We’ve been studying Egypt over the last few weeks and doing lots of reading. Two books stuck out as particularly well-written, engaging and educational: Pharoah’s Boat by David Weiztzman and The Great Pyramid by Elizabeth Mann.
Pharoah’s Boat tells the story of shipwrights building a funerary boat for the Phaoroah Khufu (Cheops). M and I were amazed at the detail of their work and the skill with which they constructed a boat that survived thousands of years buried in a limestone pit next to Khufu’s pyramid (The Great Pyramid at Giza). The boat pit was discovered in 1954 when sand was being cleared from the side of the pyramid. Ahmed Youssef Moustafa, an Egyptologist who’d struggled as a young man to be respected in his own country, spent 15 years re-constructing it including time apprenticed to modern Egyptian shipwrights and much trail and error as attempts were made to understand how the 1224 pieces fit together. The boat now stands in its own museum next to the Great Pyramid.
The Great Pyramid begins with a short, fictional tale of a boy called to Giza to work on the pyramid which Khufu (Cheops) has ordered constructed for his burial chamber. The rest of the book tells what Egyptians believed about the after life, describes the construction of earlier, simpler tombs, and explains how such a massive structure as the Great Pyramid (2,300,000 stone blocks) could have been constructed with no wheeled vehicles.
This week’s Non-Fiction Monday Round-up is at Wendie’s Wanderings.