Egyptology is presented as a scrapbook of an amateur archeologist, Emily Sands, who traveled to Cairo and beyond in 1926 in search of a lost tomb. She was in possession of a rediscovered papyrus with a map, and intended to discover the tomb of the god, Osiris.
The book looks as if it has been written using an antique typewriter. She included watercolor sketches of the sights they saw. There are inserts and foldouts. Run your fingers across the pages and feel the postcards and ticket stubs that have been glued in. Lift up a menu and find a drawing of a tomb inscription underneath.
She describes the tombs, gives a very condensed history of ancient Egypt, talks about Howard Carter and other early Egyptologists, and provides a quick look at the culture.
It's tactile and engaging and mysterious.
During the journey, they meet a couple of people who may want to help them, or may be warning them away. Only a couple of pages later, the journal ends suddenly, and the last few pages have been stained with "something that might be coffee." Emily Sands and her party were never heard from again.
when the journal comes to light eighty years later, the family sends it to the British Museum to determine if it has any value; the letters are included.
This is is a beautiful book, and would delight anyone with an interest in all things Egypt.
(I won't get into the whole amateur archeologist, pot-hunter argument -- remember, it was the times -- otherwise, you would be shaking your head the whole way through. But as a charming introduction to ancient Egyptian history, it rocks.)