New Books in Egyptology – January-February 2018

Every month the Nile Scribes 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 eight books scheduled for release early this year (January and February 2018).

J. Cromwell & E. Grossman "Scribal Repertoires in Egypt from the New Kingdom to the Early Islamic Period"

Scribal Repertoires in Egypt from the New Kingdom to the Early Islamic Period

Edited by Jennifer Cromwell and Eitan Grossman

Oxford University Press (ISBN: 9780198768104) – Cost: US$ 115

Publisher’s Summary:

Scribal Repertoires in Egypt from the New Kingdom to the Early Islamic Period deals with the possibility of glimpsing pre-modern and early modern Egyptian scribes, the actual people who produced ancient documents, through the ways in which they organized and wrote those documents. While traditional research has focused on identifying a ‘pure’ or ‘original’ text behind the actual manuscripts that have come down to us from pre-modern Egypt, the volume looks instead at variation – different ways of saying the same thing – as a rich source for understanding the complex social and cultural environments in which scribes lived and worked, breaking with the traditional conception of variation in scribal texts as ‘free’ or indicative of ‘corruption’. As such, it presents a novel reconceptualization of scribal variation in pre-modern Egypt from the point of view of contemporary historical sociolinguistics, seeing scribes as agents embedded in particular geographical, temporal, and socio-cultural environments. Introducing to Egyptology concepts such as scribal communities, networks, and repertoires, among others, the authors then apply them to a variety of phenomena, including features of lexicon, grammar, orthography, palaeography, layout, and format.”

Ben Haring "From Single Sign to Pseudo-Script. An Ancient Egyptian System of Workmen’s Identity Marks"

From Single Sign to Pseudo-Script. An Ancient Egyptian System of Workmen’s Identity Marks

Ben Haring

Brill (ISBN: 9789004357532) – Cost: EUR€ 171.00

Publisher’s Summary:

“Writing is not the only notation system used in literate societies. Some visual communication systems are very similar to writing, but work differently. Identity marks are typical examples of such systems, and this book presents a particularly well-documented marking system used in Pharaonic Egypt as an exemplary case. From Single Sign to Pseudo-Script is the first book to fully discuss the nature and development of an ancient marking system, its historical background, and the fascinating story of its decipherment. Chapters on similar systems in other cultures and on semiotic theory help to distinguish between unique and universal features. Written by Egyptologist Ben Haring, the book addresses scholars interested in marking systems, writing, literacy, and the semiotics of visual communication.

Gianluca Miniaci "The Arts of Making in Ancient Egypt. Voices, images, and objects of material producers 2000–1550 BC"

The Arts of Making in Ancient Egypt. Voices, images, and objects of material producers 2000–1550 BC

Edited by Gianluca Miniaci, Juan Carlos Moreno Garcia, Stephen Quirke, and Andréas Stauder

Sidestone Press (ISBN: 9789088905230) – Cost: EUR€ 34.95

Publisher’s Summary:

“This book provides an innovative analysis of the conditions of ancient Egyptian craftsmanship in the light of the archaeology of production, linguistic analysis, visual representation and ethnographic research. During the past decades, the “imaginative” figure of ancient Egyptian material producers has moved from “workers” to “artisans” and, most recently, to “artists”. In a search for a fuller understanding of the pragmatics of material production in past societies, and moving away from a series of modern preconceptions, this volume aims to analyse the mechanisms of material production in Egypt during the Middle Bronze Age (2000–1550 BC), to approach the profile of ancient Egyptian craftsmen through their own words, images and artefacts, and to trace possible modes of circulation of ideas among craftsmen in material production. The studies in the volume address the mechanisms of ancient production in Middle Bronze Age Egypt, the circulation of ideas among craftsmen, and the profiles of the people involved, based on the material traces, including depictions and writings, the ancient craftsmen themselves left and produced.”

David Nadali "Envisioning the Past Through Memories. How Memory Shaped Ancient Near Eastern Societies"

Envisioning the Past Through Memories. How Memory Shaped Ancient Near Eastern Societies

Edited by Davide Nadali

Bloomsbury (ISBN: 9781350060593) – Cost: US$ 39.95

Publisher’s Summary:

“Memory is a constructed system of references, in equilibrium, of feeling and rationality. Comparing ancient and contemporary mechanisms for the preservation of memories and the building of a common cultural, political and social memory, this volume aims to reveal the nature of memory, and explores the attitudes of ancient societies towards the creation of a memory to be handed down in words, pictures, and mental constructs. Since the multiple natures of memory involve every human activity, physical and intellectual, this volume promotes analyses and considerations about memory by focusing on various different cultural activities and productions of ancient Near Eastern societies, from artistic and visual documents to epigraphic evidence, and by considering archaeological data. The chapters of this volume analyse the value and function of memory within the ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian societies, combining archaeological, textual and iconographical evidence following a progression from the analysis of the creation and preservation of both single and multiple memories, to the material culture (things and objects) that shed light on the impact of memory on individuals and community.”

Leena Pekkalainen "Mummies, Monsters, and the Ship of Millions"

Mummies, Monsters, and the Ship of Millions

Leena Pekkalainen

AUC Press (ISBN: 9789774168512) – Cost: US$ 18.95

Publisher’s Summary:

“Another hilarious adventure for children with Mr. Mummific, the mummy with attitude. Having described his death and long mummification process in his last book, How I Became a Mummy, he now tells the story of his mishaps, misunderstandings, and misadventures as he leaves his tomb through the False Door to embark on the complicated and hazardous journey to the Afterlife aboard the magnificent Ship of Millions. The dangers he faces along the way (and desperately hopes to avoid) include being left hanging upside-down from the cavern ceiling, being swallowed (and vomited out again) by a giant serpent, or becoming a tasty morsel for the hideous Eater of the Dead. Once again, the pompous and frequently perplexed former pharaoh is our entertaining guide to some of the traditions and beliefs of the ancient Egyptians. Illustrated with eighty colorful scenes from the deathly existence of the funniest mummy you’ll ever meet, Mummies, Monsters, and the Ship of Millions is a further ghastly treat for children and Egyptologists of all ages.”

Campbell Price "Pocket Museum: Ancient Egypt"

Pocket Museum: Ancient Egypt

Campbell Price

Thames & Hudson (ISBN: 9780500519844) – Cost: GBP£ 12.95

Publisher’s Summary:

“If all the portable artefacts of Ancient Egypt were in a single location, the lives of students, historians and connoisseurs would be immeasurably simpler – but the objects are scattered in museums and collections all over the world. This book brings together nearly 200 of the most significant artefacts, giving both context and immediacy to the rich culture of Ancient Egypt. From a 5,000-year-old Predynastic pottery bowl adorned with model hippopotamuses, to a miraculously preserved pair of sandals woven from grass, reeds and papyrus, to a wooden sundial amulet of the early Roman period, this is a compelling and beautifully illustrated overview of three millennia of civilization on the banks of the Nile.”

Daniele Salvoldi "From Siena to Nubia. Alessandro Ricci in Egypt and Sudan, 1817-22"

From Siena to Nubia. Alessandro Ricci in Egypt and Sudan, 1817-22

Daniele Salvoldi

Oxford University Press (ISBN: 9789774168543) – Cost: US$ 79.95

Publisher’s Summary:

“The never before published 19-century travel accounts of the Italian explorer Alessandro Ricci. Translated original text is accompanied by introductory chapters and notes as well as over 100 pages in full color of Ricci’s spectacular drawings. This rare, first-person account of social life and customs in 19th-century Egypt and Sudan as well as records of ancient sites helped laid the foundation of modern Egyptology.”

Lara Weiss "The Coffins of the Priests of Amun: Egyptian coffins from the 21st Dynasty in the collection of the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden"

The Coffins of the Priests of Amun: Egyptian coffins from the 21st Dynasty in the collection of the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden

Edited by Lara Weiss

Sidestone Press (ISBN: 9789088904929) – Cost: GBP£ 35

Publisher’s Summary:

“This edited volume focusses on the lavishly decorated coffins of the Priests of Amon that are currently in the collection of the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden. Six chapters, written by international specialists, present the history of the Priests of Amon, the production of their coffins and use-life of the coffins from Ancient Egypt until modern times. The book appeals to the general public interested in Egyptian culture, heritage studies, and restoration research, and will also be a stimulating read for both students and academics.”

What new reads can you recommend to us?