Pierre Tallet’s discovery of the Red Sea Scrolls – the world’s oldest surviving written documents – in 2013 was one of the most remarkable moments in the history of Egyptology. These papyri, written some 4,600 years ago, combined with Mark Lehner’s research and theories, change what we thought we knew about the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Here, for the first time, Tallet and Lehner together give us the definitive account of this astounding discovery.
The story begins with Tallet’s hunt for hieroglyphic rock inscriptions in the Sinai Peninsula, leading up to the discovery of the papyri – the diary of Inspector Merer, who oversaw workers in the reign of Pharaoh Khufu – in Wadi el-Jarf, the site of an ancient harbour on the Red Sea. The translation of the papyri reveals for the first time exactly how the stones of the Great Pyramid were transported to Giza. Combined with Lehner's excavations of the recently unearthed harbour, the Red Sea Papyri have greatly advanced our understanding of how the ancient Egyptians were able to build monuments that survive to this day.
Tallet and Lehner narrate this thrilling discovery and explore how the building of the pyramids helped create a unified state, propelling Egyptian civilization forward. This lavishly illustrated book captures the excitement and significance of these seminal findings, conveying above all how astonishing it is to discover a contemporary eye-witness testimony to the creation of the only remaining Wonder of the Ancient World.
With over 200 illustrations
About the Author
Pierre Tallet is Professor of Egyptology at the Sorbonne and President of the French Society of Egyptology; he is leader of the archaeological mission at Wadi el-Jarf where he discovered the Red Sea Papyri. Mark Lehner is President of AERA (Ancient Egypt Research Associates) and Research Associate at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago; he has conducted fieldwork at Giza for over 40 years. He is the author of the bestselling The Complete Pyramids and the definitive volume on the subject, Giza and the Pyramids, both published by Thames & Hudson.