New Books in Egyptology – November-December 2018

Every two months the Nile Scribes update our readers on the most recent Egyptological publications. From popular 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 nine books scheduled for release this autumn season (November and December 2018).

Naga ed-Dêr in the First Intermediate Period

Edward Brovarski

Lockwood Press (ISBN: 9781937040666) – Cost: US$ 150

Publisher’s Summary:

“Beginning in 1901, George A. Reisner conducted a number of excavating campaigns in the neighborhood of the modern village of Naga ed-Deir in Upper Egypt, opposite the ancient city of Thinis, at first for the Hearst Expedition of the University of California (up to 1905) and thereafter for the Harvard University-Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition. Naga-ed-Dêr is important because of a series of ancient cemeteries extending in time from the Predynastic period to the Middle Kingdom. These cemeteries run for about six kilometers from Sheikh Farag on the north to Mesheikh on the south and form parts of a single large cemetery of the Thinite nome UE 8. In the course of the excavations at Naga-ed-Dêr, Reisner discovered in addition extensive remains of the First Intermediate period-decorated tombs, steles, and inscribed coffins-belonging to the period extending from the end of the Sixth to the Eleventh Dynasties. The Predynastic, Early Dynastic, and Old Kingdom material from Naga-ed-Dêr has been studied and published by Reisner and Arthur C. Mace and by Albert M. Lythgoe and Dows Dunham. Dows Dunham published seventy-five steles from Reisner’s excavations in 1937.”

The Ancient Egyptian Netherworld Books

John C. Darnell and Colleen Manassa Darnell

SBL Press (ISBN: 9781628371277) – Cost: US$ 99.95

Publisher’s Summary:

“The ancient Egyptian Netherworld Books are among the most extensive religious texts from pharaonic civilization and present humanity’s oldest surviving attempts to provide a scientific map of the unseen realms beyond the visible cosmos. First attested during the middle of the second millennium BCE, the Netherworld Books decorate the walls of the New Kingdom royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings. The importance of these texts lies in their philosophical and theological speculations about the inner workings of the cosmos, particularly the events of the solar journey through the twelve hours of the night. These important texts describe one of the central mysteries of Egyptian religious belief, the union of the solar god Re with the underworldly god Osiris, and provide information on aspects of Egyptian theology and cosmography more thoroughly than what is presented in the more widely read Book of the Dead.”

Nubian Archaeology in the XXIst Century. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference for Nubian Studies, Neuchâtel, 1st-6th September 2014

Edited by Matthieu Honegger

Peeters (ISBN: 9789042936720) – Cost: EUR€ 140

Publisher’s Summary:

“The four-yearly International Conference of the Society for Nubian Studies is currently the most important scientific meeting on the archaeology and the ancient history of Nubia. The 13th session took place in 2014 in Neuchâtel (Switzerland) and its Proceedings contain 95 peer-reviewed papers distributed in 13 chronological or thematic sections, evidencing the breadth of subjects covered: general synthesis, prehistory, protohistory, Egypt, Napata, Meroe, Middle ages, epigraphy and linguistics, cultural heritage, fortifications, bioanthropology, man and animal, survey and fieldwork. The subjects treated are a reflexion of the scientific and cultural heritage issues facing Nubian archaeology, which is one of the most dynamic and innovative of the African continent. It is today confronted with the numerous challenges of the 21st century, which include the coordination between economic development and the protection of the environment and heritage, maintaining and encouraging preventive archaeology, as well as the valorisation of sites in the light of growing public interest.”

The Art of Describing: Studies in Honour of Yvonne Harpur

Edited by Peter Jánosi et al.

Czech Institute of Egyptology (ISBN: 9788073087708) – Cost: GBP£ 65

Publisher’s Summary:

“The superbly illustrated volume presents a wide array of subject-matter dealing with the visual culture of the Old Kingdom. The book was compiled in honour of Yvonne Harpur, the doyenne of the study of art and decoration of tombs from the pyramid age. This album amicorum not only reflects the great interest but also the potential in dealing with the art of the Old Kingdom.”

Les textes de la pyramide de Pépy Ier

Bernard Mathieu

IFAO (ISBN: 9782724707274) Cost: EUR€ 69

Publisher’s Summary:

“The inscribed walls of the inner chambers and corridors of Pepy Ist’s pyramid, the third Pharaoh of the VIth Dynasty (c. 2330-2280), offer the largest set of Pyramid Texts known. Based on the previous publication of these texts in facsimiles (MIFAO 118/1-2), a 2nd edition of which came out in 2010., the present translation includes additional material, especially from Merenre’s and queen Ankhesenpepy II’s pyramids, the last one discovered in 2000 by the French-Swiss archaeological Mission of Saqqâra (MafS). The translation of about 800 spells, including 81 “new” ones (PT 1001-1081), is preceded by a general presentation of the whole corpus.”

Perspectives on materiality in ancient Egypt – agency, cultural reproduction and change

Edited by Érika Maynart, Carolina Velloza, and Rennan Lemos

Archaeopress (ISBN: 9781784919337) – Cost: GBP£ 30

Publisher’s Summary:

Perspectives on materiality in ancient Egypt – agency, cultural reproduction and changeexpresses the authors’ broad theoretical interest on materiality and how it helps us to understand the crucial role of material culture in ancient Egyptian society in a more complex way. In the volume, mainly young scholars in Brazil, France, Germany and the UK approach the potential of materiality based on several case studies covering a wide range of topics such as Egyptian art, recent perspectives on sex and gender, hierarchies, and the materiality of textual sources and images. The idea of gathering young scholars to discuss ‘materiality’ first took place in the form of a colloquium organised in São Paulo, but soon after became a more encompassing project aspiring to produce a publication. The editors’ aimed to include researchers from various places, which makes the volume a materialisation of fruitful collaborations between individuals coming from different scholarly traditions. The combination of different ways of looking at the ancient material culture can hopefully contribute to the renovation of theory and practice in Egyptology. The editors believe that the emphasis on diversity— of background histories, national traditions and mind-sets—is one the main elements that can be used to boost new perspectives in a connected, globalised and hopefully less unequal world.”

Ancient Egyptian Coffins: Past – Present – Future

Edited by Helen Strudwick and Julie Dawson

Oxbow Books (ISBN: 9781785709180) – Cost: GBP£ 52.50

Publisher’s Summary:

“This collection of papers by leading international experts on the subject of ancient Egyptian coffins, builds on a project based at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, to study and record in detail its collection. Papers address a series of topics including: the development of coffins in antiquity, including iconographic and text-based studies, providing new insights into ancient Egyptian belief systems at different periods and regional differences in coffin presentation; the post-antiquity history of coffins, including their acquisition and subsequent treatment in museums around the world; developments in technical examination and methods of studying coffins, especially the use of multispectral imaging to provide non-invasive analysis of materials, and what this tells us about construction and decorative techniques at different periods and in response to the availability of different materials and increasing evidence of the re-use of materials and complete re-working of coffins for new owners, leading us to question fundamental attitudes to the purpose of coffins as a containers of human remains and the practices of craftsmen in the funerary industry. The papers stem from a conference held at the Museum to accompany a major new exhibition.”

Ancient Egyptian Coffins: Craft Traditions and Functionality

Edited by John H. Taylor and Marie Vandenbeusch

Peeters Publishers (ISBN: 9789042934658) – Cost: EUR€ 115

Publisher’s Summary:

“This volume contains the proceedings of the twenty-third Annual Egyptological Colloquium, held at the British Museum in 2014, augmented by additional papers. The twenty-three contributions investigate functionality, iconography and manufacture of ancient Egyptian coffins from the First Intermediate Period to the eighth century AD. The authors explore the conceptual aspects which lay behind the production of coffins through the study of iconography and texts, examining the functional role of these complex objects as ‘structured compositions’ which were designed to play an important part in transforming the deceased occupants and perpetuating their existence beyond death. Reinstating coffins in their archaeological and societal contexts, the papers reflect on the circumstances in which they were made, considering workshop practices and regional variability, and studying coffins not only individually but also as components of larger conceptual entities in which the mummy, the burial chamber and the tomb itself all had specific meanings. Several contributions focus on areas of current interest, such as the post-burial adaptation and reuse of coffins, considering how these issues relate to the economic environment in which they were made and to changing attitudes towards the immutability of burial arrangements.”

Servir les dieux d’Égypte: divines adoratrices, chanteuses et prêtres d’Amon à Thèbes

Various Authors

Musée de Grenoble (ISBN: 9782757214800) – Cost: EUR€ 38

Publisher’s Summary:

“À Thèbes, il y a trois mille ans, des milliers de prêtres et de prêtresses servaient le dieu Amon dans son domaine.C’est à la rencontre de cette société du temple de Karnak, à un moment troublé de l’histoire de l’Égypte, la Troisième Période intermédiaire (1069-655 av. J.-C.), qu’invite cet ouvrage. Il été conçu à partir d’un ensemble de cercueils, conservés au musée de Grenoble, ayant appartenu à des « chanteuses d’Amon ». Qui étaient ces femmes et que faisaient-elles ?Pour tenter de répondre à cette question qui ouvre sur la société thébaine du tournant du premier millénaire, plus de 270 œuvres sont réunies, essentiellement du Louvre mais aussi d’autres musées français et européens, éclairées par les contributions d’égyptologues à la pointe des recherches.Ainsi un pan de l’histoire égyptienne, jusque-là inaccessible au public, se dévoile.Exposition Servir les Dieux d’Égypte. Divines adoratrices, chanteuses et prêtres d’Amon à Thèbes au musée de Grenoble du 25 octobre 2018 au 27 janvier 2019.”


What new reads can you recommend to us?