Egyptology eBooks

The FREE digital articles and books on this page relate to Ancient Egypt,
the majority of which are pertinent to the Predynastic era. 
They have been compiled, mainly, for study and research purposes,
although they should also appeal to anyone with an interest in Egyptology. 
Each article or book contains a bibliography as well as relevant internet links and references. 

For a PDF copy of any of the publications, the link is:

If you would like to contact me personally: cyberlynx2002@gmail.com


Predynastic Pottery
The Pottery of Predynastic Egypt was often of a very fine quality.  Badarian period pottery was made without the use of a potter's wheel, the pieces being burnished to a lustrous finish and fired, leaving a black upper section and lower, deep red section.  From the Naqada period until the Dynastic period, and some of the most beautiful pottery produced in Egypt, pottery showed freehand paintings depicting animals, plants, birds, boats and human figures.  This series is comprised of 5 parts, covering pottery from the Neolithic to the beginning of the Dynastic era, although it concentrates mainly on the White cross-lined and Decorated ware pottery. 

Part 1 = Introduction, Neolithic and Badarian pottery, Sequence dates, Pottery manufacture and decoration, Naqada era pottery including C-ware showing animals, plants, boats and human figures.

Part 2 = Contains Decorated ware pottery including the find spots, designs of lines and spirals, bird shaped vessels, and those pots depicting water, hills, vegetation, the Naqada plant, animals and birds.  A small section shows the pots with boats, and this is continued over to Parts 3 and 4.

Part 3 = Showing Decorated ware vessels with decorations of boats with vegetation and other signs as well as those with birds and animals.

Part 4 = Continuing on from Part 3 with decorations of boats with humans and other signs, double pots depicting boats, and late D-ware with brush marks and “finger marks”.

Part 5 = Concentrating on D-ware, this part has a section on forged decorations on Predynastic pottery, a Bibliography, relevant website address, and several appendices discussing the various elements on Decorated ware.

Abydos Tomb U-j of Predynastic Egypt
The tomb U-j (thought to be that of King Scorpion I), c. 3400-3200 BCE, was discovered in 1988 in the royal cemetery of Umm el-Qaab (the burial site of the Predynastic kings of Egypt) near Abydos, by Dr Günter Dreyer.  The impressive amount of funerary goods in Tomb U-j included hundreds of imported jars from the area of Syria-Palestine, many wine and beer jars, ink-inscribed Wavy-handled jars, an ivory [heqa] sceptre, obsidian bowls, pieces of furniture, and fragments of ivory inscribed with animals.  However, it is considered that the most important category of the finds were the more than 150 tags (labels) of different sizes, complete with writing. 
34 pages, 1.5MB in size.

Apopotraic Wands of the Middle Kingdom
About 150 curved apotropaic wands (including fragments) have been found, dating to the Middle Kingdom. 
They are usually made of hippopotamus ivory.  The inscriptions and imagery imply that these wands were used to benefit
women and children, particularly at times of birth and early childhood.  30 pages, 1.3MB in size.

Archaic Maces of Ancient Egypt
The mace was an early weapon consisting of a stone head attached to a shaft of wood, ivory or horn, often tapering towards the end that was gripped.  Among others examples, this article includes the well-known Scorpion and Narmer maceheads.  26 pages, 1.8MB in size.

Crystal Eyes in Ancient Egypt
During the Old Kingdom there were several instances of crystal lenses being used for statues of the deceased.  This article takes a brief look at the intricacy involved and contains most of the examples found in Egypt.  16 pages, 783KB in size.

Domestic Cats in Ancient Egypt
This article shows depictions of domestic cats in ancient Egypt, and is an accompaniment to the article below (Domestic Cats in Theban Tombs).  It has examples of cats (and similar animals) in fishing and fowling scenes, as well as seated under chairs (from the Old Kingdom to the Late Period).  25 pages, 3.2MB in size.

Domestic Cats in Theban Tombs
This article, lavishly illustrated, shows many of the scenes featuring domestic cats that appear in the wall paintings in the Theban tombs of the Egyptian New Kingdom.  The cats are depicted, mainly, sitting under the chairs of the tomb owners or in fishing and fowling scenes.  21 pages, 3.1MB in size.


Ensigns of Ancient Egypt
Wooden standards, comprising poles surmounted by cult images, were used from the Predynastic period onwards as a means of displaying fetishes or representations of deities.  In later, Dynastic times, they symbolised the different towns and nomes (provinces) of Egypt.  There are depictions of standards on many of the ceremonial palettes, maceheads and labels of the late Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods (c. 3200-2890 BCE).  Various standards can be found on the Decorated Ware of Naqada II while some can also be found among the petroglyphs of the Eastern desert.  8 pages, 299KB in size.

Humour and Satire in Ancient Egypt
Several fragments of ancient Egyptian papyri and ostraka depict animals mimicking human behaviour, with humorous or satirical intent.  This article is a light-hearted look at some of the examples that have been discovered in Egypt.  22 pages, 1.9MB in size.

King Lists of Ancient Egypt
This article looks at the various king lists and royal annals found in ancient Egypt, including the seals of kings Den and Qa'a of the First Dynasty, the Palermo Stone, the Abydos king list of Seti I, the stele of Marseille and the Turin Royal Canon.  It also includes a brief summary of the known king lists, plus a bibliography and website references.  27 pages, 1.6MB in size.

The Nomes of Ancient Egypt
In the Greco-Roman era, the provinces of ancient Egypt numbered 22 for Upper Egypt, and 20 for Lower Egypt.  During this period the administrative areas were called nomes, generally meaning a territory under the control of one governor (nomarch).  However, each province was originally known as a spAt (Sepat), which was the name for a district.  This article looks at the temples and gods of each nome, as well as other detailed information.  41 pages, 1.6MB in size.

Predynastic Burial Customs
This article looks briefly at some of the human burials and their contents found in Ancient Egypt, dating from 55,000 BP to the late Predynastic era.  It is clear from the objects placed in the burial pits that Egyptians of Predynastic times firmly believed in life after death.  To ensure that the spirit of the deceased continued to survive, it had to be sustained by food and drink, and provided with everyday items as well as objects of special significance.  The article also includes a section on 'Ginger' at the British Museum.  14 pages, 1.2MB in size.

Predynastic Ceremonial Knives
Most of the carved ivory (or bone) knife handles which have been found, dating to the Predynastic era, are thought to have been for ceremonial uses only.  The knife handles themselves are generally very intricately carved, and are illustrated in both black/white and colour.  35 pages, 2.7MB in size.

Predynastic Carved Ivory
Processions of birds and animals, in intricate detail, were fairly common in late Predynastic and Early Dynastic iconography, and this article covers those found that are carved in ivory.  
19 pages, 1.6MB in size.

Predynastic Jewellery
This article illustrates some of the jewellery that has been found in Ancient Egypt, which has been dated to the Predynastic period.  Some of the semi-precious stones include garnet, malachite, turquoise and carnelian.  There is also a comprehensive section on the materials used for jewellery and the significance of their colours.  41 pages, 1.2MB in size.

Predynastic Palettes
The first section of this book concentrates on cosmetic and votive palettes.  Cosmetic palettes, usually of siltstone (greywacke), have been found in the form of grave goods in cemeteries as early as the Badarian period (c. 5500 – 4000 BCE).  They were used to grind pigments, such as malachite or galena, from which eye-paint was made.  The cosmetic palette is among the most common artefact to be found in Predynastic burials.  The second section covers a wide range of ceremonial and decorated palettes of the Predynastic and Protodynastic eras.  115 pages, 9.3MB in size.

The Dancing Goddess
The image of the “bird” or “dancing” goddess appeared in Egypt in early Predynastic times as funerary figures.  This article shows some of these dancing goddess figurines and discusses the possible meaning of them.  26 pages, 1MB in size.

The False Doors of Ancient Egypt
This comprehensive article addresses several related representations from the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms – those of false doors, offering tables, palace façades and serekhs.  49 pages, 3.8MB in size.

The Gebelein Cloth of Ancient Egypt
In 1930 an Italian team from the Museo Egizio in Turin discovered a cloth in a Predynastic tomb at Gebelein.  It is now considered to be the most ancient painted cloth ever found. This article briefly gives the history and description of the Gebelein Cloth.  7 pages, 246KB in size.

The Hippopotamus in Ancient Egyptian Art
This article looks at some aspects of the artistic portrayal of the hippopotamus in ancient Egypt.  The “cult” of the hippopotamus was widespread from Predynastic to Roman times.  While the male hippopotamus was generally associated with the god of chaos, Seth, the female hippopotamus was looked upon as a more benign creature, one of nourishment and nurturing. 108 pages, 7.6MB in size.

Part 1 - Pendants, palettes and pottery of the Predynastic era
Part 2 - Pottery hippopotami of the Middle Kingdom
Part 3 - The many names of Taweret
Part 4 - Hippopotamus deities in funerary texts
Part 5 - Hippopotamus miscellanea

Part 2 is also available as an individual document, entitled Middle Kingdom Hippopotamus extract.  It shows many examples of the Middle Kingdom pottery hippopotamus figures, many of them with still vibrant colours.  There are thought to be at least 60 of these figures, many of which are illustrated in this document.  33 pages, 1.9MB in size.

The Rekhyt bird of Ancient Egypt
The rekhyt bird is the term for the lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), a species of plover with a distinctive crested head.  It was often used as a symbol for subject peoples or foreign captives.  This may have been due to the bird’s strange running habit using uplifted wings for balance (but preventing it from flying) which roughly resembled a bound captive with his arms pinioned behind his back.  17 pages, 1.2MB in size.

Tomb 100 - The Painted Tomb of Hierakonpolis
One of the most intriguing discoveries, which has been dated to Predynastic Egypt, is Tomb 100.  It is the only Predynastic painted tomb that has so far been found.  The grave was a rectangular brick-lined and plastered tomb with painted walls and a brick partition (cross-wall).  It is thought that this tomb most probably belonged to a powerful member of the Hierakonpolitan elite, although it has also been suggested that it was the tomb of one of the legendary kings of Upper Egypt.  29 pages, 1.9MB in size.

wAs Sceptre Theories
There are many interpretations and theories concerning the actual origin as well as the basic functions of the wAs sceptre.  This article attempts to cover both the function and the origin of this somewhat enigmatic artefact.  27 pages, 1.5MB in size.

The Master of Animals in Ancient Times
This article addresses those images of the Master of the Animals that appear in a classical sense, where the figure of the hero/king/priest stands between two creatures of power.  It covers a range of artefacts found prior to 3000 BCE to c.600 ACE.  22 pages, 1.6MB in size.

Feline-faced Deities of the Underworld
This series of articles looks at feline-faced deities in the Underworld, including the Great Cat of Ra, Miwty, Gatekeepers, Doorkeepers and Guardians, which appear in the coffin texts, funerary papyri, as well as on shrines and wall reliefs of tombs.  137 pages and 12.3MB in total including the Addendum.

Part 1 (26 pages, 1.6MB): Introduction, Forms of Miwt
Part 2 (13 pages, 952kB): The Great Cat of Ra
Part 3 (21 pages, 2.3MB): Feline Deities in the Amduat, the Litany of Ra
Part 4 (23 pages, 1.1MB): Enigmatic Book of the Netherworld, Gods in the Judgement Hall
Part 5 (28 pages, 1.4MB): Hepetet-hor - the two-headed guardian, the 42 gods of the Tribunal
Part 6 (18 pages, 2.3MB): Feline-faced Deities in funerary papyri
Part 7 (17 pages, 538kB): Feline-faced Guardians, Bibliography, internet references, contributors, etc.
Addendum (24 pages, 3.8MB): Fourth Hour of the Amduat, the deity at Gate 12, extracts from Budge, etc.