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The Great Pyramid: Ancient Egypt Revisited

Overview

The Great Pyramid's eerily precise architecture has for centuries both astounded and puzzled archaeologists and has given rise to numerous modern fantasies concerning the so-called 'Mystery of the Pyramids'. Sweeping away centuries of myth and confusion, John Romer describes for the first time exactly how the Great Pyramid was designed and built. He argues that the pyramid makers worked from a single plan whose existence has long been doubted and even denied by scholars. Moreover, the Great Pyramid's unique ...

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Overview

The Great Pyramid's eerily precise architecture has for centuries both astounded and puzzled archaeologists and has given rise to numerous modern fantasies concerning the so-called 'Mystery of the Pyramids'. Sweeping away centuries of myth and confusion, John Romer describes for the first time exactly how the Great Pyramid was designed and built. He argues that the pyramid makers worked from a single plan whose existence has long been doubted and even denied by scholars. Moreover, the Great Pyramid's unique architecture is integral to the way it was built, and for its builders the tasks of construction and design were not separate as they are now. By placing this awesome monument in its genuine contemporary context, this book underlines the extraordinary talents and the originality of the ancient Egyptians at the time of King Khufu.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A vast amount has been published on the pyramids, but this book offers a refreshing and distinctive approach based on sound scholarship and written in a style that often strikes a spark in the reader's imagination. One comes away reminded what an astonishing building the Great Pyramid is, out on its own in the realm of ancient Egyptian architecture, and therefore something that does not fit into the generalizations that we tend to seek." Barry Kemp, Professor of Egyptology, University of Cambridge and author of Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization

"If you read only one pyramid book this year, read archaeologist Romer's, a winner both in size and in substance. Romer (Ancient Lives: The Story of the Pharaoh's Tombmakers) does a fabulous job of breaking down our preconceived notions of the Great Pyramid (completed c.2500 B.C.E.). He reexamines all the old ideas, myths, and legends and washes away years of misinterpretation and misinformation. For example, he reassesses the scarce evidence about King Khufu (a.k.a. Cheops to the Greeks) and presents a revised profile of the pyramid workers' lives, families, and culture. He delves into the Great Pyramid's plan (he stipulates that there was one consistent plan throughout its building), materials, construction, shafts, ramps, burial chamber, and grand gallery. Scholarly yet written for a general audience, this title will be coveted in all public and academic libraries. Highly recommended."
Melissa Aho, Metropolitan State Univ., St. Paul, MN, Library Journal

"Compellingly written and judiciously illustrated, this authoritative book will appeal to both scholars and the general public. Highly recommended." —Choice

Publishers Weekly

The largest and most precise stone building in the world and a feat of Bronze Age technology, the Great Pyramid of Giza was built around 2478 B.C. in the reign of King Khufu. But how did the Great Pyramid's makers go about their daily work? what were their timetables, their ambitions? Transposing to Giza some known facts about the building rates of the Red Pyramid during the reign of Khufu's father, Sneferu, archeologist Romer (Great Excavations) concludes that it would have taken 14 years to build the Great Pyramid and that a nationwide workforce of around 21,000 was employed during the first year of construction and almost half that number as it approached completion. Taking traditional Egyptologists to task, Romer warns readers against swallowing the "myth" that the Great Pyramid was built by a mindless rural labor force kidnapped from distant villages and enslaved by a bureaucracy governed by talented noblemen. Instead, he posits that the workers were intelligent and inventive. Moreover, the author believes that the builders worked from a single construction plan, a "hidden logic" denied by many scholars but that he claims he alone has recovered. Romer is a bracing writer with attitude to spare, yet highly technical data render this volume more suitable to architects than lay readers. Illus. (Apr.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521871662
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 586
  • Sales rank: 1,420,833
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 1.46 (d)

Meet the Author

John Romer has worked as an archaeologist in Egypt over four decades.

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Table of Contents

Part I. Visions of the Pyramid: 1. Introduction; 2. Making the mystery; 3. Surveying Giza; 4. Excavating Giza; 5. The pyramid's plan; 6. The pyramid's timetable; Part II. The Pyramid-Makers: The Ghosts in the Cemetery: 7. At the court of the King; 8. The adventures of the Vizier; 9. The new Egyptians; 10. The social contract; Part III. The People on the Plateau: 11. Working the stone; 12. The Giza quarry; 13. Fire and the pyramid; 14. Entrepôt and accommodation; 15. The living city; 16. Coda: thinking with stone; Part IV. The Land and the Pyramid: 17. Prospecting Egypt; 18. Desert copper; 19. Aswan granite; 20. Tura limestone; 21. The river; 22. The Giza ramps; 23. Coda: the commanding landscape; Part V. The Great Inheritance: The First Pyramid: 24. The spirit and the tomb; 25. Mud to stone; 26. To make a pyramid; 27. Accommodating Djoser; Part VI. The Pyramids of Sneferu: 28. The Meidum pyramid; 29. The failed pyramid; 30. The jubilee pyramid; 31. The long journey of the spirit; 32. The dark interior; 33. Two last works; 34. Coda: the legacy; Part VII. Planning the Pyramid: 35. Choosing Giza; 36. Levelling the site; 37. The plan inside the pyramid; 38. The plan beside the pyramid; 39. Numbers; 40. Stars; 41. Coda: considering the architecture; Part VIII. Building the Pyramid: 42. In the beginning; 43. Setting the lines; 44. The miniature shafts; 45. The grand gallery; 46. The burial chamber; 47. To the top; 48. After the pyramid; 49. The rites of death; 50. Coda: after Khufu; 51. Stone; 52. Spirit.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Very fascinating and interesting reading !!

    You will have hours of enjoyment reading the information in this book.

    I purchased this as a gift for my doctor and I know he will enjoy it for many years to come.

    Wonderful gift for someone else or yourself !!!

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