Book Details

Author  Michael A. Hoffman
Publisher  Knopf
Publication Date   November 12, 1979
ISBN  0394410491
Pages  391

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Dust jacket notes: "This is the first up-to-date general summary of the cultures of prehistoric Egypt and of the millennia of development that preceded the brilliant civilization of the pharaohs. Told through the adventures and achievements of the archaeologists whose discoveries brought these prehistoric cultures to light, here is that story: from the advent of Palaeolithic hunters almost a million years ago through the achievement of nomadic herding (ca. 6000 B.C.) and farming (ca. 5000 B.C.) and the beginnings of villages and town (ca. 4000 B.C.) to the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh, Menes, more than 5,000 years ago. Michael Hoffman a young archaeologist and anthropologist who himself is currently excavating prehistoric sites at Hierakonpolis in southern Egypt, has dramatically reconstructed for us the sequence of the discovery of Egypt's long-neglected prehistoric past. In following the progress of these great digs, we find that many of the characteristic institutions of classic ancient Egyptian civilization were firmly rooted in prehistoric antecedents. The Cult of the Dead, the exploitation of the Nile's folds, even the concept of the Two Egypts, had their beginnings in prehistoric times. But it required many specialists to break the silence of these preliterate peoples; and this is the story that Professor Hoffman recreates for the reader. Here we participate in the great digs of the irascible Sir William Flinders Petrie at the cemetery of Naqada, share the problems of James Edward Quibbell and F.W. Green at Hierakonpolis, unravel with Gertrude Caton-Thompson and Guy Brunton the mysteries of the Badarian culture. We watch the rescue campaign and excavation of hundreds of ancient Nubian sites before they disappeared beneath the rising waters of the Aswan High Dam and learn the revolutionary impact of the new style of research spawned by 'salvage archaeology.'..."

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