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The Great Pyramid

The Great Pyramid
Ancient Egypt Revisited

Out of Print

  • Date Published: April 2007
  • availability: Unavailable - out of print July 2017
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521871662

Out of Print

Unavailable - out of print July 2017
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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Describes for the first time exactly how the Great Pyramid was designed and built
    • A product of the most recent research and decades of personal study by an author who is very well known in media and Egypt circles
    • Illustrated throughout with unusual images of the Great Pyramid and its interior, in many cases taken from old photographs
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'If you read only one pyramid book this year, read archaeologist Romer's, a winner both in size and in substance. Romer does a fabulous job of breaking down our preconceived notions of the Great Pyramid. He re-examines all the old ideas, myths, and legends and washes away years of misinterpretation and misinformation … Highly recommended.' Melissa Aho, Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota

    'John Romer's book on the Great Pyramid does justice to one of the wonders of the world. I write that as someone who has spent several years working around the pyramid, following the work of the American archaeologist, George Reisner. Romer's study is of great interest and wonderful reading, and it should appeal to those with an amateur interest in ancient Egypt as much as to the professional Egyptologist.' William Kelly Simpson, Emeritus Professor of Archaeology, Yale University

    '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 …' Barry Kemp, Professor of Egyptology, University of Cambridge

    'This elegantly-written book manages to achieve the balancing act of focusing in some detail on the specific aspects of the nature, construction and functioning of the Great Pyramid, but also illuminating many aspects of Old Kingdom Egypt and ancient cultures generally. It brings to a wide audience the latest information on a venerable topic that still has a surprising amount of life and energy in it. Perhaps the greatest praise is that I would have been extremely pleased to have written it myself!' Ian Shaw, Senior Lecturer in Egyptology, University of Liverpool

    The Great Pyramid is awe-inspiring: the book expresses Romer's awe for the pyramid, and instills it deep within the reader. Romer realizes for the reader the complexities of inventing the ideal pyramid, such as evidence for the plans of the pyramid, drawn at a one-to-one scale on the ground surface at the Giza plateau. Throughout, Romer's writing is impassioned … The Great Pyramid is a book I plan on revisiting many times in the future. The many many photographs, the depth of information and the writing style make this a perfect companion for people, like me, distant admirers of the Egyptian pyramids, seen floating in a desert mirage in our imaginations. K. Kris Hirst, About: Archaeology

    ' … the book is a great mine of information on this stupendous structure, and is a refreshing change from the usual mess of fatuous speculation and conspiracy theory that forms the stock-in-trade of so many books claiming to explore the mysteries of the pyramids, and the Great Pyramid in particular. Aidan Dodson, BBC History Magazine

    'If you want an excellent, comprehensive overview of both the history of the pyramids and the controversies that have surrounded these great wonders of the ancient world, then this is about as good as you can get.' Sydney Morning Herald

    ' … a detailed yet highly readable account of what is known not only about Cheop's monument, but the pyramids in general … Romer has a clear eye for practicalities and a refreshing, irreverent style. He is an urbane one-off in a field dominated by earnest monographs or crackpot sensationalism. The early photographs, many of them giving a glimpse of the Great Pyramid before modern tourism, are another unique feature of this book.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

    'John Romer's The Great Pyramid is a detailed yet highly readable account…Romer has a clear eye for practicalities and a refreshing, irreverent style. He is an urbane one-off in a field dominated by earnest monographs or crackpot sensationalism. The early photographs, many of them giving a glimpse of the Great Pyramid before modern tourism, are another unique feature of this book.' Times Higher Education Supplement

    '… this is not just another book. Romer had produced a classic which does justice to the great structure. …highly readable …lucid writing. … a must for any student of this unique structure.' CHS Newsletter

    '… an important addition to the Egyptological bookshelf. Its focus is firmly directed towards the construction of the pyramid and its greatest strengths lie in its treatment of stone working and technology and in the skilled way it embeds the construction of the pyramid within the social, economic and religious context from which it emerged.' Egyptian Archaeology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2007
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521871662
    • length: 586 pages
    • dimensions: 252 x 194 x 37 mm
    • weight: 1.811kg
    • contains: 194 b/w illus. 40 colour illus.
    • availability: Unavailable - out of print July 2017
  • 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.

  • Author

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

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