Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Book Review: Hieroglyph Detective

January Magazine (David Middleton)

Picture this: you wake up deep inside a pyramid with only a single clue as to how you got there: there are hieroglyphs plainly visible on the wall but -- alas! -- you have no way to read them. What an Earth do you do?

Well, if you’re lucky and had a bit of foresight before heading out on your locked-in-pyramid adventure, you will have packed a copy of Egyptologist Nigel Strudwick’s handy field guide Hieroglyph Detective: How to Decode the Sacred Language of the Ancient Egyptians (Chronicle Books). With an extra bit of luck, you’ll have had time to study it on the plane during your journey. Or the barge, as the case may be.

And yes, of course: while most of us are quite unlikely to find ourselves awakening in a tomb, there is still a place in the world for this innovative and expertly creative little book. From the introduction:

The aim of this book is to provide a practical, easy-to-follow guide to Egyptian hieroglyphics, giving readers sufficient grounding in the pictorial script to enable them to decipher for themselves some of the many inscriptions they will encounter while pursuing their interest in this fascinating civilization.

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