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Before the Pharaohs (Hardback)

Exploring the Archaeology of Stone Age Egypt

Ancient History > Ancient Egypt & Egyptology Colour Books P&S History

By Julian Maxwell Heath
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9781526790415
Published: 2nd July 2021


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The remarkable archaeology of pharaonic Egypt continues to captivate countless people worldwide but evidence for Egypt’s prehistoric or Stone Age past has been relatively neglected. This is perhaps understandable, as the archaeology of Stone Age Egypt often seems crude in comparison, and the number of works published on the subject is diminutive compared to those dealing with the revered ancient civilization that emerged in the Nile Valley some five thousand years ago. However, although less spectacular, the numerous remnants of prehistoric life found throughout Egypt represent an important chapter in the story of humanity’s distant past. They also cast compelling light on the shadowy Stone Age peoples who lived in the Nile Valley and surrounding deserts, long before the mighty monuments of the pharaohs ever existed.

This book examines the fascinating archaeology of stone Age Egypt, from its very beginnings, when early members of the human species arrived in Egypt from sub-Saharan Africa, to its end, when the impressive Naqada Culture emerged, setting in motion the processes that led to the formation of one of the world’s greatest ancient civilizations.

I recommend this book to any who are interested in Egypt’s stone age antecedents. Reasonably priced and nicely produced. Before the Pharaohs should remain a key reference work for scholar and interested reader alike.

Egyptology Scotland - Autumn 2021 newsletter

Before the Pharaohs is a well-written and informative study of the Egyptian stone age. It is not too loaded with archaeological jargon and data, though an archaeology student would still be happy to read it, and you get the feeling reading this of being in the company of a knowledgeable and amiable tour guide.

Read the full review here

Beating Tsundoku

I love anything Ancient Egypt - and enjoyed reading through the pre-pharaonic times in Egypt. This archaeological evidence is amazing, and the author did a fabulous job in researching and putting together this information. There are so many different peoples who have lived in Egypt over its varied history, and the author really highlights and discusses the important aspects of each... Overall, one of my favorites from the year so far! For history lovers, I highly recommend this book!

NetGalley, Rebecca Hill

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful and well researched book on Egyptian life before the pharaohs reigns. Much detail covering early life amongst people of different tribes. A good read.

NetGalley, Lional Jones

Although Pharaonic Egypt is of interest to a lot of people the pre-dynastic period is often neglected. I read this book as part of a book review assignment and it has been a really enjoyable read. Genuinely fascinating how much archaeological evidence exists from this period and what we can therefore know about these people. It also acts as a brilliant companion work for the Pre Dynastic gallery in the British Museum and similar.

Joanna Brown, reader

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As a lot of other people fascinated by Ancient Egypt I nearly never read anything about pre-dinastic and prehistoric Egypt.
I remember a mummified corpse at the Egyptian Museum in Turin and something in a National Geographic documentary.
This is a well researched and nearly academic book about Egypt before the pharahos and I was fascinated by the explanations and the descriptions of the archaeological discoveries.
It's not an easy ready but it's surely a fascinating one.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

If you have an interest in the periods that preceded pharaonic Egypt, you should certainly consider adding this to your reading list. If you have never really considered what came before the pharaohs, this is a good place to start!

Colin Reader - Ancient Egypt Magazine Oct/Sept 2021

"Before the Pharaohs: Exploring the Archaeology of Stone Age Egypt" is an inherently fascinating, meticulously detailed, and impressively informative study that is exceptionally well organized and presented throughout.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

Before the Pharaohs is a heavily researched book about what came before the Pharaohs in ancient Egypt. We are taken back to this time through the use of many different archaeological findings and sites through the course of this book. I for one found this utterly fascinating and I love seeing these artifacts.
The author starts the book with a historical overview from -10,000 BCE through to 3,000 BCE and works forward from this point. The sites and discoveries are amazing and I would love to go see these in person.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with a fascination of Egypt, ancient Egypt or history!

NetGalley, Natalie Horman

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was a very informative book, and collects a wealth of information and pictures about a time period that there seems to be very little written about elsewhere.

NetGalley, C M

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

When considering the history of Egypt, I've never thought (or read) further back than the age of Pharaohs. Obviously, there was something, but it's easy to get caught up in Pharaonic Egypt and ignore the rest. "Before the Pharaohs" takes us back, using various archaeological sites and findings, in a way that I found very engaging and it's actually changed my perception of Ancient Egypt. This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in Egypt, or history in general.

NetGalley, Dawn Lewis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was very good! The subject matter was so interesting and unique, loved reading and couldn't put it down!

NetGalley, Heather Bennett

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An overview of archaeological sites and findings related to Paleolithic, Neolithic, and Predynastic Egypt.

The author begins with a historical overview of what can be known of the times from ~10,000 BCE until 3000 BCE. He then goes into detail about Paleolithic sites and discoveries, then Neolithic, then Predynastic, with some asides about farming and art.

Much of the book is spent in the western and eastern deserts in environments which were more hospitable to human habitation during the Paleolithic and Neolithic but desertified by the time of the historical record. This is most likely due to the preponderance of where archaeological evidence is most easily accessible.

A good primer of what has been discovered about ancient life before the pharaonic period.

NetGalley, Ethan Longhenry

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I've been intrigued with ancient Egypt for years, I was thinking about getting a education in archeology that never came to fruition.
When I saw the title and info on this book I knew I wanted to read it, Before the Pharaohs definitely didn't disappoint me, easy to understand and I'm learning a lot!

NetGalley, Elise Vaughn

This book was great, there was clearly a lot of research done while writing the book. It was a great read, the subject was very interesting. I recommend if you like Ancient History.

NetGalley, Mariane Desjardins

About Julian Maxwell Heath

Julian Heath was educated at the University of Liverpool where he studied Archaeology and Egyptology. He has since gone on to write and illustrate several books such as Archaeological Hotspots Egypt: Unearthing the Past for Armchair ArchaeologistsStories from Ancient Egypt (with Joyce Tyldesley) and Warfare in Neolithic Europe. He has also worked on archaeological excavations in both Europe and Egypt, and taught archaeological illustration at the University of Liverpool.

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