New Books in Egyptology (September-October 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 15 books that were released this fall (September and October).

Did you read our post on new books from earlier this fall?

Études de documents hiératiques inédits. Les ostraca de Deir el-Medina en regard des productions de la Vallée des Rois et du Ramesseum. Travaux de la première Académie hiératique – IFAO (27 septembre – 1er octobre 2015)

Edited by Florence Albert and Annie Gasse

IFAO (ISBN: 9782724707458) – Cost: EUR€ 19

Publisher’s Summary:

“The Académie hiératique, created in 2015, was set up to train young researchers in the publication of hieratic texts. Based on the literary ostraca fund of Deir el-Medina kept at the IFAO (Institut français d’archéologie orientale), in Cairo, some unpublished texts of which were selected to be studied and published by the students. Each year a specific theme is chosen which becomes the connecting thread of work to be carried out by this workshop. This volume assembles the contributions of the 6 participants of the first Académie hiératique held at the IFAO from September 27th to October 1st, 2015. Keeping in view the title Ṯȝy-ḫw (« fan bearer »), it allows an approach of relationships between Deir el-Medina and the other centres on the left bank of Thebes in the New Kingdom where literary texts were produced and found. The introduction to these contributions combines articles by Chr. Barbotin, A. Dorn and St. Polis, who were all three invited as experts to coach the students during the first session of the Academy. These contributions present the results of their work on the unpublished hieratic documents used as a methodological support throughout the training.”

The Archaeology of Egypt in the Third Intermediate Period

James Edward Bennet

Cambridge University Press (ISBN: 9781108482080) – Cost: GBP£ 85

Publisher’s Summary:

“The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1076–664 BCE) has been characterised previously by political and social changes based upon the introduction of Libyan social and cultural influences. In this book, James Bennett analyses the concepts of ‘transition’ and ‘continuity’ within the cultural and societal environment of Egypt during the Third Intermediate Period and provides an up-to-date synthesis of current research on the settlement archaeology of the period. This is done through the assessment of settlement patterns and their development, the built environment of the settlements, and their associated material culture. Through this analysis, Bennett identifies several interconnected themes within the culture and society of the Twenty-First to Twenty-Fifth Dynasties. They are closely related to the political and economic powers of different regions, the nucleation of settlements and people, self-sufficiency at a collective and individual level, defence, both physical and spiritual, regionality in terms of settlement development and material culture, and elite emulation through everyday objects.”

Cultural Plurality in Ancient Magical Texts and Practices

Edited by Ljuba Merlina Bortolani, William Furley, Svenja Nagel, and Joachim Friedrich Quack

Mohr Siebeck (ISBN: 9783161564789) – Cost: EUR€ 129

Publisher’s Summary:

“A conference held in Heidelberg in 2014 resulted in this collection of essays, which explore the multifaceted aspects of magical texts and practices in antiquity, focusing especially on the Graeco-Egyptian magical papyri. The volume concentrates on questions of cultural plurality and fusion, ranging from earlier Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Greek magico-religious traditions, through the original developments of Graeco-Roman Egypt, up to and including their integration into Jewish and Byzantine magical lore. In particular, phenomena such as simple borrowing, advanced adaptation, complete assimilation or even distortion of origin and meaning stress the importance of disentangling different cultural elements and understanding their interaction. Going beyond the borders of academic fields, this book aims at giving to the transcultural perspective the importance it deserves in the study of ancient magic.”

El Hawawish. Tombs, Sarcophagi, Stelae

Vivienne G. Callender

IFAO (ISBN: 9782724707311) – Cost: EUR€ 64

Publisher’s Summary:

“This present study in the series Paléographie hiéroglyphique offers a segment of hieroglyphic writing from a discrete period: the disturbed times from the end of the Old Kingdom to the end of the First Intermediate Period. Unlike other volumes in this series, however, the hieroglyphs from the Akhmim cemetery of El-Hawawish have been drawn from various sources: tomb reliefs and paintings, stelae, wooden coffins and statues; consequently, both the length of the era and the varied nature of the writing surfaces and the materials used at times encouraged the introduction of numerous and interesting variations into Egypt’s hieroglyphic corpus. The Australian publication of this hieroglyphic record from El-Hawawish has been especially important because of the poor state of preservation of the tombs and the limited printed material available prior to the 1980s. The original documentation was carried out by volunteer students from the universities of Auckland (New Zealand) and Macquarie (Australia), under the inspiration and guidance of Professor Naguib Kanawati. Particularly notable are the careful transcriptions from the wooden coffins from this era, revealing a most inventive and sophisticated approach to writing so many thousands of years ago. Without the dedicated work of those numerous modern hands, the El-Hawawish hieroglyphic corpus would have been lost forever. This volume presents a representative sample of that precious writing.”

Five Egyptian Goddesses: Their Possible Beginnings, Actions, and Relationships in the Third Millennium BCE

Susan Tower Hollis

Bloomsbury (ISBN: 9781780935959) – Cost: US$ 56.92

Publisher’s Summary:

“Showcasing the latest research with carefully chosen illustrations and a full bibliography, Susan Tower Hollis suggests that the origins of the goddesses derived primarily from their functions, as, shown by their first appearances in the text and art of the Protodynastic, Early Dynastic, and Old Kingdom periods of the late fourth and third millennia BCE. The roles of the goddess Bat are also explored where she is viewed both as an independent figure and in her specific connections to Hathor, including the background to their shared bovine iconography. Hollis provides evidence of the goddesses’ close ties with royalty and, in the case of Neith, her special connections to early queens.”

The Representations of Women in the Middle Kingdom Tombs of Officials

Ľubica Hudáková

Brill (ISBN: 9789004379572) – Cost: EUR€ 232

Publisher’s Summary:

“Ľubica Hudáková offers an in-depth analysis of female iconography in the decorative programme of Middle Kingdom non-royal tombs, highlighting changes and innovations in comparison to the Old Kingdom. Previously considered too uniform, the study represents the first systematic investigation of two-dimensional images of women and reveals their variability in space and time. Hudáková examines the roles appointed to women by analyzing how they are depicted in a variety of contexts. Taking into account their postures, gestures, garments, hairstyles, size of the body, age as well as attributes and tools used by them, along with the scene orientation, she traces diachronic and diatopic developments and regional traditions in the Middle Kingdom tomb decoration.”

L’Administration provinciale sous l’Ancien Empire égyptien

Émilie Martinet

Brill (ISBN: 9789004407183) – Cost: US$ 368

Publisher’s Summary:

“In L’Administration provinciale sous l’Ancien Empire égyptien, Émilie Martinet offers an innovative analysis of the provincial administrative structures and the stratification of the local elites in the Old Kingdom (2700-2160 BC) based on a critical study of sources and building on a database containing about 1500 titled individuals. She applies a comprehensive and novel approach which goes beyond the scope of prosopographical analysis and which includes all the hierarchy levels as well as the links between central administration and provincial administration. The exhaustive character of this study, the historical reasoning which is employed, and the development of a typology of provincial administrative structures and of a new terminology for the rulers of the provinces are among the major assets of this book.”

The State in Ancient Egypt: Power, Challenges and Dynamics

Juan Carlos Moreno Garcia

Bloomsbury (ISBN: 9781350074989) – Cost: US$ 18.86

Publisher’s Summary:

“Ancient Egypt shared many parallels with other Bronze and Iron Age societies as can be shown by an analysis of the structure of the state, of the limits of royal power, of the authority of local but neglected micro-powers (such as provincial potentates and wealthy non-elite), and of the circulation and control of wealth. Furthermore, Egypt experienced deep changes in its social, economic, political and territorial organization during its history, thus making the land of the pharaohs an ideal arena in which to test applications of models of governments and to define the dynamics that rule societies on the longue durée. When seen through these new perspectives, the pharaonic monarchies appear less exceptional than previously thought, and more dependent on the balance of power, on their capacity to control the kingdom’s resources and on the changing geopolitical conditions of their time.”

Creatures of Earth, Water and Sky: Essays on Animals in Ancient Egypt and Nubia

Edited by Stéphanie Porcier, Salima Ikram, and Stéphane Pasquali

Oxbow Books (ISBN: 9789088907722) – Cost: GB£ 55

Publisher’s Summary:

“Ancient Egyptians always had an intense and complex relationship with animals in daily life as well as in religion. Despite the fact that research on this relationship has been a topic of study, gaps in our knowledge still remain. This volume presents well over 30 contributions that explore Human-Animal relationships from the Predynastic to the Roman period. The essays cover topics such as animal husbandry, mummification, species-specific studies, the archaeology and economy of the animal cults, funerary practices, iconography and symbolism. The contribution of archaeometrical methods, such as DNA analyses, balms’ analyses, AMS dating, radiography, and 3D imaging, are also represented as these play a significant role in furthering our understanding of the human-animal relationship in Egypt. The range of subject matter and contributors are indicative of the importance of animals and the role that they played in ancient Egypt and Nubia, and emphasises the need for continued inter- and multidisciplinary studies on the subject. The research outlined in this volume has helped, for example, to better identify ways of sourcing the animals used in mummification, contributed to establishing the eras during which animal mummification became common, and highlighted new techniques for acquiring DNA. The fresh insights and diversity of topics makes the volume of interest for professionals (Egyptologists, (archaeo-)zoologists and historians), as well as those who are interested in Egyptology and in the relationship between humans and animals.”

Late Ramesside Royal Statuary

Simone Burger Robin

Abercromby Press (ISBN: 9781912246045) – Cost: GB£ 45

Publisher’s Summary:

“The late Ramesside period is often overlooked in favor of the scores of objects produced during the earlier parts of the New Kingdom and the succeeding Third Intermediate Period. These objects have often been neglected or given little academic attention due to the problematic understanding of the reigns of the last kings of the New Kingdom and the changes that Egypt underwent during the subsequent Third Intermediate Period. For the first time, this catalogue comprises all known examples of royal, three-dimensional statuary, including complete statues, statue fragments and statue bases, collected and studied in terms of provenance, material, inscription and stylistic analysis. Additionally, there are chapters on statues no longer considered late Ramesside and royal shabtis, as well as an introductory essay on the history of the late Ramesside Period. This catalogue brings together these objects in a cohesive volume intended for a wide spectrum of users, including Late New Kingdom specialists, art historians and general Egyptologists.”

Perspectives on Lived Religion. Practices, Transmission, Landscape.

Edited by Nico Staring, Huw Twiston Davies and Lara Weiss

Sidestone Press (ISBN: 9789088907920) – Cost: Read Free Online

Publisher’s Summary:

“Religion in the ancient world, and ancient Egyptian religion in particular, is often perceived as static, hierarchically organised, and centred on priests, tombs, and temples. Engagement with archaeological and textual evidence dispels these beguiling if superficial narratives, however. Individuals and groups continuously shaped their environments, and were shaped by them in turn. This volume explores the ways in which this adaptation, negotiation, and reconstruction of religious understandings took place. The material results of these processes are termed ‘cultural geography’. The volume examines this ‘cultural geography’ through the study of three vectors of religious agency: religious practices, the transmission of texts and images, and the study of religious landscapes.”

L’Égypte Pharaonique. Histoire, société, culture

Pierre Tallet, Frédéric Payraudeau, Chloé Ragazzoli, and Claire Somaglino

Armand Colin (ISBN: 9782200617530) – EUR€ 26.50

Publisher’s Summary (1):

“In the Nile Valley, there emerged a complex cultural process as one of the oldest territorial states of the world, led by a sacred kingship and an administration, which developed and evolved during the nearly 3,000 years, which separate the First Dynasty and the Roman conquest. Beyond the image of an Egypt of immobile pyramids let by an all powerful despot, recent research coming from the analyses of written documentation and iconography as well as from the latest archaeological discoveries, on the contrary, brings about a more nuanced picture. From the central role of the local scale of the games of power between the great families of the court, from the food economy to international exchange, from the exploitation of the deserts encircling Egypt to long-distance expeditions to the Sinai, Punt, Sudan, and Near East, it is a constantly evolving kingdom, which is depicted here. Beyond the summary of the chronological framework essential to the understanding of Egyptian history, the work tackles the historical problems of each of the major periods, touching not only on history, but also on society and culture by presenting equally the current historiographical debates.”

The Meaning of Color in Ancient Mesopotamia

Shiyanthi Thavapalan

Brill (ISBN: 9789004415379) – Cost: US$ 196

Publisher’s Summary:

“In The Meaning of Color in Ancient Mesopotamia, Shiyanthi Thavapalan offers the first in-depth study of the words and expressions for colors in the Akkadian language (c. 2500-500 BCE). By combining philological analysis with the technical investigation of materials, she debunks the misconception that people in Mesopotamia had a limited sense of color and positions the development of Akkadian color language as a corollary of the history of materials and techniques in the ancient Near East.”

Value of Colour. Material and Economic Aspects in the Ancient World

Edited by Shiyanthi Thavapalan and David Warburton

Edition Topoi (ISBN: 9783982067018) – Cost: Read Free Online

Publisher’s Summary:

“In the Value of Colour, an interdisciplinary group of scholars come together to examine economically relevant questions concerning a narrow slice of social and cognitive history: namely, colours. Traditionally, the study of colours has been approached from a cultural or linguistic perspective. The essays collected in this volume highlight the fact that in earliest human history, colours appear in contexts of prestige (value) and commerce. Acquisition, production, labour, circulation and consumption are among the issues discussed by individual authors to show how colourful materials acquired meaning in the ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds. Spanning the Palaeolithic to the early Imperial Rome, the contributions also demonstrate the many questions asked and approaches used by historians in the growing field of Colour Studies.”

L’Egitto di Belzoni. Un gigante nella terra delle piramidi

Francesca Veronese

ISBN: 9788864481425) – Cost EUR€ 30

Publisher’s Summary (2):

“The catalogue of the great exhibit dedicated to the Padovan explorer is revealed in a precious volume, a book truly rich with essays by distinguished scholars and with exclusive images. Giovanni Battista Belzoni is a controversial figure. The most strange and unfamiliar, and regarded with suspicion by the world of science. We wanted to tell about this figure, but above all we wanted to make known, highlighting his merits without leaving out his flaws, leaving the visitor to be the judge.”

Notes:

  1. Translated from the French by the Nile Scribes.
  2. Translated from the Italian by Stephen Sika Ficalora.

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