The first volume of a necessarily lengthy history of ancient Egypt from a well-known archaeologist.
Romer’s (The Great Pyramid: Ancient Egypt Revisited, 2007) explanation of the earliest years of Egyptian civilization is impressive in the amount of information gleaned from a minimum of evidence. He begins 2,500 years before the pyramids as we know them appeared. The first recognizable community of the Neolithic Revolution gathered in Lake Faiyum in 5000 B.C. Though agriculture was in its beginning stages, the people used grain storage bins and moved the herds seasonally for grazing. The author debunks thousands of years of miscategorization of the Egyptian culture based on information reliant on ancient biblical and Pharaonic writings. Many writers only got one view of affairs, ignoring the advancement of the populace, and tended to see development in terms of their own civilization rather than that of the geographic, religious terms of the Nilotic environment. Romer points out that the best indicators of the changing civilization turn out to be its pottery. From the very earliest times, inhabitants made containers for cooking and eating. The changes in the shapes and, especially, in the decoration and glazes of their pots indicate the broadening of their development. Every discovery near the Nile contains some pottery that is accurately dated according to William Petrie’s Sequence Dating Chart, a simple classification system developed in the 1890s and corroborated by carbon dating. The Nile River was the driving factor in all aspects of life, from channeling the annual inundation to the riverization that fostered the beginnings of commerce.
Fascinating reading with abundant illustrations. Romer’s long experience and practical, fresh outlook bring this civilization to life.