A World Beneath the Sands: Adventurers and Archaeologists in the Golden Age of Egyptology (Hardback)
  • A World Beneath the Sands: Adventurers and Archaeologists in the Golden Age of Egyptology (Hardback)

A World Beneath the Sands: Adventurers and Archaeologists in the Golden Age of Egyptology (Hardback)

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Hardback 512 Pages
Published: 15/10/2020
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Waterstones Says

The definitive account of the golden age of Egyptology from one of Britain’s leading experts in the field, A World Beneath the Sands  explores the era when the obsession with ancient Egypt spread like wildfire, leading to both great discoveries and great injustice.

What could be more exciting, more exotic or more intrepid than digging in the sands of Egypt in the hope of discovering golden treasures from the age of the pharaohs?

Our fascination with ancient Egypt goes back to the ancient Greeks. But the heyday of Egyptology was undoubtedly the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This golden age of scholarship and adventure is neatly book-ended by two epoch-making events: Champollion's decipherment of hieroglyphics in 1822 and the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon a hundred years later.

In A World Beneath the Sands, the acclaimed Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson tells the riveting stories of the men and women whose obsession with Egypt's ancient civilisation drove them to uncover its secrets. Champollion, Carter and Carnarvon are here, but so too are their lesser-known contemporaries, such as the Prussian scholar Karl Richard Lepsius, the Frenchman Auguste Mariette and the British aristocrat Lucie Duff-Gordon. Their work - and those of others like them - helped to enrich and transform our understanding of the Nile Valley and its people, and left a lasting impression on Egypt, too. Travellers and treasure-hunters, ethnographers and epigraphers, antiquarians and archaeologists: whatever their motives, whatever their methods, all understood that in pursuing Egyptology they were part of a greater endeavour - to reveal a lost world, buried for centuries beneath the sands.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
ISBN: 9781509858705
Number of pages: 512
Weight: 810 g
Dimensions: 245 x 162 x 53 mm

It would be hard to overstate the excellence of Wilkinson's storytelling - and I was surprisingly distraught to think that there can never be a sequel. -- A. S. H. Smyth * Spectator *
The definitive account of the golden age of Egyptology * Waterstone's Best Books of the Year *
It is a story full of drama, with the Nile, the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings as backdrop. That A World Beneath the Sands is also a subtle and stimulating study of the paradoxes of 19th-century colonialism is a bonus indeed. -- Tom Holland * Guardian *
Fascinating . . . A World Beneath the Sands is more than a saga of foreigners in the desert - it also follows Egypt on its rocky path to the 20th century. * Economist *
The story that strings these wonderful characters together is the steady professionalisation of Egyptology - the shift, as Wilkinson puts it, from 'scoundrels to scholars'. -- James McConnachie * Sunday Times *
A gripping tale . . . excellent * Financial Times *
The debate over the decolonization of Egyptology and the repatriation of artefacts has only just started. Wilkinson's elegantly written book provides a sound background and a useful biography that will allow readers to understand and participate in that debate. -- Joyce Tyldesley * BBC History Magazine *
A fascinating story. -- Paul Zimansky * TLS *
Riveting . . . Wilkinson is a consummate historian . . . He has mastered the facts with painstaking research and allowed them to speak for themselves. Rarely do the facts speak this clearly. * New York Times *
Dramatic, detailed and eccentric-packed . . . as Toby Wilkinson shows, the discovery of lost monuments, grave goods and mummified corpses also stimulated the emergence of their true inheritors, the modern Egyptian nation. * Wall Street Journal *
Vividly detailed * New Yorker *
A superbly readable, magnificently entertaining, profoundly thoughtful and scholarly history of the bizarre and determined characters who burrowed into Egypt in comparatively recent history - and who all too often made away with their finds. You will want to read chunks of it aloud to anyone who happens to be around. -- Sue Gaisford * Tablet 'Books of the Year' *
Wilkinson marshals a wealth of detail into a cohesive and entertaining narrative . . . an essential portrait * Publishers Weekly *
Few can bring us ancient Egypt with such dynamism as Toby Wilkinson. In A World Beneath the Sands, he has excelled himself in bringing to life the intriguing and swashbuckling story of Egypt's discovery. He shows us how much what we seek from the past has always told us about ourselves. -- Professor Michael Scott, author of Ancient Worlds: An Epic History of East and West and presenter of the BBC documentary series Ancient Invisible Cities: Cairo, Athens, Istanbul

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Jane Skudder

“Top class history on a fascinating subject”

I read this during November - I was only doing two days a week of Click & Collect during the month-long lockdown so had time to indulge in reading history - but I'm still thinking about the information in it... More

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