Reader’s Guide to Ancient Egypt

A Reader’s Guide to Ancient Egypt is available from the Egyptian Study Society. The guide was originally written by Stuart Wier and is being updated by Bill Cherf. This guide is comprehensive for the early writings about ancient Egypt, but the pace of research and new books continually being published keeps the guide in constant need of updates. Works recommended for inclusion would be welcome. Please include a brief description of any publication submitted. Readers Guide to Ancient Egypt April 2013-1



“The question is not, why am I interested in ancient Egypt, but why isn't everyone interested in ancient Egypt?”  - Barbara Mertz

Something about ancient Egypt will interest or delight almost everyone. Egypt offers mystery, intellectual and scholarly challenge, buried treasure, art and craftsmanship of the highest quality, awe-inspiring ruins, and human drama extending over 3000 years. The story of the exploration of its remains combines hard work under very demanding conditions with great intellectual triumphs as well as dazzling tangible discoveries. And the story of ancient Egypt is by no means complete.

This Reader's Guide to Ancient Egypt is an invitation to read the best popular books and selected scholarly works about ancient Egypt in English. A reader of any level, from complete novice to up to university student, should be able to find suitable works listed here, including the latest information on all but the most obscure topics about ancient Egypt.

In the past two centuries some twenty thousand books have been written about ancient Egypt in all languages. Many of the best are by men and women who made a career studying the remains and culture of ancient Egypt, and who worked extensively in Egypt. These authors have knowledge, insight, and notable writing ability. Many works have beautiful illustrations.

The problem is to discover the titles and authors of the books that suit your interests. Publishers print few copies and rarely keep them in print for long. The demand is not large enough to support good selections in most libraries; most bookstores only have some of what is in print at the moment, a tiny fraction of even the best titles.

This guide attempts to list all the best popular works in English, and selected scholarly publications which are especially good for their topics. We include obscure works when they are the best thing on a subject, but have not included excellent rare books whose material is well treated in easier-to-obtain volumes; this is not a guide for collectors of rarities. A few older books have been listed because of past prominence in Egyptology, or for lasting insights, even if they are now somewhat dated. Books are included if they are readable, or at least not too arcane, and represent the consensus of scholarship on ancient Egypt. Books which are good general introductions or overviews of a topic are noted with the symbols DDD.

The time period for the guide extends from earliest human habitation in Egypt until the death of Cleopatra, the last resident ruler of Egypt following the ancient culture. Most of the books pertain to sometime between 3000 B.C. and 1000 B.C.

We hope this guide helps enthusiasts of ancient Egypt sustain their interest and find the information they are looking for. Most books listed here have their own bibliographies. A single recent book on a topic can be a key to all the research on that subject.

 Stuart Wier (March 20, 1996)

Introduction Copyright © 1996 Stuart Wier


It has been some seventeen years since Stuart Wier wrote those words, and as one might imagine, a considerable amount of scholarly industry has been churning in the interim. There is simply no way that one individual can begin to keep up with it all, but I have made a modest start, one which I sincerely hope that others will only add to.

Bill Cherf (April 2013)