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Saturday, March 28, 2020

New Books in Egyptology (January-March 2020) - Nile Scribes

New Books in Egyptology (January-March 2020)

Every few 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 11 books that were released early in 2020 (January to March). Hopefully one of these will be a welcome distraction during these bewildering times.

Did you read our last post on books from 2019?

La chapelle de barque en calcite aux noms d'Amenhotep Ier et de Thoutmosis Ier

Jean-François Carlotti et al.

IFAO (ISBN: 9782724707588) – Cost: EU€ 43

Publisher's summary:

"First volume of the series dedicated to the Monuments of Amenhotep I at Karnak, the publication of the calcite chapel in the names of Amenhotep I and of Thutmose I materialises the achievement of a long scientific process initiated by the discovery in 1914 of the first blocks in the foundations of the southern tower of the IIIrd pylon. Followed in 1947 the reconstruction of the monument in the open air museum. Successive phases of drawings and photographic documentation were then implemented and finally the publication of the present edition comprising fac-similes, translations and comments. The calcite chapel is a bark repository for the god's portable bark during Amun's procession festivals. Its original location is still debated: either inside the festival courtyard of Thutmose II, or the place where the "inthronisation seat of Amun" was later erected (the latter has our preference). Its decoration was later duplicated in most of Karnak's calcite bark shrines. The specific rituals addressed to the bark of Amun are partly those recorded in the "Ritual of Amenhotep I" known throughout the p.BM 10689 (Chester-Beatty IX) and the p.Cairo CGC 58030, p. XI + p.Turin, Inv. Suppl. 10125 and which, quite a-propos, bear the name of "offering service for the festival of Amun-Ra."

Eléments de la terminologie du temps en égyptien ancien: Une étude de sémantique lexicale en diachronie

Gaëlle Chantrain

Widmaier Verlag (ISBN: 978-3-943955-21-7) – Cost: EU€ 59

Publisher's summary:

"This book has a double scope: first, bringing a contribution to the knowledge and understanding of the time conceptions in Ancient Egypt through a lexical study and, second, contributing to the definition of a methodological frame for lexical semantics in Ancient Egyptian. In the introduction, the reader will first find a state of the art from the point of view of time-related studies in Egyptology, lexical semantics studies, and classifiers studies. The next introductory sections deal with the links between time, space and motion, with the complexity of time conceptions in Ancient Egypt, and with the impact of this plural vision on the lexicon. The first part of the core study aims at establishing a proposition of canvas for the semasiology of nouns. It also presents the semasiological analysis of eight lexemes belonging to the unbounded time domain: 3.t (moment), wnw.t (hour), nw (moment), tr (time), H3w (epoch), rk (epoch), aHaw (lifetime) and Hnty (period). The second part is dedicated to the onomasiology of the unbounded time domain, as well as some of its connections with some contiguous domains like space."

Text-Bild-Objekte im archäologischen Kontext: Festschrift für Susanne Bickel

Edited by Kathrin Gabler et al.

Widmaier Verlag (ISBN: 9783943955224) – Cost: EU€ 49

Publisher's summary:

"Ancient Egypt has bequeathed us a rich archaeological heritage of texts and images. Their meaning often becomes apparent only when their spatial dimension is taken into account. Informed by Susanne Bickel's epigraphic and archaeological research, the present volume focuses on the interplay of textual and visual perspectives in the analysis of Egyptian monuments and their spatial location. «Text-Bild-Objekte im archäologischen Kontext» unfolds this research perspective in 17 contributions, that combine text, image and spatial context, intended to describe both the contents and the methodology. The thematic spectrum of the contributions ranges from the Old Kingdom to the 19th century and from Nubia to Switzerland."

Testing the Canon of Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology

Edited by Amy Gansell and Ann Shafer

Oxford University Press (ISBN: 9780190673161) – Cost: US$ 99

Publisher's summary:

"Testing the Canon of Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology invites readers to reconsider the contents and agendas of the art historical and world-culture canons by looking at one of their most historically enduring components: the art and archaeology of the ancient Near East. Ann Shafer, Amy Rebecca Gansell, and other top researchers in the field examine and critique the formation and historical transformation of the ancient Near Eastern canon of art, architecture, and material culture. Contributors flesh out the current boundaries of regional and typological sub-canons, analyze the technologies of canon production (such as museum practices and classroom pedagogies), and voice first-hand heritage perspectives. Each chapter, thereby, critically engages with the historiography behind our approach to the Near East and proposes alternative constructs. Collectively, the essays confront and critique the ancient Near Eastern canon's present configuration and re-imagine its future role in the canon of world art as a whole."

The People of the Cobra Province in Egypt: A Local History, 4500 to 1500 BC

Wolfram Grajetzki

Oxbow Books (ISBN: 9781789254211) – Cost: GB£ 44

Publisher's summary:

"The book delivers a history from below for the first half of Egyptian history covering the earliest settlements, state formation and the pyramid age. The focus is on the Wadjet province, about 350 km south of modern Cairo in Upper Egypt. Here archaeological records provide an especially rich dataset for the material culture of farmers. Histories of Ancient Egypt have focussed heavily on the kings, monuments and inscriptions, while the working population is hardly mentioned. The book investigates the life of people far from the centres of power. One main aim of the book is the interaction between farmers and the ruling classes at the centres of power and locally. How did decisions at the royal centre affect the life of ordinary people? The Introduction offers a critical survey of Egyptologists and their attitudes towards the working class. The social and cultural background of these researchers is analysed to assess how heavily they are influenced by time and their political and cultural background. The First chapter then describes the location and gives a history of previous research and excavations. The archaeological sites and the recorded ancient place names of the province are presented to provide a geographical framework for the book. The following chapters are arranged in chronological order, mainly according to the archaeological phases visible in the province. It appears that in phases of a weak central government, people in the provinces were much better off, while in phases of a strong central government burials of poorer people are almost absent. The reasons for this are discussed. A substantial part of the book comprises descriptions of single burials and the material culture in the province. The archaeology of the poorer people is the main focus. Burial customs and questions of production are discussed. For a fuller picture, evidence from other parts of Egypt is also taken into account. Thus settlement sites in other regions are presented to provide contemporary evidence for living conditions in particular periods. As the book will focus on the lower classes, the Tributary Mode of Production will be used as the main theoretical framework. The Tributary Mode of Production (previously known as the Asiatic Mode of Production) is a term that goes back to Karl Marx, but was mainly used in the 20th century to describe ancient societies whose economies were not based on slaves. A constant question will be the status of the working population. Were they slaves, serfs or free citizens? It will be argued that they were most often in a dependent position comparable to that of serfs, while there is little evidence for slavery. The numerous burials presented in the volume are important for highlighting the diversity of burials in the different periods. Many will be placed in special subchapters. Readers can skip these chapters when they prefer to concentrate on the main text."

Memphis in der Dritten Zwischenzeit: Eine Studie zur (Selbst-)Repräsentation von Eliten in der 21. und 22. Dynastie

Claus Jurman

Widmaier Verlag (ISBN: 9783943955613) – Cost: EU€ 225

Publisher's summary:

"This book is concerned with the monumental display of different aspects of identity and personhood by members of the local elite in the ancient Egyptian metropolis of Memphis during the 21st and the first half of the 22nd Dynasty (corresponding to c. 1070–775 BCE). Whilst based on a corpus of 114 individual artefacts, the study aims at providing for the first time a holistic and fully contextualised perspective on the history of Memphis and its inhabitants during the Third Intermediate Period and the periods that immediately precede and follow it. Accordingly, the book's methodological scope and toolkit are multifaceted, giving due attention to traditional historical and archaeological enquiries, but also following avenues informed by art historical, philological, prosopographical, sociological and anthropological approaches. At the book's heart lies a detailed study of the primary sources (among them the burials of the 'high priests' of the 22nd Dynasty), which are meticulously contextualised in order to facilitate the integration of micro- and macro-perspectives. The analyses are complemented by prosopographical dossiers, an extensive plate section and genealogical charts."

Im Fahrwasser des Sonnengottes. Eine Studie zum Darreichen der Morgen- und Abendbarke in den ägyptischen Tempeln griechisch-römischer Zeit

Jessica Kertmann

Harrassowitz (ISBN: 9783447113229) – Cost: EU€ 118

Publisher's summary (1):

"The journeys of the sun god in his barges along the sky and through the underworld make up one of the most central elements of the ancient Egyptian world view. Over the course of Egyptian religious history, the ideas associated with the course of the sun were described and presented in more or less detail text genres. A type of ritual scene which shows the king in an act of offering with the morning and evening bark of the sun god, is attested 45 times in Graeco-Roman temples. Jessica Kertmann makes these scenes the focus of her study. In the first part of the investigation, the attestations are presented with a translation and commentary, in which the position in the temple, the structure of the scene, and the iconography of the barges are also addressed. Subsequently, an analysis of the scenes and their texts from several view points follows in the second part. The conception of the individual protagonists and their iconography are examined as well as their counter parts, the motifs of the course of the sun, and the formal design of the scene texts. The investigation is supplemented by an overarching chapter on the conception of the course and the barges of the sun as well as on the question of the new arrangement of the barks within the day phases in Graeco-Roman times."

Trauma und Therapie. Die Schöpfung der schönen Literatur als eine kulturpoetische Bewältigung des Königsmordes an Amenemhet I.?

Ludwig D. Morenz

ebv Berlin (ISBN: 978-3-86893-326-0) – Cost: EU€ 19

Publisher's summary (1):

"In this essay, history is mirrored in literature and at the same time the question of the historical conditions of beautiful literature (md.w nfr.w) in the early second millennium B.C. is analysed. In this process, the royal murder of Amenemhat I is carved out as a central event not only of a social or royal-ideological, but also of an apparent revolutionary cultural-poetic importance. In particular, the question is asked of the regicide being a trigger for beautiful literature, is examined from multiple perspectives, and is answered, at least seemingly, in a positive manner."

Athribis V. Archäologie im Repit-Tempel zu Athribis 2012-2016

Marcus Müller, Mohamed el-Bialy, and Mansour Boraik

IFAO (ISBN: 9782724707403) – Cost: EU€ 75

Publisher's summary:

"The volume Athribis V presents the 2012-16 excavations of the Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen in the Repit Temple, built by Ptolemy XII, which is located in Athribis in Sohag Province. The first account portrays the challenging working conditions due to hundreds of heavy, fallen temple blocks, then the formalities of excavation techniques and documentation. Since all large stone temples in Egypt were cleared by the early 20th century without paying attention to the archaeological deposits, the excavation in Athribis provided a unique opportunity to investigate the late Roman and early Medieval re-use of a temple. The most important results of each room are presented in chronological order in the next chapter. Several rooms with their respective archaeological features, finds, secondary installations, and architectural issues are then discussed. The volume ends with a review of the 1981-97 excavations of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization."

Towards a History of Egyptology. Proceedings of the Egyptological Section of the 8th ESHS Conference in London, 2018

Edited by Hana Navratilova et al.

Zaphon (ISBN: 9783963270802) – Cost: EU€ 79

Publisher's summary:

"Ancient Egypt has for centuries occupied a prominent place in popular imaginations and scholarly research agendas. While our knowledge of the long-dead civilization of the pharaohs has vastly increased and improved over the past two hundred years, our understanding of what actually constitutes what we call 'Egyptology' remains elusive. Based upon research presented in 2018 at the 8th Conference of the European Society for the History of Science in London, this volume comprises a wide range of reflections by an international, interdisciplinary panel of scholars on matters central to the history of Egyptology. Their papers explore various approaches to the study of Egyptology's history; national, particularly including Egyptian perspectives on Egyptology; and the interdependencies of scholarship and politics. This unique book represents an important step in the evolution of a newly developing dialogue: one that sees the study of ancient Egypt brought more closely in line with modern debates on the construction of knowledge, disciplinary formation, and the importance of ancient history to modern societies – and also within them, as a means of validating aspects of the present."

Abydos: the Sacred Land at the Western Horizon

Edited by Ilona Regulski

Peeters (ISBN: 9789042937987) – Cost: EU€ 120

Publisher's summary:

"The volume is the first of two complementary volumes that explore Abydos through the lenses of the latest archaeological, archival and collections research, building upon a colloquium and workshop held at the British Museum in 2015. Volume 2 presents a focussed view on Abydos in the post-pharaonic period. Chosen as the burial ground for the first kings of Egypt, Abydos became a site of great antiquity, and its ancient sanctity may have conferred legitimacy on the individuals buried there. The site soon became the cult centre for Egypt's most popular god, Osiris, who ruled the netherworld and guaranteed every Egyptian eternal life after death. As a result of continued ritual performance, endowments and pilgrimage, a vast landscape of chapels and tombs, temples and towns, developed. For millennia, Abydos was one of the most consecrated sites of Egypt. The contributions in this volume will address the social and cultural dynamics of an ever-changing landscape serving this unique ritual narrative."


  1. Translated from the German by the Nile Scribes.

--   Sent from my Linux system.

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