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Lehner, Mark. The complete pyramids; solving the ancient mysteries.

LEHNER, Mark. The complete pyramids; solving the ancient mysteries. Thames & Hudson. 256p. illus. bibliog. index. c1997. 978-0-500-28547-3. $26.95. JSA

This is the most up-to-date compendium of information about Egyptian pyramids. The author is a Research Associate at The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and at the Harvard Semitic Museum. The book is well organized and lavishly illustrated. The contents are grouped together in several chapters (e.g., "Tomb and Temple," "Explorers and Scientists," "The Whole Pyramid Catalogue," "The Living Pyramid"). Within these chapters are related topics, each of which is considered in, typically, two to six pages. The chapter entitled "Tomb and Temple," for example, includes these topics: The Ka, the Ba and the Body Embalmed; Burial Rituals and the Pyramid Complex; This World and the Netherworld; The Pyramid Texts; and The Pyramid as Icon.

In addition to providing the most recent information about the pyramids themselves, the book expands its topics beyond those typical for books on the Egyptian pyramids. For example, there are excel lent discussions, all well illustrated, about recent archaeological discoveries of the villages of the workers who constructed the pyramids. The chapter entitled "The Whole Pyramid Catalog" discusses every major pyramid and group of pyramids. The various scholarly interpretations of how pyramids were constructed are covered, including theories about how construction ramps were organized and stone blocks actually placed into position. There is considerable attention paid to the kinds of tools used to quarry and dress stone blocks. That each pyramid had a larger group of related structures around it is emphasized. The religious meaning of pyramids, and the specific daily rituals that went on year after year, are also discussed. The overall intention of the book is to provide the broadest possible contexts for understanding the Egyptian pyramids. The book ends with an interesting look at modern pyramids, from the one at Grand Rapids to the Luxor at Las Vegas, all inspired by the Ancient Egyptian pyramids. Claire Rosser, KLIATT

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

A--Recommended for advanced students and adults. This code will help librarians and teachers working in high schools where there are honors and advanced placement students. This is also will help extend KLIATT's usefulness in public libraries.
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Author:Rosser, Claire
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2008
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