Customer Reviews: The Complete Valley of the Kings: Tombs and Treasures of Ancient Egypt's Royal Burial Site
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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on June 16, 2000
I was engrossed for days when I first got this book. The attention to detail is staggering, 'complete' in every sense of the word. With excellent maps and background information the authors prepare the way gently with analysis and discussion of general methods of tomb building and the belief system behind it. What I found particularly useful was a history of the tomb diggers and archaeologists who discovered (and plundered) the tombs, going all the way up to Theodore M Davies and of course Howard Carter. Their methods, desires and successes underscore the rest of the book: the tombs themselves and help to put a human face on the ancient world of the Pharaohs.
In many ways these men were amateur violators, thieves no-less, but our modern interest stem from them and their legacy.
Vastly illustrated throughout, colour balanced with black and white photography and the simple, but enormously effective line drawings in 3D of the tomb layouts and designs. Comparison of style, form and development is instantly possible.
"Who's who in KV35" typically illustrates the book's grasp of controversial issues, supporting the wide range of modern scholarly thought, while attempting to be neutral.
Detail is a very much a part of this survey. Inscriptions and archaeological evidence recorded faithfully alongside "fact files"of the discoveries, right down to where the reports were published etc. This adds a flavour of complete authenticity which supports the book. Good index, further reading and sources. One small criticism: occasionally little too detailed for light reading and not always enough background on the Pharaohs' themselves, but this could be easily solved with reference to another suitable book.
Excellent, recommended.
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on February 27, 2002
The Complete Valley of the Kings is a very well-researched, well-written, well-illustrated, and well-organized book. Everything from the topographic and the geologic maps of the valley through the religious and archeological history of the valley were interesting (and sometimes depressing, considering what some of those early adventurers and so-called scholars did to the place). The information on the dismantling of the Valley at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st Dynasty was especially interesting. Of course, the stars of the book were the tombs themselves. The architecture, decoration and history of each tomb is given as fully as possible. My only reservation in regards to this book lies in the authors having made up their minds on the identity of the controversial mummy in KV55 and airily dismissing as unimportant any evidence that contradicts their theory. Such inflexible partiality calls for a cautious approach to any other "definite" conclusions the authors draw. Otherwise, the book is inarguably informative and entertaining, except for the fact that the authors consistently and annoyingly use the Greek forms of the pharaoh's names (such as the Greek Sethos instead of Seti). Other than that, the book really is almost completely perfect.
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on October 16, 2014
The design is a bit busy and cramped, and the organization can be a bit confusing. (In order, the chapters cover the general process of decorating, cutting, and stocking the tomb and preparing the body for burial; the history of the exploration of the valley; a list of royal tombs in chronological order, with nonroyal tombs placed at the end; and the royal mummies, and how they were damaged and shuffled around by robbery and restoration). The sections that Reeves wrote editorialize and speculate too much—the allegations about impropriety between Tawosret and Bay, for instance, are apparently the product of his imagination. Nevertheless, this is a decent survey of the valley, including the religious practices, texts, and symbolism in the tombs.

I have difficulty fathoming the reviewer who said "I got nothing which conveyed the charm, history, or intrigue of the Valley." If anything, Reeves' problem is that he uses quotations and embellishment too much. Flawed though it may be, from this book I get a sense of the valley at every critical stage in its history, including the plunder and turmoil during the collapse of the New Kingdom, the series of European expeditions that raced through the valley and the circle of English expatriates who lounged in it during the early 19th century, and Theodore Davis's constant pressure for his hired archaeologists to unearth new tombs at the start of the 20th. At this size, the book can't give more than a taste of each period, but what it provides is very vivid.
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on October 17, 2011
For a complete indepth look at the valley of the Kings, you can not do any better than this book. I have been waiting to purchase it for some time but it was too expensive until now. Lovely photos, great detail and information. Worth the wait.
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on December 18, 2012
I like this book because it described most of the important tombs in loving detail. Good pictures & very fine drawlings of the underground plan of the tombs. It's main flaw is the index. Many of the tombs in the index are only listed by their KV number & if you don't know that you can spend lots of time trying to find it.
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on October 5, 1998
Excellent summary information on the Valley of the Kings, presented in a concise and coherent format with lots of correlated information. I do not fully agree with the conclusions drawn about KV55, but this does not detract from the value of the book as a whole.
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on April 19, 2014
When they said all is all. The background, the historical moment, and the causes of their building and lot of detailed figures and images. Besides all the rites and actions that accompanied the burial process. At the end you think, how the Pharaohs may have decided to change the oriented skyward for another structures in the depths of the earth. For those who like history of the Egyptians.
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on October 30, 2001
This is a good book, however the print is too small. If the publishers read this- please make a large print edition of this.
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