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Amelia Edwards & Egypt


Another great find from the used bookstore is A Thousand Miles up the Nile by Amelia Edwards. The book was first published in 1877. It chronicles her visit to Egypt in the winter of 1873-1874. My copy was an used 2010 edition by Cambridge University Press. The first edition is available at antiques dealer for upwards of $400. This book, along with The Culture of Ancient Egypt and Lonely Planet Egypt will be my primer for the trip to Egypt.

Edwards traveled up the Nile from Cairo to Abu Simbel (where the sites of Ramases II monuments) and back. Edwards became fascinated with ancient Egypt as a result of this visit, founding the Egypt Exploration Fund in 1882 and devoting the rest of her life to Egyptology and the protection of Egypt’s ancient monuments. She learned the hieroglyphic characters, and made a considerable collection of Egyptian antiquities.

The view along the Nile might not have changed drastically since her visit, except more cruising boats might crowd up the river as travel becomes more accessible now. Edwards did not just have a jolly boat trip down the Nile in more agreeable weather. No, she was already aware of the threat that tourism and urban development posed to Egyptian archaeological sites. Edwards campaigned to increase public awareness and encourage further scientific research. To this end, in 1882, she co-founded the Egypt Exploration Fund (now the Egypt Exploration Society) with Reginald Stuart Poole, The British Museum’s curator of the Department of Coins and Medals.


One Response

  1. I wonder if she was the inspiration for the fictional Amelia Peabody?

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