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As the title would imply, this list is meant to do two things which are perhaps just slightly at odds with one another. On the one hand, it’s simply a bibliography, a list of the sources I used in my research. On the other, it’s meant to provide the reader who would like to continue to explore the history of ancient Egypt and Egyptology with a list of books that bear directly on one or both of the subjects, are relatively contemporary, aren’t too dry in tone, and yet are factual (with the exception, that is, of the one novel I’ve included). I’ve set these recommended books apart from the others by underlining them and making them into links to Amazon. If you are an Amazon customer, I would hugely appreciate it if you could buy them through these links; that way, a few pennies of the purchase price will come to me. But then, if you’d prefer to support your local brick-and-mortar bookseller, that’s a noble cause as well…

The best current single-volume history of ancient Egypt which I know of is Toby Wilkinson’s The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt. That might be a good place to start. In the end, though, all of the linked-and-underlined books are worthy and enjoyable reads. By all means, explore wherever your interest has been piqued!


Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The Greek Plays. Edited by Mary Lefkowitz and James Romm. New York: Modern Library, 2016. Kindle edition.

Annesley, George. Voyages and Travels to India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia, and Egypt. 3 vols. London: W. Bulmer, 1809.

d’Athanasi, Giovanni. A Brief Account of the Researches and Discoveries in Upper Egypt Made under the Direction of Henry Salt. London: John Hearne, 1836.

Bahn, Paul. Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction. 2nd ed. Oxford: University of Oxford, 1996/2012.

Baines, John and Jaromir Malek. Atlas of Ancient Egypt. Cairo: American University in Cairo, 1980/2002.

Barnes, Michael, Robin Brightwell, Adriana von Hagen, Mark Lehner, and Cynthia Page. Secrets of Lost Empires: Reconstructing the Glories of Ages Past. New York: Sterling, 1997.

Bauman, Zygmunt. Mortality, Immortality, and Other Life Strategies. Cambridge: Polity, 1992.

Belzoni, G. Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries within the Pyramids, Temples, Tombs, and Excavations, in Egypt and Nubia. London: John Murray, 1820.

The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. Translated and edited by Richard F. Burton. 17 vols. Burton Club.

Boorstin, Daniel J. The Discoverers. New York: Vintage, 1983.

Brück, H.A. and M.T. Brück. The Peripatetic Astronomer: The Lift of Charles Piazzi Smyth. Bristol and Philadelphia: Adam Hilger, 1988.

Burckhardt, John Lewis. Travels in Nubia. London: John Murray, 1819.

Burleigh, Nina. Mirage: Napoleon’s Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt. HarperCollins. Kindle edition.

Caffery, Jefferson. “Fresh Treasures from Egypt’s Ancient Sands.” National Geographic, November 1955.

de Camp, L. Sprague. The Ancient Engineers. New York: Ballantine, 1960/1962/1963.

Carne, John. Letters from the East: Written During a Recent Tour through Turkey, Egypt, Arabia, the Holy Land, Syria,and Greece. 2nd ed. 2 vols. London: Henry Colburn, 1826.

Caviglia, Giovanni. Letter to the editor of the Journal des Voyages. The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronicle 90 (April 1820): 347-348.

Cottrell, Leonard. The Mountains of Pharaoh: 2,000 Years of Pyramid Exploration. London: Robert Hale, 1956.

von Daniken, Erich. Chariots of the Gods?: Was God an Astronaut? Translated by Michael Heron Berkley. London: Souvenir Press, 1968/1969. Kindle edition.

Dash, Glen. “The Great Pyramid’s Footprint: Results from Our 2015 Survey.” AERAgram 16, no. 2 (Fall 2015): 8-14.

Dash, Glen. “New Angles on the Great Pyramid.” AERAgram 13, no. 2 (Fall 2012): 10-19.

Denon, Vivant. Travels in Upper and Lower Egypt. Translated by Arthur Aikin. 3 vols. London: T. Gillet, 1803.

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York and London: W.W. Norton. Kindle edition.

Drower, Margaret S. Flinders Petrie: A Life in Archaeology. 2nd ed. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1985/1995. Kindle edition.

Durant, Will. The Story of Civilization, Volume I: Our Oriental Heritage. New York: Simon and Schuster. Kindle edition.

Ebers, Georg. Richard Lepsius: A Biography. Translated by Zoe Dana Underhill. New York: William S. Gottsberger, 1887.

Edwards, Amelia B. A Thousand Miles Up the Nile. London: Longmans, Green.

Fagan, Brian M. The Rape of the Nile: Tomb Robbers, Tourists, and Archaeologists in Egypt. 3rd ed. Oxford: Westview, 1975/1992/2004. Kindle edition.

Fagan, Garret G., editor. Archaeological Fantasies. Abingdon: Routledge, 2006.

Findlen, Paula, ed. Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything. New York and London: Routledge, 2004.

Fitzclarence, Lieutenant-Colonel. Journal of a Route across India, Through Egypt, to England. London: John Murray, 1819.

Foreign correspondence from Cairo. The Athenaeum 829 (September 16, 1843): 844.

Fritze, Ronald H. Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science, and Pseudo-Religions. London: Reaktion, 2009.

Greaves, John. Miscellaneous Works of Mr. John Greaves. Edited by Thomas Birch. 2 vols. London: J. Hughs, 1737.

Halls, J.J. The Life and Correspondence of Henry Salt. 2nd ed. 2 vols. London: Richart Bentley, 1834.

Hancock, Graham. Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth’s Lost Civilization. New York: Three Rivers, 1995. Kindle edition.

Hancock, Graham and Robert Bauval. The Message of the Sphinx: A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind. New York: Three Rivers, 1996. Kindle edition.

Hancock, Graham. The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. New York: Crown, 1992. Kindle edition.

Harrison, Robert Pogue. The Dominion of the Dead. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2003.

Hassan, Selim. The Great Sphinx and Its Secrets: Historical Studies in the Light of Recent Excavations. Cairo: Government Press, 1953.

Hawass, Zahi. Mountains of the Pharaohs: The Untold Story of the Pyramid Builders. Cairo: American University in Cairo, 2006.

Hawass, Zahi. The Secrets of the Sphinx: Restoration Past and Present. Cairo: American University in Cairo, 1998.

Hennessy, Henry. “Standard of Measure.” The Anthenaeum 1697 (May 5, 1860): 617-618.

Herodotus, The History of Herodotus. Translated by G.C. Macaulay. London and New York: MacMillan, 1890.

Herschel, J.F.W. “British Modular Standard of Length.” The Athenaeum 1696 (April 26, 1860): 581-582.

Herschel, J.F.W. “Standard of Measure.” The Athenaeum 1697 (May 5, 1860): 617.

Herz-Fischler, Roger. The Shape of the Great Pyramid. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University, 2000. Kindle edition.

Howitt, William. “The Pyramids of Egypt.” The Athenaeum 860 (April 20, 1844): 358-360.

Lehner, Mark Edward. “Archaeology of an Image: The Great Sphinx of Giza.” PhD diss., Yale University, 1991.

Lehner, Mark. The Complete Pyramids. Cairo: American University in Cairo, 1997.

Lepsius, Richard. Discoveries in Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Peninsula of Sinai, in the Years 1842-1845. Translated and edited by Kenneth R.H. Mackenzie. 2nd ed. London: Richard Bentley, 1853.

Lepsius, Richard. Letter reprinted from The Prussian Gazette. The Athenaeum 803 (March 18, 1843): 268-269.

Mandeville, Sir John. The Travels of Sir John Mandeville: The Version of the Cotton Manuscript in Modern Spelling. London and New York: Macmillan, 1900.

Manley, Deborah and Peta Rée. Henry Salt: Artist, Traveller, Diplomat, Egyptologist. London: Libri, 2001.

Marchant, Joe. “Cosmic-ray Particles reveal secret chamber in Egypt’s Great Pyramid.” Nature online news. Last modified November 6, 2017. https://www.nature.com/news/cosmic-ray-particles-reveal-secret-chamber-in-egypt-s-great-pyramid-1.22939.

Mariette, Auguste. Outlines of Ancient Egyptian History. Translated and edited by Mary Brodrick. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1892.

Mayes, Stanley. The Great Belzoni: The Circus Strongman Who Discovered Egypt’s Treasures. London: Tauris, 1959.

Miatello, Luca. “Examining the Grand Gallery in the Pyramid of Khufu and Its Features.” PalArch’s Journal of Egypt/Egyptology 7 (2010): 1-36.

Milton, Giles. The Riddle and the Knight: In Search of Sir John Mandeville, The World’s Greatest Traveller. New York: Picador. Kindle edition.

Morell, Virginia. “The Pyramid Builders.” National Geographic, November 2001.

Moscati, Sabatino. The Face of the Ancient Orient: Near Eastern Civilization in Pre-Classical Times. Mineola: Dover, 1960. Kindle edition.

News from the Syro-Egyptian of London. The Athenaeum 1699 (May 19, 1860): 687.

Norden, Fredrick Lewis. Travels in Egypt and Nubia. Translated by Peter Templeman. London: Lockyer Davis and Charles Reymers, 1757.

“Observations relating to some of the Antiquities of Egypt, from the Papers of the late Mr. Davison.” The Quarterly Review 19, No. 38 (April 1818): 391-424.

O’Grady, Patricia F. Thales of Miletus: The Beginnings of Western Science and Philosophy. London and New York: Routledge, 2002.

Perring, J.S. “On the Construction of the Pyramids.” The Athenaeum 854 (March 9, 1844): 221-223.

Perrottet, Tony. Pagan Holiday: On the Trail of the Ancient Roman Tourists. New York: Random House.

Peters, Elizabeth. Crocodile on the Sandbank: An Amelia Peabody Mystery. New York: Grand Central, 1975. Kindle edition.

Petrie, W.M. Flinders. The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh. Revised ed. edited by Zahi Hawass. London: Histories & Mysteries of Man, 1883/1990.

Petrie, Flinders. Seventy Years in Archaeology. New York: Henry Holt, 1932.

Petrie, W.M. Flinders. Ten Years’ Digging in Egypt, 1881-1891. New York and Chicago: Fleming H. Revell.

Pinch, Geraldine. Egyptian Mythology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: University of Oxford, 2004. Kindle edition.

Pococke, Richard. A Description of the East and Some Other Countries. 2 vols. London: W. Bowyer, 1743.

Ray, John. “Fact, Fantasy, and ‘Pyramidiots.'” Times of London, July 23, 2003.

Reisner, George Andrew. A History of the Giza Necropolis, Volume I. Cambridge: Harvard University, 1942.

Review of Belzoni’s Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries within the Pyramids, Temples, Tombs, and Excavations, in Egypt and Nubia. The Quarterly Review 24, No. 47 (October 1820): 139-169.

Review of Taylor’s The Great Pyramid: Why Was It Built? And Who Built It?. The Athenaeum 1676 (December 10, 1859): 772.

Richardson, Robert. Travels along the Mediterranean, and Parts Adjacent. 2 vols. London: T. Cadell and W. Blackwood, 1822.

Rigano, Charles. Pyramids of the Giza Plateau: Pyramids Complexes of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. Bloomington: AuthorHouse, 2014. Kindle edition.

Roberts, David. “Age of Pyramids: Egypt’s Old Kingdom.” National Geographic, January 1995.

Robinson, Andrew. Cracking the Egyptian Code: The Revolutionary Life of Jean-Francois Champollion. Oxford: Oxford University. Kindle edition.

Romer, John. The Great Pyramid: Ancient Egypt Revisited. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2007.

Romer, John. A History of Ancient Egypt : From the First Farmers to the Great Pyramid. Kindle edition.

Romer, John. A History of Ancient Egypt, Volume 2: From the Great Pyramid to the Fall of the Middle Kingdom. New York: Thomas Dunne, 2016. Kindle edition.

Russell, Terence M. The Discovery of Egypt: Vivant Denon’s Travels with Napoleon’s Army. Stroud: History Press, 2005. Kindle edition.

Shalev, Zur. “Measurer of All Things: John Greaves (1602-1652), the Great Pyramid, and Early Modern Metrology.” Journal of the History of Ideas 63, no. 4 (October 2002): 555-575.

Siliotti, Alberto and Zahi Hawass. The Illustrated Guide to the Pyramids. Translated by A.B.A., Milan. Cairo: American University in Cairo, 1997.

Smith, John Thomas. A Book for a Rainy Day or Recollections of the Events of the Years 1766-1833. Edited by Wilfred Whitten. London: Methuen, 1905.

Smyth, C. Piazzi. Life and Work at the Great Pyramid During the Months of January, February, March, and April, AD 1865. 3 vols. Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1867.

Smyth, C. Piazzi. On the Antiquity of Intellectual Man, from a Practical and Astronomical Point of View. Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1868.

Smyth, Piazzi. Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid. 4th ed. London: Wm. Isbister, 1880.

Steger, Manfred B. Globalization: A Very Short Introduction. 4th ed. Oxford, University of Oxford, 2003/2009/2013/2017. Kindle edition.

Stille, Alexander. “The World’s Oldest Papyrus and What It Can Tell Us about the Great Pyramids.” Smithsonian Magazine, October 2015.

Strathern, Paul. Napoleon in Egypt. Bantam. Kindle edition.

Taylor, John. “Ancient Standard of the British Inch.” The Athenaeum 1701 (June 2, 1860): 758.

Taylor, John. The Battle of the Standards: The Ancient, of Four Thousand Years, Against the Modern, of the Last Fifty Years — The Less Perfect of the Two. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green, 1864.

Taylor, John. The Great Pyramid: Why Was It Built? And Who Built It? Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1859.

Thompson, Jason. Wonderful Things: A History of Egyptology, Volume 1: From Antiquity to 1881. Cairo: American University in Cairo, 2014. Kindle edition.

Turner, William. Journal of a Tour in the Levant. 3 vols. London: John Murray, 1820.

Twain, Mark. The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims’ Progress. Hartford: American Publishing, 1875.

Vyse, Howard. Operations Carried on at the Pyramids of Gizeh in 1837. 3 vols. London: James Fraser, 1840.

Walpole, Robert. Memoirs Relating to European and Asiatic Turkey. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1817.

Wild, James W. Letter to the editor. The Athenaeum 800 (February 25, 1843): 189-190.

Wild, James William. “Pyramids of Lower Egypt.” The Athenaeum 868 (June 15, 1844): 549-550.

Wilkinson, Gardner. A Handbook for Travellers in Egypt. London: John Murray, 1867.

Wilkinson, Toby. The Nile: Travelling Downriver Through Egypt’s Past and Present. New York: Vintage, 2014. Kindle edition.

Wilkinson, Toby. The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt. New York: Random House, 2010. Kindle edition.

(This series's cover art is by KennyOMG, and is utilized under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

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6 Comments for "Bibliography and Suggested Further Reading"

  • Derek

    If suggestions are allowed, there’s Lehner and Hawass’s massive book about Giza, titled Giza and the Pyramids: The Definitive History (2017), from University of Chicago Press.

    Reply
    • Jimmy Maher

      Suggestions certainly are allowed, and appreciated!

      Reply
      • Derek

        There’s also The Pyramids of Egypt by I. E. S. Edwards, which in its various editions (1947, 1961, 1975, 1985, 1993) seems to have been the most authoritative book on Egyptian pyramids in general for most of the late 20th century, although to judge by the comments of Jason Thompson (listed above) , it’s not especially readable. Miroslav Verner’s book The Pyramids (2002) is similar in scope to Lehner’s Complete Pyramids. Jason Colavito is publishing a book next year titled Legends of the Pyramids, about how the medieval legends about the Great Pyramid emerged and how they shape fringe history to this day.

        The biggest collection of information about Giza online is the Giza Archives Project Library (http://www.gizapyramids.org/static/html/library.jsp), which contains an enormous number of books and studies free for download. Most of it is too abstruse for the average reader to be interested in, but it’s such an amazing resource, I feel obligated to mention it.

        Reply
        • Derek

          Last suggestion, I swear. Giza: The Truth (slightly revised edition 2001), by Ian Lawton and Chris Ogilvie-Herald, is the best guide to the Giza controversies of the 1990s, and it explains in detail how Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval became the most influential alternative Egyptologists today.

          Reply
  • Reiko

    At first, I thought the Nature online article (filed in the list under “Marchant, Joe”) was no longer accessible, because the link gave me an error. When I searched by title and found the article, I noticed that the link was the same, except your link has included the period at the end, so clicking on it doesn’t link to the right place.

    Reply
    • Jimmy Maher

      Fixed now. Thanks!

      Reply

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