A pioneer of British Egyptology, Sir John Gardner Wilkinson (1797-1875) first travelled to Egypt in 1821, the year before Champollion published his breakthrough work on the Rosetta Stone. As public interest in Egypt grew, Wilkinson studied and sketched the country's major archaeological sites, most notably the tombs of Thebes. When published in 1835, the present work was the first major book in English on the subject and the most substantial since the French Description de l'Égypte. The text and plates present a detailed picture of contemporary Egypt in relation to its ancient heritage. Wilkinson remodelled and expanded the work as Modern Egypt and Thebes (1843), and his chapter here on daily life in the days of the pharaohs formed the basis of his celebrated Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians (1837). Both titles are also reissued in this series.
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