Egyptians expended an almost unbelievable amount of labour in constructing them, with no immediately obvious beneficial return to the populace. Dr Mendelssohn examines the history of the pyramids, the question of whether they were burial places or cenotaphs, and the physical laws that governed their erection. Stemming from this comes the answer to the problem of the curious shape of the Meidum pyramid, which arose from an ancient technological disaster, and the final solution to the whole riddle. What mattered was not the pyramid itself but the actual building of the pyramid, and the colossal labour effort involved as a political and economic object in achieving the formation of a centralised state. Mendelssohn tests the feasibility of this solution on the Mexican pyramids. Appendix: Astronomy, Prophecy and Reality. Bibliography; index. 224 pages.

WARRIOR PHARAOHS: The Rise and Fall of the Egyptian Empire
P.H. Newby. BCA, 1980.
Under the pharaohs of the New Kingdom, Ancient Egypt reached the zenith of its power and cultural achievement. After centuries of comparative security and isolation, a successful war of liberation gainst the alien Hyksos released a national fervour that had long been dormant. Tuthmosis III and Ramesses II, under the banner of their god Amun, pushed the borders of their empire deep into Nubia to the south, and successfully challenged the Mitannians and Hittites for control of the Near East. While the wealth of these new territories enabled them to build some of the most grandiose monuments ever erected, this imperial splendour only concealed the growth of fatal problems - rampant bureaucracy and increasing theocratic power.Ramesses III repelled another invasion, by the Libyans and mysterious 'Sea Peoples', but the empire was in decline and finally withdrew into cultural and political impotence. Index. 212 pages.

FACES OF PHARAOHS: Royal Mummies and Coffins from Ancient Thebes
Robert B. Partridge. Rubicon Press / BCA 1994.
At the end of the last century, two tombs were discovered at Luxor which contained the mummies of some of Egypt's greatest pharaohs and members of their families and court. When their original tombs had been robbed, the mummies were removed by priests to a more secure site, where they remained hidden for over 3000 years. Partridge brings together all the photographs of the mummies and coffins found in the two 'Royal Caches' and other royal burials, together with all the latest information and ideas about this unique collection of royal remains. Bibliography; index. 242 pages.

Christopher Pick (Ed). John Murray, 1991.
Selected extracts from the writings of British, American and European visitors to Egypt during the last two centuries, starting in early 1800s with Vivant Denon, an artist in Napoleon's entourage, and Giovanni Belzoni, who penetrated the second Pyramid and uncovered the temple of Rameses II at Abu Simbel. And the roll-call includes Flaubert, Lear, Holman Hunt, E.M. Forster, Lawrence Durrell, Freya Stark, Howard Carter and Flinders Petrie. Sources & index. 270 pages.

THE COMPLETE TUTANKHAMUN: The King The Tomb The Royal Treasure
Nicholas Reeves. Thames & Hudson 1990. Reprinted 1994.
Carter never produced a complete account of his excavations; he died, a disillusioned and exhausted man, in 1939. His notes survive, together with Carter's fine drawings and reconstructions and the extensive series of superb photographs made by Harry Burton of the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art during the clearance of the tomb. Further reading, Index. 224 pages.

THE COMPLETE VALLEY OF THE KINGS: Tombs & Treasures of Egypt's Greatest Pharaohs
Nicholas Reeves & Richard H. Wilkinson. Thames & Hudson/BCA 1996
Definitive account of the world's most famous royal cemetry, with detailed coverage of over 80 tombs, accompanied by factfiles, lists of contents, and cutaway views; burials and mummies of the great pharaohs, including Tutankhamun and Ramesses the Great; the rediscovery of the tombs, from Greek and Roman times to Howard Carter and the present day; latest findings of international teams currently active in the valley, including the spectacular new excavation of the tomb of the sons of Ramesses the Great; the planning, ritual purpose and decoration of the tombs; guide for visitors. Chronology / Map of Valley of Kings / Preparations for the Afterlife / Agents of Discovery / Tombs of the Kings / Decline of a Royal Necropolis. Further reading; Sources of quotations; Index. 224 pages.

Alessandro Roccati. Hawk Books,
One of the most important religious and political centres of the Egypt of the Pharaohs was developed during the second millenium BC at Karnak, expanding to include Luxor. Plans and index. 76 pages.

John Romer. Michael Joseph/BCA, 1981.
The Valley of the Kings is a 40-acre site which contains all the known tombs of the pharaohs of the Egyptian New Kingdom. Over 15 years, Romer has come to know the Valley more intimately than any of his predecessors.
This is an account of the tombs of the ancient kings, queens and nobles from three dynasties who were buried here between 1570 and 1085 BC. And it is the story of the archaeologists who have worked here. Appendix: The ancient names for the parts of the Royal Tomb. Bibliography; index. 293 pages.

ROMER'S EGYPT: A New Light on the Civilization of Ancient Egypt
John Romer. Michael Joseph/BCA, 1982.
The BBC TV series 'Romer's Egypt' gave Romer the opportunity to revisit historical sites which for him carry a significance beyond their immediate interest as evidence of a vanished culture. Taking a number of themes - ancient Egyptian creation myths, burials, the architectural innovation of the pyramid - he builds up a picture of a people living by a great river, its behaviour affecting every aspect of life. Appendix: People & Places. Bibliography; index. 224 pages.

ANCIENT LIVES: The Story of the Pharaohs' Tombmakers
John Romer. George Weidenfeld & Nicolson/BCA, 1984.
More than 3000 years ago a village was established at Thebes on the west bank of the Nile, to house the workers who created the tombs of the Pharaohs in the Valley of Kings. Stonemasons, painters, sculptors, quarrymen, scribes, lived with their wives and children in the village, and worked closely together in the sacred valley. Romer recreates their lives in intimate detail; traces the fortunes of the villagers from the great days of Ramesses II through the slow decline of the Egyptian empire. Maps; chronology; time-chart of major personalities; bibliography; index. 235 pages.

John & Elizabeth Romer. Michael O'Mara Books/BCA, 1993.
There is a perennial danger of flash flooding in the Valley of Kings, a catastrophe from which the royal tombs are completely unprotected. Mass tourism carries its own problems: 3 million tourists a year pour into Tutankhamun's tomb, a chamber the size of a sitting room. The Valley today is threatened by the archaeologists who go there to dig it up, scholars who do not care much about the fate of the objects they study. While we claim to admire and honour the wonderful legacy, we are really exploiting and destroying it. Appendices: History & experience in the Valley of the Kings; History of floods in the Valley of the Kings. Bibliography; index. 160 pages.

Anna Maria Donadoni Roveri. Hawk Books,
For 450 years the Egyptians buried their pharaohs - from Thutmose I to Ramses XI - in the Valley of Kings, a rocky pass beside the Nile.Over a period of 2000 years grave robbers plundered the riches of the tombs, but some - including Tutankhamun's - were too well concealed. The tombs reveal not only the most extraordinary treasures, but also unique paintings and reliefs which provide a valuable insight into the ancient Egyptians' thinking and way of life. Index. 76 pages.

Edna R.Russmann & David Finn. University of Texas Press, 1989.
David Finn provides colour photographs of these extraordinary works and Edna Russmann's text provides detailed commentary, exploring cultural preconceptions, social and historical influences, and individual idiosyncracies shaped the creation of this sculptural style over almost 3000 years. Maps, chronology of Pharaonic Egypt, glossary, documentation, bibliography, index. 230 pages.

Ian Shaw & Paul Nicholson. British Museum Press, 1995.
An A to Z Companion to the world's greatest civilisation. Chronology, List of Egyptologists mentioned in the text, Alphabetical list of owners of tombs in Western Thebes, Index. 328 pages.

Henri Stierlin (Ed). Benedikt Taschen Verlag,
That part of Egyptian architecture that was built to last was religious in character. Secular buildings, erected for everyday use, were constructed of rough brick, mud or wood, and, apart from some forts, have almost completely disappeared. Aims of Egyptian architecture / Technical problems / Main evolutionary lines. Chronological table; bibliography; index. 192 pages.

Eugen Strouhal. Cambridge UP, 1992.
There is a wealth of literature on the kings and monuments of ancient Egypt but our knowledge of the ordinary, hard-working people remains hazy. Strouhal draws on the evidence, physical as well as literary and artistic, to chart the progress of the ancient Egyptian from cradle to grave, from children's games to adult entertainment, from courtship to marriage and sometimes to divorce. The position of women in society is discussed in detail, as is fashion and the care of the body. He describes the work of farmers, fishermen, hunters, of artisans and builders, artists and scribes, priests and healers, to the arduous last journey to the gates of the other world. Photographs by Werner Forman. Chrono;ogy; bibliography; index. Map. 279 pages.

Barbara Watterson. Batsford, 1984; Sutton Publishing 1996.
Part I: Introduction / Egypt and its influence upon the religion of the ancient Egyptians / Forms of religion in ancient Egypt.
Part II: The major gods of Egypt -- The Sun God, Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut. Re, Khepri, Osiris, Isis, Horus, Seth,Nephthys. Hathor, Wadjet. Nekhbet, Amun, Mut, Khonsu, Aten, Ptah, Sokar, Sekhmet, Anubis, Neit, Thoth, Khnum, Min, Montu, Bastet.
Part III: Personal piety & Popular religion.
Note on transliteration; chronological table; Egyptian place-names; Map; Principle Cult-centres. Glossary, notes, Bibliography & Further Reading, index. 227 pages.

Hilary Wilson. Michael O'Mara Books Ltd, 1993.
For 1500 years the hieroglyphs of Ancient Egypt defied interpretation but were thought to conceal ancient wisdom and religious secrets. When at last they were deciphered, the hieroglyphs provided something quite different and much more interesting: a vivid picture of ordinary life. The hieroglyphs were concerned not with esoteric rituals but with facts - dates, names, places, and details of people's rank and position in society. Bibliography, index.192 pages.


Reading Egyptian / The Way of the Pharaohs / Last Rites of Royalty.

Egypt's Golden Age / The Ubiquitous Gods.




Mummies, Tombs & Treasures / Home of the Giants / In the Shadow of the Pyramids / Houses of Eternity / The Pharoah whom History could not forget / The stories mummies tell / In the Valley of Death / The Personal Tutankhamen / Timeline.

Ramses, Great of Victories / A Mansion for the Gods / A Monumental Celebration of Self / A Pharoah larger than life / Of Queens, Consorts, and Commoners / A Living Tomb / Egypt's Descent into Chaos / Ramses in Paris / Timeline.


ON THE BANKS OF THE NILE: Egypt 3050-30BC (996)
3000 Years of Splendor: Overview & Timeline / Public Faces, Private Lives / Lords of the Two Lands / "I fought bravely in His Majesty's Presence" / And None Have Returned. Glossary; Pronunciation Guide; Bibliography; Index.

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