Generations of scholars, tourists and armchair travellers have been intrigued by the puzzle of ancient Egypt's origins. Now, in the light of Toby Wilkinson's dramatic new discoveries, the genesis of the pharaohs is at last coming into focus. But the picture that emerges is not what we imagined. The ancestors of the pyramid-builders were not village-dwelling farmers, but wandering cattle-herders, and pharaonic civilization was forged in one of the most forbidding places on Earth: the Eastern Desert, between the Nile Valley and the Red Sea. Here, the pharaohs' distant ancestors left a stunning legacy that has remained hidden for 6,000 years: hundreds of intricate rock carvings in which the origins of later pharaonic imagery is clearly discernible. Toby Wilkinson traces the discovery of these ancient records, dates them, and identifies the artists who made them, basing his own discoveries in the heart of the Eastern Desert.
Toby Wilkinson took a First Class degree in Egyptology from Cambridge University and is now a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge. He lectures widely on ancient Egypt and led the expedition to Egypt's Eastern Desert that gave rise to the discoveries in this book. His other publications include Early Dynastic Egypt.