Manual of Egyptian Archaeology and Guide to the Study of Antiquities In Egypt
Gaston Camille Charles Maspero
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Notwithstanding the fact that Egyptology is now recognised as a science, an exact and communicable knowledge of whose existence and scope it behoves all modern culture to take cognisance, this work of M. Maspero still remains the Handbook of Egyptian Archaeology. But Egyptology is as yet in its infancy; whatever their age, Egyptologists will long die young. Every year, almost every month, fresh material for the study is found, fresh light is thrown upon it by the progress of excavation, exploration, and research. Hence it follows that, in the course of a few years, the standard text-books require considerable addition and modification if they are to be of the greatest value to students, who must always start from the foremost vantage-ground.
The increasing demand for the Egyptian Archaeology by English and American tourists, as well as students, decided the English publishers to issue a new edition in as light and portable a form as possible. This edition is carefully corrected, and contains the enlarged letterpress and many fresh illustrations necessary for incorporating within the book adequate accounts of the main archaeological results of recent Egyptian excavations. M. Maspero has himself revised the work, indicated all the numerous additions, and qualified the expression of any views which he has seen reason to modify in the course of his researches during the past eight years. By the headings of the pages, the descriptive titles of the illustrations, and a minute revision of the index, much has been done to facilitate the use of the volume as a book of reference. In that capacity it will be needed by the student long after he first makes acquaintance with its instructive and abundant illustrations and its luminous condensation of the archaeological facts and conclusions which have been elucidated by Egyptology through the devotion of many an arduous lifetime during the present century, and, not least, by the unremitting labours of M. Maspero.
To put this book into English, and thus to hand it on to thousands who might not otherwise have enjoyed it, has been to me a very congenial and interesting task. It would be difficult, I imagine, to point to any work of its scope and character which is better calculated to give lasting delight to all classes of readers. For the skilled archaeologist, its pages contain not only new facts, but new views and new interpretations; while to those who know little, or perhaps nothing, of the subjects under discussion, it will open a fresh and fascinating field of study. It is not enough to say that a handbook of Egyptian Archaeology was much needed, and that Professor Maspero has given us exactly what we required. He has done much more than this. He has given us a picturesque, vivacious, and highly original volume, as delightful as if it were not learned, and as instructive as if it were dull.