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Valley of the Golden Mummies
by Zahi Hawass
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0810939428, Hardcover)In the winter of 1996, a guard at the temple of Alexander the Great near Bahariya, Egypt, reported an astounding discovery: during a routine patrol, he had been startled when the donkey he had been riding fell into a hole. Helping the donkey out of its predicament, the guard saw that the hole was in fact an opening into a tomb--and one from which a mummy's golden face peered.
Zahi Hawass, the director general of the Giza Pyramid complex and a leading Egyptian archaeologist, hurried to the site, which turned up more and more of those golden-masked corpses--105 in the first year of excavation alone, the largest number of mummies yet discovered at a single Egyptian site. Hawass's book describes the site and its contents, which offer material evidence of daily life at the Bahariya Oasis during the 25th and 26th dynasties, a time about which little is now known. Gaps in the historical record are quickly being filled, however, thanks to Hawass's ongoing findings, only a fraction of which are reported in his book. He guesses that the Valley of the Golden Mummies may eventually yield more than 10,000 perfectly preserved corpses and a wealth of information about their time.
The richly illustrated text also provides a detailed account of the work of modern Egyptologists, who accord their subjects a respect not often shown by earlier generations of field workers; as Hawass remarks, "We always treat a mummy as if it were still a person, just as we would hope to be treated ourselves in similar circumstances." It's an altogether fascinating excursion into long-ago times. --Gregory McNamee
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:31 -0400)
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