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The Material World of Ancient Egypt


  • Date Published: November 2013
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521713795

£ 22.99

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About the Authors
  • The Material World of Ancient Egypt examines the objects and artifacts, the representations in art, and the examples of documentation that together reveal the day-to-day physical substance of life in ancient Egypt. This book investigates how people dressed, what they ate, the houses they built, the games they played, and the tools they used, among many other aspects of daily life, paying great attention to the change and development of each area within the conservative Egyptian society. More than any other ancient civilization, the ancient Egyptians have left us with a wealth of evidence about their daily lives in the form of perishable objects, from leather sandals to feather fans, detailed depictions of trades and crafts on the walls of tombs, and a wide range of documentary evidence from temple inventories to personal laundry lists. Drawing on these diverse sources and richly illustrating his account with nearly one hundred images, William H. Peck illuminates the culture of the ancient Egyptians from the standpoint of the basic materials they employed to make life possible and perhaps even enjoyable.

    • Examines the real objects used by the Egyptians in their daily lives and is richly illustrated with nearly one hundred images
    • Makes a case for change and development in a seemingly changeless society
    • Includes in-depth examination of diverse sources from Egypt, with emphasis on the fact that much of the preserved evidence relates to the elite classes and has to be re-examined for society in general
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Peck's work is a badly needed up-to-date reference of daily life in ancient Egypt. The volume is sure to be welcomed by Egyptologists, classicists, anthropologists, and students of comparative cultures. The excellent selection of figures and diagrams adds tremendously to the value of the text.' Emily Teeter, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

    '[A]n invaluable, and at the same time a most enjoyable, treatment of the complex world of ancient Egyptian materiality. Here is everything you would want to know about the realities of life for the ancient Egyptians, and about the energy and creativity they deployed in order to provide basic necessities, seek well-being, and produce an elite culture of pyramids, temples and tombs, and the extraordinary range of art and artifacts associated with them.' David O'Connor, New York University

    'William Peck has written a scholarly yet highly readable and broadly accessible account of the daily life of the ancient Egyptians, based primarily on the many objects found in excavations and shown in the wall paintings and reliefs of their tombs. I am sure it will not only appeal to the general reader, but will also serve as an attractive textbook for students.' Jacobus van Dijk, University of Groningen

    'Material remains give us an unparalleled window into the reality of everyday life in ancient Egypt, and William Peck's book opens that window for modern readers.' James P. Allen, Brown University

    '[T]he book … should be welcomed as a contribution toward securing Egyptology within its broader archaeological context.' The Ancient History Bulletin

    '… [a] very comprehensive … work dealing with mundane aspect[s] of day-to-day life in ancient Egypt; it should prove very useful to Egyptologists and Egyptophiles alike.' Kmt: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt

    'Engaging and easily accessible, this book will appeal to anyone wanting to learn more about the reality of daily life in Ancient Egypt.' Ancient Egypt Magazine

    'Peck brings to relief the physical substance of daily life in Egypt, and he does so with the immediacy and realism of an eye witness. The book persuasively impresses upon its readers a gradual recognition of the Egyptians' humanity; a sense of the familiar which becomes almost self-evident in hindsight.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    '… Peck bring[s] to the reader an object-centred perspective on ancient Egyptian culture that has rarely been covered in popular literature before … [this book is] accessible and simultaneously scientifically accurate.' Barbora Janulíková, Archaeological Review from Cambridge

    '… a most useful summary of the topic of daily life and its artistic and archaeological manifestations that will be of considerable value to students and Egyptophiles … [it] also provides a useful starting point for those outside the subject requiring an up-to-date and reliable source, and the book is to be recommended to this full range of potential readers.' Aidan Dodson, Egyptian Archaeology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521713795
    • length: 224 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 178 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • contains: 93 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Geography and geology: the land
    2. Brief outline of Egyptian history
    3. Study of the material world of ancient Egypt
    4. Dress and personal adornment
    5. Housing and furniture
    6. Food and drink
    7. Hygiene and medicine
    8. Containers of clay and stone
    9. Tools and weapons
    10. Basketry, rope, matting
    11. Faience and glass
    12. Transportation
    13. Sport and games.

  • Author

    William H. Peck, University of Michigan, Dearborn
    William H. Peck is retired Curator of Ancient Art at The Detroit Institute of Arts. He excavated for many years in Egypt, first as a field archaeologist at the site of ancient Mendes in the Nile Delta and later in the Precinct of the Goddess Mut at Karnak, where he was co-field director and architect with the Brooklyn Museum mission. He was a recipient of an American Research Center in Egypt Fellowship to study New Kingdom tomb painting, a Smithsonian Institution Travel Grant to Egypt, and an award in the arts for an outstanding alumnus from Wayne State University. His major publications include Drawings from Ancient Egypt, which was translated into French, German and Arabic; Splendors of Ancient Egypt, an exhibition catalogue; and Egypt in Toledo, on the Egyptian collections in Toledo, Ohio. He has lectured widely in the United States and Canada and has acted as consultant to several museums including the Virginia Museum, Richmond; the Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock; and the Art Museum, Toledo.

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