Rape Of The Nile by Brian Fagan:
Fagan has written numerous archaeology books (e.g., The Little Ice Age, 2000), but his inaugural title from 1975 was out of print. This welcome revision recounts the encounter of all manner of people, from Herodotus to Howard Carter of Tutankhamen fame, with the pharaonic ruins of the Nile Valley. Modern interest in the imposing antiquity and scale of Giza, the Valley of the Kings, and the like dates from the French invasion of 1798, which included a scientific team--"the Enlightenment in action," in Fagan's words--to survey pyramids, temples, and tombs; its work provoked a rage in Europe for all things Egyptian. Some tackled the problem of unlocking hieroglyphics (achieved by Jean-Francois Champollion); others flexed their muscles to get the good stuff out of Egypt, like Giovanni Belzoni. By far the star attraction in Fagan's presentation, Belzoni was an ebulliently colorful character--a circus strongman in 1810 who chanced into the ancient Egypt craze and its accompanying lust for artifacts. That's how Egyptology began, and Fagan's history is a fine gateway to it. Gilbert Taylor
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The scandalous rape of Ancient Egypt is a historical vignette of greed, vanity, and dedicated archaeological research. It is a tale vividly told by renowned archaeology author, Brian Fagan, with characters that include the ancient historian Herodotus; Theban tomb robbers; obelisk-stealing Romans; Coptic Christians determined to erase the heretical past; mummy traders; leisured antiquarians; major European museums; Giovanni Belzoni, a circus strongman who removed more antiquities than Napoleon's armies; shrewd consuls and ruthless pashas; and archaeologists such Sir Flinders Petrie who changed the course of Egyptology.
This is the first thoroughly revised edition of The Rape of the Nile - Fagan's classic account of the cavalcade of archaeologists, thieves, and sightseers who have flocked to the Nile Valley since ancient times. Featured in this edition are new accounts of stunning recent discoveries, including the Royal Tombs of Tanis, the Valley of Golden Mummies at Bahariya, the Tomb of the Sons of Ramses, and the sunken city of Alexandria (whose lighthouse was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World). Fagan concludes with a clear-eyed assessment of the impact of modern mass tourism on archaeological sites and artifacts.
It's available at Amazon U.S. for $15. An excellent book!