Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation

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Before the Pyramids: The Origins of Egyptian Civilization with Emily Teeter

Return to Book Page. Preview — Ancient Egypt by Barry J. This comprehensive survey of Egyptian society and history transforms our understanding of this remarkable civilisation. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.

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Published December 21st by Routledge first published March 1st More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Ancient Egypt , please sign up.

Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation / Edition 2

Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Aug 05, Barnaby Thieme rated it really liked it Shelves: egypt , history , archaeology. The first thing a prospective reader should bear in mind about this interesting and useful book is that it is not a history. Kemp is an archaeologist and this book is very much oriented toward archaeological evidence and data. What history this book contains if provided to contextualize and interpret that data.

This book does contain an enormous amount of information of historical interest, but it is not intended to offer a historical overview or narrative. Its purpose is admirably served by Kem The first thing a prospective reader should bear in mind about this interesting and useful book is that it is not a history. Its purpose is admirably served by Kemp's sweeping and up-to-date review of various findings. Considering materials dating from the Neolithic period to the invasion of Alexander the Great, he deftly explores what we know -- and what we do not know -- about the nature of life along the Nile during that vast expanse of time.


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Kemp's primary orientation is political and economic material and he strikes this reader as heavily influenced by Marx. This especially comes across in his handling of Egyptian religious material, which I found to be the weakest part of the book.

Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization by Barry J. Kemp

Kemp is tone deaf to religious literature and treats it purely as ideology. But if the purpose of archaeology is to understand, we cannot understand a thing without understanding how it functioned in people's actual lives. Whatever one's personal beliefs, a purely ideological analysis of religious material remains very much at the surface.

Another minor criticism is that Routledge is stingy with photographs in a book that positively cries out for lavish illustration. The overwhelming majority of illustrations are two- or three-tone line drawings. For a reader who is interested in what this book has to offer, I can unreservedly recommend it.

It was engaging from start to finish and gave a wonderful sense of what we know about Ancient Egypt and how we know it. It is the record of the slow subjugation of people to polities of increasing size, ambition and complexity, sometimes with and sometimes without their consent. When they are small and 'primitive' we are accustomed to call them chiefdoms.

When large, hierarchical and incorporating many specialist groups they become states. Jan 19, Rob Marshall rated it it was amazing. One word!

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Be warned, this is not a narrative history of Ancient Egypt. Think of it as a collection of interpretive essays based on archaeological evidence. You will learn a lot by reading Kemp's detailed and deeply thoughtful text, but you really have to have read at least one narrative history of Ancient Egypt for this text to have any meaning. If I were a student studying archaeology, I would expect to read this book as an upper division or graduate level text. That being said, Barry Kemp writes a few p Be warned, this is not a narrative history of Ancient Egypt.

That being said, Barry Kemp writes a few passages which are stunningly insightful. Online Buyback Sites.

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