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The Complete Pyramids: Solving the Ancient Mysteries (The Complete Series)

The Complete Pyramids: Solving the Ancient Mysteries (The Complete Series)
Author: Mark Lehner
ISBN 13: 9780500285473
ISBN 10: 500285470
Edition: N/A
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Publication Date: 2008-04-28
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
List Price: $26.95

"A fully illustrated compendium of every major pyramid of ancient Egypt."—Atlanta Journal Constitution

Mark Lehner brings his many years of field research in Egypt to this definitive book. He examines the pyramids in unprecedented detail, covering the practical aspects—the quarries, ramps, and tools used in construction—as well as the conceptual ones.

Professor Lehner surveys and describes the pyramids across their 3,000-year history, as well as explaining the rituals and mythology, the history of travelers, looters, and archaeologists, and the ways in which the pyramids were an integral part of the Egyptian state.

The hundreds of illustrations include computer reconstructions and specially commissioned artists' perspective views of the pyramids and their interior chambers. The book is at once a definitive sourcebook and an entertaining guide for scholars, students, and travelers. 556 illustrations, 83 in color.


This is the most up-to-date compendium of information about Egyptian pyramids. The author is a Research Associate at The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and at the Harvard Semitic Museum. The book is well organized and lavishly illustrated. The contents are grouped together in several chapters (e.g., "Tomb and Temple," "Explorers and Scientists," "The Whole Pyramid Catalogue," "The Living Pyramid"). Within these chapters are related topics, each of which is considered in, typically, two to six pages. The chapter entitled "Tomb and Temple," for example, includes these topics: The Ka, the Ba and the Body Embalmed; Burial Rituals and the Pyramid Complex; This World and the Netherworld; The Pyramid Texts; and The Pyramid as Icon. In addition to providing the most recent information about the pyramids themselves, the book expands its topics beyond those typical for books on the Egyptian pyramids. For example, there are excellent discussions, all well illustrated, about recent archaeological discoveries of the villages of the workers who constructed the pyramids. The chapter entitled "The Whole Pyramid Catalog" discusses every major pyramid and group of pyramids. The various scholarly interpretations of how pyramids were constructed are covered, including theories about how construction ramps were organized and stone blocks actually placed into position. There is considerable attention paid to the kinds of tools used to quarry and dress stone blocks. That each pyramid had a larger group of related structures around it is emphasized. The religious meaning of pyramids, and the specific daily rituals that went on year after year, are also discussed. The overall intention of thebook is to provide the broadest possible contexts for understanding the Egyptian pyramids. The book ends with an interesting look at modern pyramids, from the one at Grand Rapids to the Luxor at Las Vegas, all inspired by the Ancient Egyptian pyramids. Reviewer: Claire Rosser