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Luxor pottery shop

Khalifa Hassan Hussein shoulders a sample from his Luxor pottery shop.
Photograph by Richard T. Nowitz

Ancient Egypt

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In the Royal Mummy Room of Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, author Paul Martin gazed through a glass case at the wizened features of Ramses the Great—mightiest pharaoh of all in a succession that stretched over nearly three millennia. If Ramses could speak, Martin wondered, what might the old boy have to say?

“Why do you stand there gaping, mortal? Get thee from this chamber and pay homage to the glory of my deeds. Witness those noble things I did build, those monuments of stone that even yet greet the sun god Ra as he traverses the sky each day.”

a camel yawns

Unfazed by antiquity, a camel yawns before Saqqara’s Step Pyramid.
Photograph by Richard T. Nowitz

And that’s exactly what Martin did—pay his respects to Ancient Egypt’s Greatest Hits. In the process he discovered what those famous heaps of stone reveal about the people who created them.

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