HISTORY

The Pyramids: The Archaeology and History of Egypt’s Iconic Monuments

American Univ. in Cairo. Jan. 2021. 480p. ISBN 9789774169885. $79.95. HIST
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Verner, former director of the Egyptology Institute, Charles University, Prague, and leader of the Czech excavations at Abusir’s Fifth Dynasty pyramid field, has dramatically updated and expanded this comprehensive resource nearly 20 years after the first English-language edition. In Part 1, the author explores the cultural and architectural evolution of the pyramids in Egypt and Sudan, from the mastaba tombs of the Early Dynastic Period, through the step pyramids of the Third Dynasty, to the “true pyramids” of the later Old Kingdom, and the subsequent decline in their structure and size in later periods. In Parts 2 and 3, more than 60 pyramids are systematically presented and analyzed in chronological order by dynasty. Entries include ancient name (if known), dimensions, excavators with dates, and description with relevant plans and illustrations. Part 4 explores pyramid construction with special reference to Mark Lehner’s recent excavations of the workmen’s village at Giza and a survey of current ramp theories for block transport.
VERDICT This sumptuously illustrated study incorporating the latest archaeological findings is highly recommended for general and informed readers fascinated by the pyramids and ancient Egyptian civilization. Fans might also enjoy Mark Lehner’s The Complete Pyramids.

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