Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Review: "Discovering Tutankhamun – From Howard Carter to DNA” by Zahi Hawass

It is now some while since Zahi Hawass was ousted from office as Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, following the fall of the Mubarak government in 2011; but his absolute ubiquity on TV programmes concerning ancient Egypt prior to that date (and the fact that these are repeated endlessly on various satellite/cable and terrestrial channels) means that there is little chance of any reader being unaware of his ebullient presence. That presence is now reduced to lectures about his former activities, and additions to the series of published books that bear his name – of which this is the latest.

According to my bathroom scales this soft-cover book, of approximately A4 size, weighs in at about a kilo. This is not, however, a heavy tome in the academic sense, and the weight is largely due to the heavy gloss of the pages, which support a liberal coating of colour photographs, supplied by Sandro Vannini and Viterbo; Hawass’s own archive; and the Harry Burton archive at the Griffith Institute. 

Indeed, the photographs dominate the book, and generally occupy at least half of each page, meaning that there is less text than the size of the volume might imply.  There has clearly been an attempt to make this a sumptuous, luxury production, with stylish chapter openings, coloured section headers, and a strange type-face which employs elegant reverse ligatures on t’s and p’s.  Read More 

Discovering Tutankhamun
From Howard Carter to DNA 

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