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Genesis of the Pharaohs: Dramatic New Discoveries That Rewrite the Origins of Ancient Egypt (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 30. April 2003

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Generations of scholars, tourists and armchair travellers have been intrigued by the puzzle of ancient Egypt's origins. Now, in the light of Toby Wilkinson's dramatic new discoveries, the genesis of the pharaohs is at last coming into focus. But the picture that emerges is not what we imagined. The ancestors of the pyramid-builders were not village-dwelling farmers, but wandering cattle-herders, and pharaonic civilization was forged in one of the most forbidding places on Earth: the Eastern Desert, between the Nile Valley and the Red Sea. Here, the pharaohs' distant ancestors left a stunning legacy that has remained hidden for 6,000 years: hundreds of intricate rock carvings in which the origins of later pharaonic imagery is clearly discernible. Toby Wilkinson traces the discovery of these ancient records, dates them, and identifies the artists who made them, basing his own discoveries in the heart of the Eastern Desert.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Toby Wilkinson took a First Class degree in Egyptology from Cambridge University and is now a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge. He lectures widely on ancient Egypt and led the expedition to Egypt's Eastern Desert that gave rise to the discoveries in this book. His other publications include Early Dynastic Egypt.


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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9e8f86c0) von 5 Sternen 11 Rezensionen
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HASH(0x9e9c73e4) von 5 Sternen The rock art of Pre-Dynastic Egypt and the implications 22. November 2005
Von Ray Farmer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
"Genesis of the Pharaohs" ponders the question of the origin of the direct ancestors of Pre-Dynastic Egypt. Wilkinson attempts to refute theories that these ancestors came from outside the area either forceably or peacefully, and brought their complex culture with them, which formed the basis of the Old Kingdom. Rather, through a comparative analysis of the rock art of the eastern savanna (located between the Nile and the Red Sea) with the art of the Naqada and Pre-Dynastic periods, the author proposes that the ancestors of Ancient Egyptian civilization were locals who lived in and around the eastern savanna.

Wilkinson's enthusiasm for his subject is very apparent, and he creates an enjoyable experience for the most part for readers of this book. However, I thought that the evidence he used to support his story was speculative and subjective, and this is inevitable when Wilkinson's argument is based primarily on art comparison. In certain parts of the book, I felt that the author was taking on the role of a salesman who was trying to sell us his story, and using his personality rather than the evidence to win us over.

At times, I also thought Wilkinson's enthusiasm was excessive to the point that he became too familiar with his subject. For example, in one of the chapters, he concocts a hypothetical story of a boy named Seth who lived in the eastern savanna region during the time that the rock art was created. Wilkinson goes through the trouble of constructing a hypothetical scenario involving the boy's interaction with his parents and his environment, all against the backdrop of the rock art. Apparently, this fictional account was meant to reinforce what Wilkinson thought was the social function of the rock art paintings to these early people. Instead, it left me feeling like I had mistakenly picked up a children's book rather than a book on Pre-Dynastic art.

Nevertheless, the idea that Wilkinson considers is an important one, and most Ancient Egyptophiles as well as students of art history will find this book worthwhile. I just felt that this work could have been much better if it were rewritten in a different tone and more material evidence included.
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HASH(0x9e9ca99c) von 5 Sternen Great book for latest theory in origins of ancient Egypt 23. Juli 2003
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
For anyone interested in the origins of ancient Egyptian civilization, this is a superb book. The author does not succumb to sensationalism, but offers this latest theory based on dateable artifacts studied with standard and most recent scientifically-based archeological methods.
This very readable book examines the predynastic evidence to support the theory that ancient Egypt's pharaonic civilization derived from indigenous semi-nomadic cultures about 7000-5000 years ago. Beginning with a survey of various archeological expeditions to Egypt's Eastern and Western deserts in search of prehistoric rock art, the book continues with a disussion of how rock art is dated, then sketches the cultures that produced the rock art and other predynastic artifacts. Finally, the possible meanings of the main motifs (animals forms, human forms, and boats) of the predynastic cultures are examined in light of how this symbology may be the origins of the ancient Egyptian royal and religious iconography of dynastic times.
The author's style is not dry but rather unfolds as a story that draws in the reader. No knowledge of archeology or of ancient Egypt, either dynastic or predynastic, is assumed. The maps, chart, figures, and numerous high-quality full-color plates assist learning and make the book delightfully self-contained.
The author makes it clear that this field is in its infancy and with the questions posed and the included bibliography invites the serious student and the scholar/researcher to further investigation, whether in the literature or in the field.
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HASH(0x9e9cc78c) von 5 Sternen Condensed and de-sensationalized, would make a very nice booklet 22. November 2013
Von Larry N. Stout - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Wilkinson and his collaborators made major rock-art discoveries in Egypt's Eastern Desert. However, this book overreaches the import and merits of these discoveries. No doubt it was very exciting indeed to find these images pecked in stone in prehistoric times, but Wilkinson's attempt to dramatize his account of the discoveries is a literary bust. And a late chapter of only a few pages purporting to place us in the sandals (or bare feet?) of a prehistoric Egyptian boy is embarrassingly lackluster and vapid. Notwithstanding that Wilkinson's interpretations of the rock art are interesting (if at times forced) and stimulating, far too much of the text is needlessly repetitive -- in an apparent effort to stetch to book length material that simply does not suffice for such ambition, at least in the form of a semi-popular book. The rock art is fascinating, but this book, whatever Wilkinson's personal bona fides, falls in the category of overdone ephemera. Nits, both small and large: Cairo and Maadi (at Wadi Digla) are mislocated on the map. "Slate" is dismissed as an alternate term for what is identified in the first instance as fine-grained siltstone (from which "cosmetic palettes" were made by the ancients), but the term "schist" strangely is not dismissed: is it a metamorphic rock, or not? Siltstone is not a metamorphic rock, and schist is not fine-grained. Figure 20 draws a parallel between a petroglyph showing seven women side by side and a grave-goods bowl with seven modeled women around the rim, yet the text tells us that there are eight women. On p. 89 we are told unequivocally that parallel zigzag lines on a model ostrich egg from a grave are "in imitation of a protective woven bag"; whereas, later in the book we're reminded that evacuated ostrich eggs were used as canteens -- and I'm reminded that parallel zigzag lines were used far and wide in prehistory as an abstraction of water. On p. 147 Wilkinson asserts that the rock art is located "hundreds of miles from the nearest [navigable] water"; however, it is well under 150 miles from the Nile to the Red Sea in this region, as the crow flies, and even given the twists and turns of ancient travel by foot this does not plausibly elongate into "hundreds of miles", especially seeing that the rock art is found between the extremes -- a rather egregious gaffe for a professional archaeologist, I must say. But at least Wilkinson is modest, informing us at the end that the "results" (i.e., his interpretations, not all entirely original) of his, the most recent rock-art discoveries in the Eastern Desert, are "astonishing"! All in all, below the better standards of a typical Thames & Hudson archaeology book.
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HASH(0x9e9ccf3c) von 5 Sternen The Nile and the Desert 13. Juli 2004
Von Michael Gunther - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Ever since Herodotus wrote that "Egypt is the gift of the Nile," people have focused on the river as the locus of Egyptian civilization. Lately that's changed, with amazing discoveries in the Western and Eastern deserts (which were actually grassy plains 6,000 years ago, when Egypt got started.)
Wilkinson's book directs our attention to the former Eastern savannah, now a desert, between the Nile and the Red Sea. In pre-historic times there was enough rainfall to support grasses and game; the region was populated by semi-nomadic people who made a living from cattle herding and hunting. The early pastoralists migrated here annually from temporary settlements on the east bank of the Nile, taking advantage of unique resources available at different times of the year: fishing, farming, and clay (for making pottery) near the river, and minerals, game, and pasture for their flocks on the savannah.
It is here, Wilkinson asserts, that we can find some of the earliest evidence for Pre-Dynastic Egyptian lifestyles, beliefs, imagery, political organization, and religion. Much of it comes from rock art, which was incised on the walls of rock shelters above the ancient stream beds. Petroglyphs show the wild and domesticated animals upon which the people's livelihood depended; scenes of the hunt; of herding; afterlife beliefs, most notably the funeral boat on which the deceased symbolically rode to the heavens; and gods with their distinctive feathered plumes.
For those who love art history, it's especially gratifying to note the large part that iconographic analysis has played in establishing the probable origins of Egyptian civilization, and the lifestyle and beliefs of the earliest Egyptians.
A fascinating and easy-to-read book, this will be enjoyed by just about everyone, from general reader to specialist, who is interested in prehistory, rock art and the origins of ancient Egypt.
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HASH(0x9e9ca930) von 5 Sternen Where did the pharaohs come from? Not so very far away, actually. 4. August 2008
Von Michael K. Smith - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This interesting -- but not especially "dramatic" -- history by a Cambridge Egyptologist is a prime example of the sins of jacket-copy writers. Because the author, a thoroughgoing academic, actually has nothing whatever to say about refugees from Atlantis or space-aliens, beyond dismissing them as twaddle. There has always been contention between "nativists" and "diffusionists," no matter which ancient civilization is under discussion, including the Sumerians and the earliest Egyptians, and the arguments on each side can be fascinating. Wilkinson argues that the first kings of the Nile Valley some 6,000 years ago were not, in fact, produced by the local culture in the Delta but by interlopers from the desert between the Nile and the Red Sea -- which is not actually a new idea, either. However, he ties his theory convincingly to a series of petroglyphic monuments, first discovered by Arthur Weigall (a student of Flinders Petrie) in the early years of the last century, and later studied and photographed by Hans Winkler in the late 1930s. The sites are still there, relatively undisturbed because of the remoteness of the protected wadis in which they were carved (Winkler's chalking is still visible), and Wilkinson's task for nearly a decade has been to publicize them, to bring them to the attention of modern academics as well as the educated public. The parallels between the rock art and classical tomb art in the Valley of the Kings is remarkable. Both feature gods traveling by boat, both depict deities in twin-plumed headdresses. Moreover, the crook and flail -- the canonical accoutrement of the pharaohs -- were herdsmen's tools from the eastern lands (which had not yet become desert), not agricultural implements from the Delta. The author strives for a popular style but, given the technical subject matter, he doesn't always succeed. Still, it's a well-written treatment of a very interesting subject. Just ignore the jacket copy.
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