Every other month we will 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 newly released books from June and July (2017).
Anne-Marie Guimier-Sorbets, André Pelle, Mervat Seif el-Din; translated by Colin Clement
AUC Press, July 2017 (ISBN: 9789774168291) – Cost: $49.95
In the Greco-Roman catacombs of Alexandria, uniquely decorated tombs from the time when religious boundaries blurred and syncretistic beliefs flourished have long been known. But it was only in 1993 that researchers discovered faint traces of paintings on walls previously thought to be blank, or underneath other painted scenes: the hidden scenes could be partly made out and photographed using ultraviolet light. Then in 2012, new computer technology was used to reveal the lost images—and colors—even more clearly. Here the team present, examine, and interpret what they found, teasing meaning and intent from the alternating scenes of Greek and Egyptian mythology, as employed by the citizens of a multicultural Alexandria at the beginning of the second century CE, in pursuit of a happy afterlife.
Reaktion Books, June 2017 (ISBN: 9781780237268) – Cost: £15
From ancient Rome to the present day, ancient Egypt has been a source of fascination and inspiration in many other cultures. But why? Christina Riggs introduces the history, art and religion of Egypt from its earliest dynasties to its final fall to Rome – and explores the influence ancient Egypt has had through the centuries. Looking for a vanished past, she argues, always serves some purpose in the present.
Egypt has meant many things to many different people. Greek and Roman writers admired ancient Egyptian philosophy, a view that influenced ideas about Egypt in Renaissance Europe and the Arabic-speaking world. In the eighteenth century, secret societies like the Freemasons still upheld the wisdom of ancient Egypt. This changed when Egypt became the focus of Western military strategy and economic exploitation in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The remains of ancient Egypt came to be seen as exotic, primitive or even dangerous, embroiled as they were in the politics of racial science and archaeology. The curse of the pharaohs, or the seductiveness of Cleopatra, seemed to threaten foreign dominance in the Middle East. Other visions of ancient Egypt inspired modernist movements in the arts, like the Harlem Renaissance and Egyptian Pharaonism, fuelled by the 1922 discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Today, ancient Egypt is ubiquitous in museums, television documentaries and tattoo parlours – wherever people look for a past as ancient and impressive as they come.
Editors: Julia Chyla, Karolina Rosińska-Balik, Joanna Dębowska-Ludwin, and Carl Walsh
Oxbow Books, June 2017 (ISBN: 9781785706004) – Cost: £30
This volume reflects the most recent state of research on ancient Egypt presented and discussed at the international conference Current Research in Egyptology XVII, May 2016. Nine papers are arranged in chronological order covering the wide time span from the Predynastic till the Greco-Roman Period, with the remaining five considering more general thematic, theoretical, and cross-cultural topics. Papers re-examine the archives from early excavations of Predynastic tombs in the light of modern research; discuss various types of object from different periods; consider the roles of travelling artists, regional artistic schools styles, and the mobility of ancient high-skilled craftsmen. Thematic, theoretical, and cross-cultural papers consider the relation of gods, cosmic sacredness, and fertility beliefs; take a comparative approach to cultural identity extracted from narrative poetry of Greek and Egyptian origin; the inclusion of Egyptian musical elements incorporated into Greek traditions and the analysis of artifacts from the Egyptian collection of Zagreb, illustrating the range of information that essentially unprovenanced objects may have for future research.
Egypt 2015: Perspectives of Research. Proceedings of the Seventh European Conference of Egyptologists (2nd-7th June, 2015, Zagreb – Croatia)
Editors: Mladen Tomorad and Joanna Popielska-Grzybowska
Oxbow Books, June 2017 (ISBN: 9781784915841) – Cost: £60
The Seventh Central European Conference of Egyptologists. Egypt 2015: Perspectives of Research (CECE7) was held at the University of Zagreb in Croatia in 2015. It was co-organised by two scholarly institutions: the Department of History at the Centre for Croatian Studies of the University of Zagreb, Croatia (Dr Mladen Tomorad), and the Department of Ancient Cultures of the Pułtusk Academy of Humanities in Pułtusk, Poland (Dr Joanna Popielska-Grzybowska).
This book presents a selection of papers which were read at the conference. The volume is divided into six sections in which thirty-two scholars from fourteen European countries cover various fields of modern Egyptological research. The first group of five papers is devoted to language, literature and religious texts; in the second section three authors describe various themes related to art, iconography and architectural studies; the third group contains four contributions on current funerary and burial studies; in the fourth (largest) section, ten authors present their recent research on material culture and museum studies; the fifth is concerned with the history of Ancient Egypt; and in the last (sixth), two authors examine modern Egyptomania and the 19th century travellers to Egypt.
Brill Publishers, July 2017 (ISBN: 9789004343429) – Cost: $400
In Die Gräberfelder von Sedment im Neuen Reich, Henning Franzmeier presents and reassesses the complete results of the previously only partially published excavations undertaken by W.M.F. Petrie and G. Brunton in the New Kingdom cemeteries of Sedment, Middle Egypt, from 1920 to 1921. Through his research, Franzmeier has expanded the corpus of known New Kingdom tombs at Sedment from about 50 to more than 250, including burials of high-ranking officials, and identified a wide range of previously unknown objects. Presenting the development of an important provincial cemetery, this publication provides a valuable contribution to our understanding of New Kingdom Egyptian funerary archaeology and, as a case study, highlights the potentials of reassessing the results of past excavations.
Editors: Neil Cooke and Vanessa Daubney
Archaeopress, July 2017 (ISBN: 9781784916275) – Cost: £32
Long distance travel and mass tourism are not recent phenomena. This collection of papers from the 2015 ASTENE Conference in Exeter demonstrates that over the centuries many individuals and groups of people have left the safety of their family home and travelled huge distances both for adventure and to learn more about other peoples and places. Some travels were to help establish trade routes, while others were for personal pleasure and knowledge. Many of those who travelled have left little or no record but in a few cases their travels can be determined from the brief encounters they had with other travellers who noted these chance meetings in their journals and diaries, which they later used to inform and write for publication accounts of their own travels and impressions.
The 18 papers in this rich and varied collection include: finding the lost diary of a member of the Prussian scientific expedition to Egypt of 1842-45 that was hiding in ‘plain sight’ among other books; the illustrated journal of a Croatian travelling through Egypt, Nubia and Sudan in 1853-4 and the hardships endured; the competition between Officers of the East India Company to find the fastest trade routes through Syria between India and the Red Sea; and identifying the Dutch artist who made paintings of Constantinople and later travelled to India before joining the Bombay Artillery as a Lieutenant-fireworker. All 18 papers are the product of hours of careful research by their authors among original manuscripts and books tracked down in archives, libraries and private collections around the world.
Do you know of any other Egyptology books released during these months? Let us know if we missed any!