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The Lost Tomb Paperback – Oct 28 1999

3.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (Oct. 28 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688172245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688172244
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.4 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,165,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"A vividly written, engaging, yet scientifically impeccable description of a major archeological discovery." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review

"The biggest archeological find in Egypt since King Tut's tomb." -- The New Yorker

"Weeks made the greatest archeological find in decades: The tomb of Ramesses II's sons..." -- USA Today

About the Author

Dr. Kent Weeks is an Egyptologist with the American University inCairo. He received a Ph.D. from Yale in 1970, and is the co-author ofX-Raying the Pharaohs.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

It is amazing reading these reviews and realizing that people actually enjoyed this man's book. This was a botched excavation from the start. There was no real great discoveries in KV5, just more of the same stuff that we find in the Valley of the Kings (KV5 was discovered long before in the 18th century to boot). It is wise to remember this when Weeks' excavation damaged the tomb itself. He had his work-crews removed wet flood debris (dirt) from the tomb and then only put rocks at the doorway to allow "air to dry up the inside" for an entire season!
However, if you are familiar with John Romer's studies on the Valley of the Kings' geology, you would know that the limestone walls would have expanded with moisture and contracted when dried. Weeks' ignorance of this simple fact (he did know of Romer's report but called his study 'unmodern') allowed the tomb roof and walls to contract at an uncontrolled speed. The result was the walls cracked, lost paint and ultiamately the roof fell in an area.
The damage Weeks' excavation did was totally atrocious and it even continues to this day. Support conservation in the Valley of the Kings instead of destructive excavation and ecourage excavations in the Delta (where Egyptologies knowledge is lacking). In conclusion, don't buy this book.
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Kent Weeks and his wife come across as enthusiastic, dedicated and eager to introduce the general public to the pleasures of Egyptology in this account of the first few years of his investigations at KV5. As can be seen from the biographical information he provides in this work he has devoted most of his life to investigating the Valley of the Kings. That is why it is a pity that this work comes across as jumbled and a little superficial. Accounts of the dig are interspersed so frequently with accounts of the lives of various pharaohs, of the problems the Weeks face from lackadaisical Egyptian officials, the eccentricity of the local laborers, and so on, that it is very difficult to keep track of what the team is finding in KV5 and its historical significance. (I would guess that this format was forced on Professor Weeks by a commercially minded publisher, presumably in the belief that the average layman reader is not willing to plod through several hundred pages of architectural accounts.)
Another problem with this work: although the discovery of KV5 is the most important discovery in the Valley of the Kings since the discovery of King Tut's tomb, the actual material found in the tomb is probably not particularly exciting for readers who are not dedicated Egyptologists. Most of the discoveries consist of minute brick and porcelain fragments which poor Mrs. Weeks is charged with cataloguing. For the layman Egyptologist I would recommend instead the classic by Howard Carter, The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen, also available from Amazon.com This is a truly exciting account of the discovery of Tut's tomb which was packed with fantastic treasures.<BR
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This book easily qualifies as one of the worst popular-science books I've ever read. It is like "Indiana Jones" minus the Nazis and all the other fun stuff. The thing is that of course I didn't expect to get an action-packed book about mummies and hidden treasures. What I expected to get was a nice description of that "lost" tomb they found plus background information. And the book simply doesn't give enough of that. The "lost" tomb which supposedly was discovered by Mr Weeks had actually been discovered before already. So the book starts with some wrong information on the cover. And it doesn't really get any better than that. There are pages and pages of completely useless information but no explanation of the background. In particular, if you want to learn about Egypt's past you're more than well-advised to look elsewhere. Instead, here you'll find a dozen pages about how Mr Weeks had to deal with the press and similar stuff which is just not interesting at all. The few pages about Egypt's past are filled with narration-like stuff. I know it might be difficult to say a lot about ancient Egypt but if the level of a popular-science book is about that of a mediocre Hollywood movie something is wrong. I know reviews which don't give books four or five stars are pretty unpopular on Amazon but I give this book one star anyway. I'd give it zero if I could.
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I became interested in this book after reading a favorable review in the NY Times book review, and being new to Egyptology, I was pleased to find that Weeks did a remarkable job of providing plenty of background information on the Valley of the Kings, history of some of the Pharoes of Egypt, various explorers who have visited the area (and KV5) in the past, the people who have joined his crew on the exploration of KV5 and the effects of modern life on the condition of the tombs.
He does an excellent job of holding the narrative together, and I eagerly awaited each new page to see what (if anything), Weeks and his team would discover next. He made no attempt to hide his excitement with each new discovery (and disappointment into running into dead ends and other obstacles), and does a competent job in placing the reader alongside him in the tomb.
This is my first book on Egyptology, and both the seasoned Egyptologist and general reader will find this to be a fascinating tale of archaeology in action.
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