The Fayum Landscape: Ten Thousand Years of Archaeology, Texts, and Traditions in Egypt
Claire J. Malleson
Located some one hundred kilometers southwest of Cairo, the Fayum region has long been regarded as unique, often described in terms that conjure up images of an idealized Garden of Eden. In An Egyptian Landscape, Claire Malleson takes a novel approach to the study of the region by exploring the ways in which people have, through millennia, perceived and engaged with the Fayum landscape.
Distinguishing between the experienced landscape of state and bureaucratic record and the imagined landscape of myth, meaning, and observers personal influences and expectations, Malleson questions in detail where those perceptions come from. She traces religious practices, follows the tracks of myths and traditions, and investigates the roots of stories found in texts from the pharaonic, classical, and Medieval Islamic periods. She also reviews many, more recent travel writings on the region from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. The work of each author is presented in its historical and cultural context, and Malleson integrates what is known about ancient activities in the Fayum, based on the archaeological evidence from the many monuments and ancient settlements that exist in the region.
Scholars and students of archaeology and landscape studies as well as general readers interested in Egypts history and archaeology will find this book highly engaging and enlightening.