I want to study ancient Egypt. Where should I start?

This is part two of an answer to an ask sent in by an anon who was wanting to study ancient Egypt from its chronological beginnings. 

When studying ancient Egypt, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of topics and information to sift through. For the purposes of this post/ask, I’m going to assume that you are not interested in studying as part of a course, but rather in your own time. 

First off, you’re going to be reading a LOT. It’s good to amass a small library of sorts for all your references, though you can find a lot of older books online in pdf form for free. 

Here are some books that you might find useful:

Note - you do not need all these books. Rather, these are some that would come in handy to those wanting to build a basic Egyptology reference library at home.


  • Baines, John / Malek, Jaromir, Cultural Atlas of Ancient Egypt.
  • Manley, Bill, The Penguin Atlas of Ancient Egypt.
  • Murnane, William J. The Penguin Guide to Ancient Egypt.
  • Shaw, Ian, The British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt.
  • Shaw, Ian. Ancient Egypt: A Very Short Introduction.
  • Schulz, R. / Seidel, M. (eds.) Egypt: World of the Pharaohs.
  • Wilkinson, Richard H. (ed.) Egyptology Today.

The Shire Egyptology series are also an excellent resource! They cost around $10-15 AUD each and cover a wide range of topics. They are really great for someone wanting an introductory approach to various topics of interest for ancient Egypt.


  • Assmann, Jan, The Search for God in ancient Egypt
  • Grajetzki, Wolfram, Burial Customs in Ancient Egypt. 
  • Hart, George, The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses .
  • Hornung, Eric, Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt. The One and the Many. 
  • Kanawati, Naguib. The Tomb and Beyond: Burial Customs of Egyptian Officials.
  • Wilkinson, Richard H., The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt.

Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt

Now if you want to start off with Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt, these would come in handy:

  • Adams, Barbara. Predynastic Egypt. (from the Shire Egyptology series, great one to start with!)
  • Midant-Reynes, Beatrix. The Prehistory of Egypt.
  • Spencer, A. Jeffrey. Early Egypt: The Rise of Civilisaton in the Nile Valley.
  • Wilkinson, Toby. Early Dynastic Egypt.


  • Bahn, Paul. The Penguin Archaeology Guide.
  • Catling, Christopher and Bahn, Paul. The Illustrated Practical Encyclopedia of Archaeology (not very detailed for Egypt, but great basic resource and easy to read).
  • Johnson, Matthew. Archaeological Theory: An Introduction.
  • Reid, Donald Malcolm. Whose Pharaohs? Archaeology, Museums, and Egyptian National Identity from Napoleon to World War I.
  • Wendrich, Willeke. Egyptian Archaeology.

Art and architecture

Arnold, Dieter. Building in Egypt: Pharaonic Stone Masonry.

Arnold, Dieter, The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egyptian Architecture.

Lehner, Mark, The Complete Pyramids. 

Robins, Gay, The Art of Ancient Egypt. 

Schäfer, Heinrich, Principles of Egyptian Art.

For literature and hieroglyphs, take a look at part one of this post and this post.

Hope this is of some help! If you would like any clarification on the above points or have another question you’d like to ask, feel free to send in an ask! 

yellowmoya  asked:

Could you recommend some good Egypt history books? Especially about your favourite ladies?


For an Overview of Ancient Egypt

Baines, John and Jaromir Malek. Cultural Atlas of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Manley, Bill. The Penguin Atlas of Ancient Egypt. Hammondsworth, 1996.

Nicholson, Paul and Ian Shaw. The British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. London: British Museum Press, 2008.

Schulz, R and M Seidel. Egypt, World of the Pharaohs. Cologne, 1998.

Wilkinson, Richard H. Egyptology Today. New York, 2008.


Dodson, Aidan. The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. London: Thames & Hudson, 2010.

Kemp, Barry. Ancient Egypt Anatomy of a Civilisation. 2nd Edition. New York, 2006.

Kemp, Barry. The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Cairo: American University Press, 2012.

Shaw, Ian. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Literature/Ancient Texts

Lichtheim, Miriam. Ancient Egyptian Literature. 3 vols. Berkley, 1975-1980.

Simpson, William Kelly. The Litertaure of Ancient Egypt. Yale, 2003.


Assmann, Jan. The Search for God in Ancient Egypt. Trans. D Lorton. London: Ithica, 2001.

Hart, George. The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. New York: Routledge, 2005.

Grajetzki, Wolfram. Burrial Customs in Ancient Egypt. London, 2003.

Hornung, Eric. Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt. The One and the Many. Trans. J Baines. New York: Ithica, 1996.

Wilkinson, Richard H. The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. New York, 2000.

Material Culture

Ikram, Salima and Aidan Dodson. The Tomb in Ancient Egypt. Royal and Private Sepulchres from the Early Dynastic Period to the Romans. London: Thames & Hudson, 2005.

Nicholson, Paul and Ian Shaw. Ancient Materials and Technologies. Cambridge, 2005.

Shaw, Ian. Ancient Egyptian Technology and Innovation. Transformations in Pharonic Material Culture. London, 2012.

Art and Architecture

Dieter, Arnold. The Encycopedia of Ancient Egyptian Architecture. English Edition. New York, 2003.

Robins, Gay. The Art of Ancient Egypt. 2nd Edition. Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2008.

Lehner, Mark. The Complete Pyramids. London, 1997.

Schafer, Heinrich. Principles of Egyptian Art. Trans. J Baines. Revised English Edition. Oxford: Griffith Institute, 1986.


Renfew, Colin and Paul Bahn. Archaeology. Theories, Methods and Practise. 6th Edition. London: Thames & Hudson, 2012.

Wendrich, Willeke. Egyptian Archaeology. Oxford, 2010.

Women in Egypt

L. Minniche, Royal Family, in Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt.  Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2001

A. R. Schulman, Diplomatic Marriage in the New Kingdom, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Jul., 1979), 177-193.

Robins, Gay. Women in Ancient Egypt. London: British Museum Press, 1993.

G. Robins, Queens, in Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt.  Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2001

Tydesley, Joyce.  Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt. London: Penguin. 2001

Tyldesley, Joyce. Daughters of Isis. London: Penguin. 1995.

Tyldesley has also has a book on Nefertiti and Hatshepsut I do believe, but I haven’t read them.

There unfortunately aren’t a lot of volumes specifically dedicated to Queens, however there are definitely sections on them in the biographies of their Pharaoh Husbands.

Hope I was of some help.