Saturday, March 1, 2008

Temples, Tombs & Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt by Barbara Mertz

Better known as Elizabeth Peters, creator of archaeological sleuth Amelia Peabody, Mertz is an Egyptologist who has the ability to entice general readers into the complexities of her field of study, using nontechnical language with wit and amusing personal asides worthy of Peabody herself. The original version of this book, a classic introduction to the history of ancient Egypt and Egyptology, was published in 1964. This new edition incorporates all significant discoveries of recent decades into the discussion. Mertz gives special attention to such topics as the kingship (yes) of Queen Hatshepsut, the exploits of Thutmose III, and the Amarna Period with its intriguing players Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and Tutankhamen. Presenting both pros and cons of current theories, Mertz also explains in simple language archaeological techniques such as carbon 14 dating and historical chronology. The bibliography includes the essential titles for the nonspecialist who wishes to explore the subject in greater depth. Recommended for public libraries as an excellent introduction for patrons interested in the land of the pharaohs. For an overview of archaeological sites in Egypt, Ian Shaw's Exploring Ancient Egypt is a fine choice with a different focus. - SBCL

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