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Secrets of the Sands: The Revelations of Egypt by [Harry Thurston]

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Secrets of the Sands: The Revelations of Egypt Kindle Edition

3.2 out of 5 stars 8 ratings

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Length: 401 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

About 400 miles south of Cairo and 170 miles west of the Nile valley, the Dakhleh Oasis rises like a mirage out of the sands of the great Sahara desert. In this fascinating study-which is equal parts travelogue, archeological treatise, detective story, environmental white paper and historiography-journalist Thurston reveals the long history of this phenomenal oasis, which has supported life for over 400,000 years. Drawing on 30 years of archeological findings, Thurston reconstructs the various cultures that have passed through the oasis since prehistoric times. The earliest inhabitants, based on ax-tool remains, were likely Homo erectus. In the Middle Stone Age, Homo sapiens began to take over, disrupting the Dakhleh's flourishing floral and faunal life. According to archeologist C.S. Churcher, the oasis had provided refuge for African fauna for tens of thousands of years, but cattle-breeding humans gradually moving into the area destroyed them. Some archeologists believe nomadic people brought the designs for the pyramids and the Sphinx from this area when they were driven out by drought. The Roman occupation further disrupted the Edenic oasis as aqueducts were built to divert water to crops and settlements in the nearby desert. Thurston takes this gradual destruction of the Dakhleh Oasis as a case study for what its future holds if the people now living there do not start to practice good water conservation techniques. Thurston's tale would have been even more valuable if he had spent less time on environmental lessons and focused more on the human history of this incredible area that is just being uncovered.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

For the past three decades, an archaeological project at the Dakhleh Oasis, in Egypt's Western Desert, has been disinterring evidence of human habitation, which extends back at least 8,800 years, according to the experts appearing in Thurston's chronicle of the project, which sequences through the civilizations that inhabited the site: Neolithic, pharaonic, Greek, Roman, Christian, and Arab Islamic. Establishing this litany of human occupation required much tedious work, but archaeologists are nothing if not dedicated. Thurston highlights this trait of the profession as he describes the persistence, in blazing discomfort, of project personnel in their hunt for the subtle clues that betray the presence of a human artifact beneath the sand. In addition to the towns, cemeteries, mummies, and even writings that have been found--the stuff of classical archaeology--Thurston relates the contribution environmental archaeology makes to the history of the oasis. Clearly mysteries abound at Dakhleh, and they make for fascinating reading thanks to the author's exploratory spirit and fluid narrative style. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5
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Reviewed in the United States on July 7, 2004
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Reviewed in the United States on March 27, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on November 4, 2003
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Reviewed in the United States on January 6, 2004
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