Ancient History & Civilisation

Reading List

Since this is a list of suggested readings and not a bibliography per se, I have included only books in English that are up-to-date, comprehensible to a nonspecialist, and obtainable through booksellers and libraries. If you are really gung-ho you will find more comprehensive bibliographies in several of the books listed below. Articles in professional journals such as the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology and the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt are, in general, too specialized to be of use to a lay reader. There are several popular journals; by far the best is Kmt, A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt, which has, during its fifteen-plus years of publication, included informative and readable articles on every topic mentioned in this book. It is indispensable to any serious student. Look for it at the library or subscribe by writing the publisher at PO Box 475, Sebastopol, CA 95473-1475.

You will not find detailed information on the Internet here, since I am computer-illiterate. Just start with “Egypt, Ancient,” or “Egyptology.” You will find—I refuse to estimate—a lot of websites, of varying degrees of specialization, covering every sub-category from excavation reports to the lunatic fringe. I hope that by the time you have finished this book you will be able to tell the difference.


James, T.G.H. Ancient Egypt: The Land and Its Legacy. University of Texas, 1988.

———. Pharaoh’s People. University of Chicago, 1994.

Janssen, R. M., and Janssen, J. J. Growing Up in Ancient Egypt. Rubicon Press, 1990.

McDowell, A.G. Village Life in Ancient Egypt: Laundry Lists and Love Songs. Oxford University Press, 1999.

Silverman, David, ed. Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press, 1999.

Teeter, Emily, and Douglas Brewer. Egypt and the Egyptians. Cambridge University Press, 1999.


Bierbrier, Morris. The Tomb Builders of the Pharaohs. Macmillan, 1995.

Davies, Vivian, and Rene Friedman. Egypt Uncovered. Steward, Tabori, and Chang, 1998.

Edwards, I. E. S. The Pyramids of Egypt. Penguin Books, 1991. Revised edition of a basic work.

Forbes, Dennis. Tombs. Treasures. Mummies. Seven Great Discoveries of Egyptian Archaeology. KMT Communications, 1998.

Lehner, Mark. The Complete Pyramids. Thames and Hudson, 1997.

Martin, Geoffrey. The Hidden Tombs of Memphis. Thames and Hudson, 1992.

Reeves, C. N. Ancient Egypt: The Great Discoveries. Thames and Hudson, 2000.

Reeves, C. N. and Richard Wilkinson. The Complete Valley of the Kings. Thames and Hudson, 1996.

Strudwick, Nigel, and Helen Strudwick. Thebes in Egypt. Cornell University Press, 1999.


Collier, Mark, and Bill Manley. How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs. University of California Press, 1998.

Davies, W. V. Egyptian Hieroglyphs. University of California Press, 1987.

Malek, Jaromir. ABC of Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Ashmolean Museum, 1994.

These are for fun. If you really want to learn the language—I don’t recommend trying it without a teacher—the basic work is Gardiner’s classic Egyptian Grammar (3rd ed., Griffith Institute, 2005.) A worthy (but equally difficult) substitute is James Allen,Middle Egyptian (Cambridge University, 2000).


Robins, Gay. Women in Ancient Egypt. Harvard University Press, 1993.

Tydesley, Joyce. Daughters of Isis. Viking Penguin, 1995.

Watterson, Barbara. Women in Ancient Egypt. St. Martin’s, 1991.

And two catalogs, with gorgeous pictures and excellent articles:

The Royal Women of Amarna, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996.

Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven. Cincinnati Art Museum, 1996.


Lichtheim, Miriam, ed. Ancient Egyptian Literature, 3 vols. University of California Press, 1973, 1976, 1980.

Simpson, W.K., ed. The Literature of Ancient Egypt. Rev. ed. Yale University, 2003.


Faulkner, Raymond, tr. The Egyptian Book of the Dead. Chronicle Books, 1994.

Lesko, Barbara. The Great Goddesses of Egypt. University of Oklahama Press, 1999.

Wilkinson, Richard. The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. Thames and Hudson, 2000.

———. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames and Hudson, 2003.


Brier, Bob. Egyptian Mummies. William Morrow, 1994.

David, Rosalie, and Rick Archbold. Conversations with Mummies. HarperCollins, 2000.

Ikram, Salima. Death and Burial in Ancient Egypt. Longman, 2003.

———. Divine Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. American University in Cairo, 2005.

Ikram, Salima, and Aidan Dodson. The Mummy in Ancient Egypt. Thames and Hudson, 1998.

Partridge, Robert. Faces of Pharaoh: Royal Mummies and Coffins from Ancient Thebes. Rubicon Press, 1994.

Smith, G. Elliot. The Royal Mummies. Duckworth, 2000. A reprint of the classic 1903 edition originally published by the Service des Antiquités.


Aldred, Cyril. Egyptian Art. Thames and Hudson, 1983.

Robins, Gay. The Art of Ancient Egypt. Harvard University Press, 2000.

Russman, Edna R. Egyptian Sculpture. University of Texas Press, 1989.

Smith, William S., The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt, rev. by William K. Simpson. Yale University Press, 1998.


Andrews, Carol. Ancient Egyptian Jewelry. Harry N. Abrams, 1991.

Brier, Bob. Ancient Egyptian Magic. William Morrow, 1980.

Malek, Jaromir. The Cat in Ancient Egypt. Rev. ed. British Museum Press, 2006.

Manniche, Lise. An Ancient Egyptian Herbal. University of Texas Press, 1989.

———. Sexual Life in Ancient Egypt. Kegan Paul, 1984. Paperback ed., 1994.

Muller, Hans Wolfgang, and Eberhard Thiem. Gold of the Pharaohs. Cornell University Press, 1999.

Nunn, John. Ancient Egyptian Medicine. University of Oklahama Press, 1996.

Volumes in the Shire Egyptology Series are great buys—written by experts, inexpensive, covering such diverse subjects as textiles, warfare, furniture, and many other topics.

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