Ancient Egypt - December 2007 / January 2008
Tutankhamun is on the cover of the magazine again, as the Exhibition in London “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” opens to a blaze of publicity and a record number of advance sales of tickets. I know this period of ancient Egyptian history is of great interest to many readers, though there are, of course, many other equally fascinating and interesting periods too. I have, however, been making the most of the opportunity to include as many articles around the theme of Tutankhamun and his family as possible. The huge interest has to be good for Egyptology and Egypt and I hope that the Exhibition lives up to everyone’s expectations. It is to be hoped that people who attend will want to find out more about the ancient civilisation to which the Boy King belonged, and if it encourages them to want to read more about the subject, to visit Egypt, or perhaps subscribe to ANCIENTEGYPT magazine, then it has to be a good thing. With ancient Egypt now being studied by many children (which was not the case at the time of the last exhibition in 1972), I am sure that the new exhibition will have a long-term, positive impact. As expected, there have been a number of new books published on Tutankhamun and a few older publications have been reprinted. I will include details of as many of these books as I can in the Reviews section over the next
few issues, but buyers may want to be a little selective, as some are better than others. The official exhibition catalogue is one of the best publications, if you have the opportunity to buy a copy. In this issue of AE you will be able to read more about the dramatic changes in Luxor, especially around the Temple of Karnak, where the entire front of the temple is now opened up to the river. New finds are being made that are telling us much more about the history of the site, and there is the potential for much more to be found before all the improvements are completed. Anyone visiting Luxor will be surprised and hopefully impressed by the changes. It is only some six months since my last visit, and the photographs included in this Issue show how much has changed in that short time. Looking after the monuments is a continuous and long-term project by the SCA and a number of initiatives around the country are helping to improve visitor access to many of the sites. This is necessary because of the dramatic increase in visitor numbers. Whilst some of us fondly remember a time when the temples were less crowded, the increase in tourism has to be good for Egypt. Coping with larger numbers of people is a problem faced by many countries and there is never an easy solution. Many of the sites can be very crowded at times, even with the new measures in place. Just remember that many tour groups spend only a relatively short time at the sites, so make sure you either visit with a specialist group, which will allocate more time, or visit on your own if you can. It pays to step to one side; at places such as Karnak, most visitors just walk down the main axis of the temple, walk around the Scarab Beetle seven times, visit the caféé and then leave. You and I know there is muchmore to see there and a whole day is not really enough! This applies to many other sites too. RP
Detailed Map of Thebes
Tutankhamun’s Canopic Coffinette. The Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo: RP.
ANCIENTEGYPTDecember 2007/January 2008