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The Birds of Ancient Egypt (Paperback)

Ancient History > Ancient Egypt & Egyptology

By Steven M. Goodman, Patrick F. Houlihan
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Series: Oxbow Classics in Egyptology
Pages: 222
ISBN: 9798888570289
Published: 15th July 2023
Casemate UK Academic



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Hailed as a sumptuously produced and finely illustrated outstanding contribution to ancient Egyptian studies, this facsimile reprint of Patrick Houlihan’s 1986 comprehensive study makes a welcome return in the Oxbow Classics in Egyptology series.


Animals of all kinds are amply illustrated in Egyptian art, none more so than birds, in both secular and religious contexts and in hieroglyphic scripts. A great variety of bird species has for millennia made twice yearly migrations passing over Egypt, which is also an important overwintering area for many. These migrant birds, together with indigenous species were an abundant and easily exploited source of food for ancient Egyptians, for domestication and status display. Tomb scenes displaying birds provided as food for the deceased are abundant, as are procession scenes of offering with bearers bringing gifts of fowl. Many birds also had religious associations. Houlihan provides a systematic and unparalleled survey of all the bird life depicted by the ancient Egyptians in art and hieroglyphic writing – some 72 species (plus bats) – with a list of known mummified species, discussions on their religious and secular associations, and many illustrations. Their present-day distributions are compared with that known from the time of the Pharoahs. A checklist of the birds of modern Egypt is provided by Steven Goodman.

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About Steven M. Goodman

At the time of original publication Steven M. Goodman was Curator at the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan. He holds a PhD from the University of Hamburg. He is now a biologist at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago where his research focuses on the biodiverity of Madagascar.

About Patrick F. Houlihan

At the time of orginal publication Patrick F. Houlihan was based at the University of Michigan where he specialised in the fauna of ancient Egypt.

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