New Books in Egyptology (January-February 2019)

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 to start 2019 (January to February).

A River Runs Through It. Studies in Honour of Professor Fekri A. Hassan. Volume One

Edited by Aloisia de Trafford, Geoffrey J. Tassie, Okasha el Daly, and Joris van Wetering

Golden House (ISBN: 978-1-906137-37-3) – Cost: US$ 90

Publisher’s Summary:

“This collection of studies is dedicated to Professor Fekri A.Hassan by people with whom he has worked over the past forty-five years. It represents the vast temporal and geographical ranges across which Fekri has spun his long and illustrious career, and while he has gone from strength to strength to become a leader in his field, his passion for archaeology and geology – and his attachment to his aged VW Safari – remain unaltered.”

All the Rxyt-people Adore: The Role of the Rekhyt-people in Egyptian Religion

Kenneth Griffin

Golden House (ISBN: 9781906137625) – Cost: US$ 150

Publisher’s Summary:

“Egyptian society is often said to have been divided into social classes, with the pat-people representing the ‘elite’ and the rxyt-people being the ‘commoners’. The aim of this study is to provide the first comprehensive analysis of the role of the rxyt-people in Egyptian religion by utilising both text and iconography. This includes exploring their identity, their participation in Egyptian rituals and temple festivals, and a detailed examination of the rxyt rebus.”

Pharaoh Alexander the Great. His Tomb, his Sarcophagus, and his Mummy

Traugott Huber

Books on Demand (ISBN: 9783748140658) – Cost: EUR€ 49

Publisher’s Summary:

“The most famous Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt was arguably one of the last kings of km.t Egypt. He bears a name known to every child. Under Pharaoh Alexander, Egypt reached its widest extension and was afforded more protection than ever before. His Golden Horus name characterises Alexander as the ruler of all the sun encircles and the strong bull who protects Egypt. Alexander the Great gave birth to a new Dynasty, the 32nd of Ancient Egypt. Alexandria, the leading city of the known world in the 3rd and 2nd century BC, was founded. But what remains of Pharaoh Alexander? Where is his tomb? Where is his sarcophagus? Where is his mummy? The key to the answers is reusing. We recycle paper. We reuse iron. In the 17th century Spaniards recycled Inca-gold. In the late 4th century, Christians repurposed Pagan temples. Why should Phoenicians, Macedonians, and Egyptians not have reused the outstanding artefacts of Alexander the Great? Historical, archaeological, and artistic evidence is presented for two of the most intriguing artefacts of Alexander the Great. Both are still readily accessible and can be admired by any traveller. Both artefacts were reused in the late 4th respectively in the mid-3rd century BC. This reuse fogged their identification and led to misinterpretations. One artefact of the greatest conqueror of the Ancient World was discovered more than 130 years ago, the other has been known of for more than 50 years. In both cases, layers of accretions obscured the identity of their owner. Even worse, renowned scholars attribute these artefacts to the person who reused them. These artefacts are: Alexander’s monumental Tomb and his unparalleled Sarcophagus. It will be further revealed that Alexander was subsequently entombed at three Egyptian localities and that his body rested in two further sarcophagi. Some scholars suggest that also the third, and most personal artefact of Alexander the Great, was reused in the 4th century AD, namely his mummified Body. Does archaeological or historical evidence support the veneration of Alexanders mummy as Saint Mark in Venice or near Alexander’s Temple in the Bahariya Oasis in Egypt? Or, is Alexander’s body still in existence under the Alabaster Tomb or in the Soma of Alexandria? A testimony to this last question is available in written form for more than 1600 years but was overlooked. Thereby, the identity of the builder of “Alexander’s” Temple at Bahariya Oasis and the identity of “Saint Mark” at Venice will be revealed.”

Étienne Drioton et l’Égypte. Parcours d’un Éminent Égyptologue Passionné de Photographie

Michèle Juret

Safran (ISBN: 9782874571077) – Cost: EUR€ 40

Publisher’s Summary (1):

“A testimony of his work, but also of his attentive look at the daily life in Egypt, Étienne Drioton left an important collection of photographs made between 1924 and 1952, many of which are still unpublished. This work offers you the chance to follow along the Nile. First, the Egyptologist leads us to the archaeological sites of Upper Egypt: Medamud and Tôd, where he worked between 1925 and 1936, then Karnak, Luxor, and Deir el-Medineh. But he is also interested in the daily life of the people living in the country, entering villages, fashioning portraits of typical characters, meeting the fellahs, and being compelled by the image of work in the fields. In June 1936, then Director General of the Antiquities Service in Cairo, the country presented itself as a vast construction site. Here one excavates, there one reconstructs a monument. Wearing civilian gear or spotting an official fez, he visits sites, sometimes accompanying high-status persons who have made history. There are as many opportunities for us to discover the remains of pharaonic Egypt as they presented themselves in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Among the many highlights which make-up this album, let us cite the journey on the Nile with King Farouk, the reconstruction of the funerary complex of Djoser at Saqqara, the discoveries of the royal tombs at Tanis… His bibliography as an annex recalls that he was above all a researcher, whose notable work advanced the science of Egyptology.”

Zerstörung von Geschriebenem. Historische und transkulturelle Perspektiven

Edited by Carina Kühne-Wespi, Klaus P. Oschema, and Joachim F. Quack

de Gruyter (ISBN: 9783110629040) – Cost: EUR€ 99.95 (or free e-book)

Publisher’s Summary (2):

“A variety of practices contribute to the damage found on artefacts which bear evidence of writing and inscriptions. In this way, the intentions, backgrounds, and contexts of these practices can vary widely, so that with the passage of time one can observe diverse manifestation in various cultural contexts, situations, and discourses. Such cases are by no means limited to express disapproval toward the contents and authors or to extinguish the memory of individuals. Based on very detailed case studies which range from Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean via China, the European Middle Ages, post-medieval times as well as Islamic traditions to today’s Bali, different facets of the various practices and their motivations are being elucidated and a comprehensive system is being developed. It is the goal to devise a phenomenology of destroyed writings based on praxeological criteria. The main focus is on practices in non-typographic societies, that is in cultures, in which written documents are not reproduced through letterpress printing and similar methods, but in which are hand-made.”

Great Pyramid Manual

Franch Monnier and David Lightbody

Haynes (ISBN: 9781785212161) – Cost: GBP£ 17.24

Publisher’s Summary:

The Great Pyramid Manual takes the technical description and historical interpretation of the last ‘Great Wonder of the Ancient World’ to the next level. Lavishly illustrated with the most accurate architectural diagrams and three-dimensional reconstructions currently available, the book pays tribute to the greatest iconic work of human culture. The Great Pyramid was the world’s tallest monument for nearly 4,000 years. Until the 19th century, it was also the heaviest structure ever built. It was the central component of a huge funerary complex called Akhet Khufu, ‘Khufu’s Horizon’, by the ancient Egyptians. Over time, the plateau around it developed into an enormous necropolis, a true city of the dead. While many great monuments were built alongside it, none have surpassed it.

The authors first set out the architectural history that preceded the Great Pyramid, and show how Khufu’s tomb was the end-result of many centuries of cultural developments. An awe-inspiring tradition of pharaonic tomb construction reached its zenith during an intense phase of activity in the 26th century BC. The details of what happened over those decades have fascinated explorers, scholars, engineers, and scientists, for centuries. In this manual, the unprecedented technical abilities required to create these unsurpassable monuments are finally uncovered. The details of Old Kingdom pyramid construction are reverse-engineered, their internal architecture is described and illustrated using the latest evidence and the best available scholarship, and the true abilities of the ancient builders are slowly made apparent.

Here is the most up-to-date description of the Great Pyramid, featuring discussions of the best current theories that explain unusual aspects of its internal layout, including its most enigmatic features. The theological and ritual context in which these great funerary monuments were built is also addressed, and explained.”

Becoming a Woman and Mother in Greco-Roman Egypt. Women’s Bodies, Society and Domestic Space

Ada Nifosi

Routledge (ISBN: 9781138099852) – Cost: US$ 140

Publisher’s Summary:

“How did Greco-Roman Egyptian society perceive women’s bodies and how did it acknowledge women’s reproductive functions? Detailing women’s lives in Greco-Roman Egypt this monograph examines understudied aspects of women’s lives such as their coming of age, social and religious taboos of menstruation and birth rituals. It investigates medical, legal and religious aspects of women’s reproduction, using both historical and archaeological sources, and shows how the social status of women and new-born children changed from the Dynastic to the Greco-Roman period.

Through a comparative and interdisciplinary study of the historical sources, papyri, artefacts and archaeological evidence, Becoming a Woman and Mother in Greco-Roman Egypt shows how Greek, Roman, Jewish and Near Eastern cultures impacted on the social perception of female puberty, childbirth and menstruation in Greco-Roman Egypt from the 3rd century B.C. to the 3rd century A.D.”

Eine magische Stele aus dem Badischen Landesmuseum Karlsruhe (Inv. H 1049)

Joachim F. Quack

Universitätsverlag Heidelberg (ISBN: 9783825378332) – EUR€ 28

Publisher’s Summary (2):

“An incomplete Egyptian limestone stela, today in the Badisches Landesmuseum in Karlsruhe and dating to the Nineteenth to Twenty-second Dynasty, shows a decorative and inscriptional programme, which targets dangerous animals. In particular the stela contains recitations against crocodiles and snakes, who are symbolised in the role of the enemies of the gods, Maga and Apopis. The spell against Apopis is known from various sources which date from the Twentieth Dynasty to the fourth century BC, although there are different versions extant which differ in terms of situations and text-bearing media. The current publication discusses the object in terms of its materiality, reconstructs its ancient and modern biography, and offers a translation of the spells with an extensive commentary.”

Scattered Finds: Archaeology, Egyptology and Museums

Alice Stevenson

UCL Press (ISBN: 9781911576693) – Cost: GBP£ 25 (or free e-book)

Publisher’s Summary:

“Between the 1880s and 1980s British excavations at locations across Egypt resulted in the discovery of hundreds of thousands of ancient objects that were subsequently sent to some 350 institutions worldwide. These finds included unique discoveries at iconic sites such as the tombs of ancient Egypt’s first rulers at Abydos, Akhenaten and Nefertiti’s city of Tell el-Amarna and rich Roman Era burials in the Fayum. This book explores the politics, personalities and social histories that linked fieldwork in Egypt with the varied organizations around the world that received finds. Case studies range from Victorian municipal museums and women’s suffrage campaigns in the UK, to the development of some of the USA’s largest institutions, and from university museums in Japan to new institutions in post-independence Ghana. By juxtaposing a diversity of sites for the reception of Egyptian cultural heritage over the period of a century, this book presents new ideas about the development of archaeology, museums and the construction of Egyptian heritage. It also addresses the legacy of these practices, raises questions about the nature of the authority over such heritage today and argues for a stronger ethical commitment to its stewardship.”


Notes:

  1. Translated from the French by the Nile Scribes.
  2. Translated from the German by the Nile Scribes.

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