Burial Customs in Ancient Egypt: Life in Death for Rich and Poor
Wolfram Grajetzki, Gerald Duckworth & Co., £14.99
Wolfram Grajetzki’s comprehensive little book aims to document the burial customs of Ancient Egypt across five millennia. He opens with a look at the graves of the early Egyptian farmers who lived and died some seven millennia ago, and ends with Egypt in the Roman Period. He therefore traces the development of burial practices across some of Egypt’s most spectacular periods, archaeologically speaking, including discussions of the pyramids at Giza and the tomb of Tutankhamen.
However, since the graves of the rich are generally well-known, and certainly heavily published, perhaps the author’s most important contribution is his coverage of the burial customs of the poorer people. Those graves, often lacking gold or other ‘treasures’, typically failed to catch the attention of ancient robbers. Instead, many remain undisturbed, making them true treasure troves for the archaeologist, and providing important insights into real life – and death – in ancient Egypt.
The 150 pages of closely typed text, interspersed with line drawings and maps, make for a short yet impressively wide-ranging survey of the myriad of burial evidence from Egypt.
This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 5. Click here to subscribe