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Ancient Egypt Guide, The
William J. Murnane; revised by Aidan Dodson, with contributions by Nicholas Warner

published 2012 • 6” x 8” • 418 pages • color photos & b&w illus. • maps
ISBN 9781566568586 • paperback • $25.00

“By far the best-informed book on the monuments of Egypt...” The Guardian

More Reviews »

The finest, most scholarly and most readable guide to the glories of Ancient Egypt ever written

Originally published as the Penguin Guide to Ancient Egypt, William Murnane’s highly-acclaimed book has been fully revised and updated by Professor Aidan Dodson. This new edition will bring Murnane’s engaging yet rigorous learning to a new audience, complete with a chapter on the wonderful medieval architecture of Cairo, and extensive practical information.

The book combines up-to-date guidebook information with a compact yet wide-ranging cultural history. It contains:

• A complete background to Ancient Egypt, including its people and institutions
• Descriptions of the sites, all fully cross-referenced to the text
• Itineraries of the most significant Pharaonic remains, Christian sites and Islamic monuments around Cairo
• Detailed surveys of major monuments and accessible sites off the beaten track
• Over 200 area maps, plans and photographs
• Practical information for transportation, food, lodging and local customs

William J. Murnane was born in New York in 1945, but moved to Venezuela soon after. Somehow missing a vocation for Latin American archaeology, he returned to study in the United States and specialized in ancient Egypt at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Shortly before receiving his doctorate in 1973 he joined the staff of the Institute’s Epigraphic Survey in Luxor, an arrangement which permitted him both to avoid the winters at home and to travel widely in Egypt. A prolific writer, he became Professor of Ancient History at the University of Memphis, Tennessee, and field director of an ongoing project devoted to recording and publishing the reliefs and inscriptions in the Great Hypostyle Hall of the Temple of Karnak. He died suddenly in 2000.

Aidan Dodson was born in London in 1962 and studied Egyptian archaeology at the Universities of Durham, Liverpool and Cambridge, receiving his PhD in 1995. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology & Anthropology at the University of Bristol, where he has been based since 1996. He is the author of a dozen books and over two hundred articles and reviews, and regularly devises and leads tours to Egypt. Elected a Fellow of Society of Antiquaries of London in 2003, he has lectured all over the world and lives in Redland, Bristol, with his wife Dyan, who he met while teaching an evening class in Egyptology and to whom he became engaged in a burial chamber in Western Thebes.

Media Reviews

“This thoroughly illustrated, formerly out-of-print guide is now in its third edition. Dodson (Univ. of Bristol, UK) updates the work by the late Murnane. Because changes were made ‘where the facts on the ground have changed … often as the result of new discoveries,’ purchasing the 2012 edition is recommended...Numerous cross-references ensure that readers do not miss anything relevant to a chosen topic or place...Armchair travelers and true tourists will benefit from reading this in-depth, scholarly guide. Summing up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.”—Choice

“Dodson (archaeology & anthropology, Univ. of Bristol, UK; Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt) has revised and updated Murnane’s classic work and added color illustrations...Many fascinating sites are included that are little known to most tourists and not always accessible...
This updated classic is a must for anyone planning a trip to Egypt with the intention of exploring its ancient wonders...”—Library Journal

“There is only one book that always finds a place in my luggage when I go to Egypt, and that is my copy of “Murnane.”…The answer is to read the relevant pages of this, the most informative of all guides to Egypt…you will be able to make sure you do not miss what really interests you...There are many publications describing individual monuments and other more superficial general guidebooks, but none cover the whole of the country with the level of scholarship displayed by William Murnane…It is very clear from the pages of this monumental work that Murnane undertook to study every one of the sites personally…Splendid new edition…”—Ancient Egypt magazine

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Of Related Interest:
Pocket Explorer: Ancient Egypt and the Nile
Egypt (4th)
Cairo, Luxor & Aswan (3rd ed.)
A Traveller's History of Egypt