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Pharaonic Inscriptions from the Southern Eastern Desert of Egypt
by Russell D. Rothe, William K. Miller, and George (Rip) Rapp
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Everything your librarian or bookstore will want to know
The University of Minnesota Eastern Desert Expedition had its beginnings in 1975, when co-authors George (Rip) Rapp, T. H. Wertime, and J. D. Muhly visited cassiterite (tin ore) mines in the southern Eastern Desert of Egypt. Near the farthest west of these mines, they were shown a group of pharaonic inscriptions by M. F. el-Ramly of the Egyptian Geological Survey and Mining Authority. The inscriptions were photographed, and the photos were given to an Egyptologist to translate. Much later, in 1991, senior author Russell D. Rothe read about the photos in a footnote in an unrelated article. After obtaining copies of the photos from Rapp, he translated the inscriptions with the help of co-author William K. Miller and others. Over the next decade, Rothe, Rapp, and Miller traversed the 60,000-sq.-km area between the Nile and the Red Sea, mostly on foot, photographing inscriptions and systematically surveying the entire region. The results of their investigations of the inscriptional remains found in this vast, mountainous desert are here published for the first time; the corpus will be an important addition to our knowledge of the range and scope of the activities of the ancient Egyptians, especially outside the Nile Valley.
Publication date: 2008
Bibliographic info: Pp. x + 504
Trim Size: 8.5 x 11 inches
"There has been much interest in the rock inscriptions of the Eastern Desert in recent years, but relatively few publications on the subject.
The University of Minnesota Eastern Desert Expedition began in 1975, though nothing was published at that time. In 1991, the expedition's photographs were rel-located and that encouraged further visits and studies/surveys of the sites, covering an area from north of Luxor to south of Aswan and across to the Red Sea. The inscriptions are found in many of the wadis which run across the area.
The book does not include 'rock art', but inscriptions in hieroglyphs, which probably date from as far back as the early Old Kingdom, possibly even to the Archaic Period.
Each inscription is illustrated with a photograph, a clear line drawing of the text, a transliteration and a translation. An additional brief commentary provides further information, such as where there may be other inscriptions mentioning the same name or town name.
It is, interestingly, difficult to date many of the inscriptions, and this is usually only possible when the name of a pharaoh is included, but some can be dated by the style of the inscription and where a few private individuals are known from inscriptions elsewhere. Some titles are intriguing, such as 'the captain of the ship's crew'. "We now believe it is dangerous to rule out the possibility that these really were ship's captains who were on their way to the Red Sea," say the authors.
Many of the inscriptions seem to be linked to mining activities in the area.
This book is a useful, if perhaps specialised, reference book. One section, 'Paleography', lists the many hieroglyphs found and variations in their depiction, which will be most useful for anyone undertaking further research in this area.
This is an important addition to our knowledge of the range and scope of the activities of the ancient Egyptians, especially outside the Nile Valley."
--No reviewer name. Reviewed in Ancient Egypt, June/July 2009.
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