Every month we update our readers on the most recent Egyptological publications. From accessible reads to peer-reviewed scholarship, we hope to illustrate the wide variety of topics discussed in Egyptology, and perhaps introduce you to your next read! Below are six books scheduled to be released this month: October (2017).
Darlene L. Brooks Hedstrom
Cambridge University Press (ISBN: 9781107161818) – Cost: CAD $154.95
Darlene L. Brooks Hedstrom offers a new history of the field of Egyptian monastic archaeology. It is the first study in English to trace how scholars identified a space or site as monastic within the Egyptian landscape and how such identifications impacted perceptions of monasticism. Brooks Hedstrom then provides an ecohistory of Egypt’s tripartite landscape to offer a reorientation of the perception of the physical landscape. She analyzes late-antique documentary evidence, early monastic literature, and ecclesiastical history before turning to the extensive archaeological evidence of Christian monastic settlements. In doing so, she illustrates the stark differences between idealized monastic landscape and the actual monastic landscape that was urbanized through monastic constructions. Drawing upon critical theories in landscape studies, materiality and phenomenology, Brooks Hedstrom looks at domestic settlements of non-monastic and monastic settlements to posit what features makes monastic settlements unique, thus offering a new history of monasticism in Egypt.
Routledge Studies in Egyptology (ISBN: 9781138685055) – Cost: US $140
Violence and Power in Ancient Egypt examines the use of Egyptian pictures of violence prior to the New Kingdom. Starting with the assertion that making and displaying such images served as a tactic of power, related to but separate from the actual practice of violence, the book explores the development and deployment of this imagery across different contexts. By comparatively utilizing violent images from a variety of other times and cultures, the book asks that we consider not only how Egyptian imagery was related to Egyptian violence, but also why people create pictures of violence and place them where they do, and how such images communicate what to whom. By cataloging and querying Egyptian imagery of violence from different periods and different contexts—royal tombs, divine temples, the landscape, portable objects, and private tombs—Violence and Power highlights the nuances of the relationship between aspects of royal ideology, art, and its audiences in the first half of pharaonic Egyptian history.
John H. Taylor
Pimpernel Press (ISBN: 9781910258873) – Cost: £9.99
Sir John Soane’s Greatest Treasure describes one of the most important antiquities ever found in Egypt – the beautiful calcite sarcophagus of the pharaoh Seti I. Re-discovered in 1817 in the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings by the flamboyant explorer Giovanni Belzoni, the sarcophagus now resides in Sir John Soane’s Museum in London’s Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Leading Egyptologist John H. Taylor outlines the life of Seti I, the background to the creation of the sarcophagus, the excitement surrounding its re-discovery and the fascinating story of its journey to London and its acquisition by Sir John Soane. At the heart of the book is a fully illustrated interpretation of the complex imagery and hieroglyphic inscriptions which cover the delicately carved surfaces of the sarcophagus. The book also includes an essay by Helen Dorey on the celebrations held at the Museum to welcome the arrival of the sarcophagus of Seti I in 1825. Sir John Soane’s Greatest Treasure is published to mark the 200th anniversary of the re-discovery of the sarcophagus in 1817, and to accompany a major exhibition at Sir John Soane’s Museum, opening in October 2017.
Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass
University of Chicago Press (ISBN: 9780226425696) – Cost: US $75
The pyramids of Giza have stood for more than four thousand years, fascinating generations around the world. We think of the pyramids as mysteries, but the stones, hieroglyphs, landscape, and even layers of sand and debris around them hold stories. In Giza and the Pyramids: The Definitive History, two of the world’s most eminent Egyptologists, Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass, provide their unique insights based on more than four decades of excavating and studying the site. The celebrated Great Pyramid of Khufu, or Cheops, is the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world still standing, but there is much more to Giza. Though we imagine the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure and the Sphinx rising from the desert, isolated and enigmatic, they were once surrounded by temples, noble tombs, vast cemeteries, and even harbors and teeming towns. This unparalleled account describes that past life in vibrant detail, along with the history of exploration, the religious and social function of the pyramids, how the pyramids were built, and the story of Giza before and after the Old Kingdom. Hundreds of illustrations, including vivid photographs of the monuments, excavations, and objects, as well as plans, reconstructions, and images from remote-controlled cameras and laser scans, help bring these monuments to life.
ABC-CLIO (ISBN: 9781440844003) – Cost: US $100
Historians have found that valuable knowledge about long-ago civilizations can be derived from examining the simple routines of daily life. This fascinating study presents a collection of everyday objects and artifacts from ancient Egypt, shedding light on the social life and culture of ancient Egyptians. The work starts with a popular notion of ancient Egyptian beauty and gradually moves on to address various aspects of life, including home, work, communication, and transition and afterlife. Organized by topics, the work contains the following sections: beauty, adornment, and clothing; household items, furniture, and games; food and drink; tools and weapons; literacy and writing; death and funerary equipment; and religion, ritual, and magic. Each object holds equal importance and dates from the Predynastic era to the Græco-Roman period of ancient Egypt (5000 BCE to 300 CE). A special section provides guidance on evaluating objects and artifacts by asking questions—Who created it? Who used it? What did it do/what was its purpose? When and where was it made? Why was it made?—to help assess the historical context of the object.
University of Michigan Press (ISBN: 9780472123162) – Cost: US $39.95
Discarded, Discovered, Collected provides an accessible introduction to the University of Michigan’s collection of papyri and related ancient materials, the widest and deepest resource of its kind in the Western hemisphere. The collection was founded in the early part of the 20th century by University of Michigan Professor of Classics Francis W. Kelsey. His original intention was to create a set of artifacts that would be useful in teaching students more directly about the ancient world, at a time when trips to ancient sites were much harder to arrange. Arthur Verhoogt, one of the current stewards of the Papyrology Collection, provides clear, insightful information in an appealing style to engage general readers and scholars alike. Extensively illustrated with some of the collection’s more spectacular pieces, this volume describes what the collection is, what kinds of ancient texts it contains, and how it has developed from Francis Kelsey’s day to the present. Verhoogt describes in detail how people who study papyri carry out their work, and how papyri contribute to our understanding of various aspects of the ancient Greco-Roman world. Translations of the ancient texts are presented so that the reader can experience some of the excitement that comes with reading original documents from many centuries ago.