The Red Sea Scrolls: How Ancient Papyri Reveal the Secrets of the Pyramids

The inside story, told by excavators of the extraordinary discovery of the world’s oldest papyri, revealing how Egyptian King Khufu’s men built the Great Pyramid at Giza.

Red Sea ScrollsPierre Tallet’s discovery of the Red Sea Scrolls—the world’s oldest surviving written documents—in 2013 was one of the most remarkable moments in the history of Egyptology. These papyri, written some 4,600 years ago, and combined with Mark Lehner’s research, changed what we thought we knew about the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza.

Here, for the first time, the world-renowned Egyptologists Tallet and Lehner give us the definitive account of this astounding discovery. The story begins with Tallet’s hunt for hieroglyphic rock inscriptions in the Sinai Peninsula and leads up to the discovery of the papyri, the diary of Inspector Merer, who oversaw workers in the reign of Pharaoh Khufu in Wadi el-Jarf, the site of an ancient harbor on the Red Sea. The translation of the papyri reveals how the stones of the Great Pyramid ended up in Giza. Combined with Lehner’s excavations of the harbor at the pyramid construction site the Red Sea Papyri have greatly advanced our understanding of how the ancient Egyptians were able to build monuments that survive to this day.

Tallet and Lehner narrate this thrilling discovery and explore how the building of the pyramids helped create a unified state, propelling Egyptian civilization forward. This lavishly illustrated book captures the excitement and significance of these seminal findings, conveying above all how astonishing it is to discover a contemporary eyewitness testimony to the creation of the only remaining Wonder of the Ancient World.

Pierre Tallet is a professor of Egyptology at the Sorbonne and president of the French Society of Egyptology. He is the leader of the archaeological mission at Wadi el-Jarf, where he discovered the Red Sea Papyri.

Mark Lehner is president of Ancient Egypt Research Associates and research associate at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. He has conducted fieldwork at Giza for over forty years. He is the author of the bestselling The Complete Pyramids and the definitive volume on the subject, Giza and the Pyramids.

“This landmark, elegantly illustrated book is the first to reveal how the raw materials used in the Great Pyramid’s construction…were transported to Giza via Egyptian ports during the reigns of Sneferu and his son Khufu.” ―Science Magazine book review

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Giza and the Pyramids: The Definitive History

In this new book Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass provide insights into the history of the Giza plateau based on more than 40 years of excavating and studying the site.

Though today the pyramids and the Sphinx rise from the desert, isolated and enigmatic, they were once surrounded by temples, vast cemeteries, harbors, and teeming towns. This book describes that past in vibrant detail, along with the history of exploration, the religious and social function of the pyramids, how the pyramids were built, and the story of Giza before and after the Old Kingdom. These monuments are brought to life through hundreds of illustrations, including photographs of the monuments, excavations, and objects, as well as plans, reconstructions, and images from remote-controlled cameras and laser scans.

“Lehner and Hawass have produced an astonishingly comprehensive study of the excavations and scientific investigations that have, over two centuries, uncovered the engineering techniques, religious and cultural significance and other aspects of the Giza site.” Read the full review in Nature. 

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Treasures from the Lost City of Memphis

Treasures from the Lost City of Memphis is the first detailed catalog of the remarkable collection of artifacts from the Mît Rahîna museum. The museum sits on archaeological remains in the heart of the Memphite ruin field and displays a substantial and remarkable collection of monuments, including several unique pieces that deserve to be more widely known. With this book we hope to offer insight into the museum’s collection and context, as well as the history and excavation of Memphis, Egypt’s ancient capital city.

Treasures from the Lost City of Memphis, richly illustrated and researched by AERA archaeologist Aude Gräzer Ohara, is now freely available to students, scholars, and museum visitors from around the world.

Download a free PDF of Treasures from the Lost City of Memphis


Egyptian Pottery Manuals

AERA has begun to publish its field school manuals with the four-volume A Manual of Egyptian Pottery by Dr. Anna Wodzinska. This four-book set covers all Egyptian pottery, ranging from the earliest (Fayum A) ceramics to pottery made in Egypt today, organized by historical periods. The manuals are quick identification guides as well as starting points for more extensive research.

For each period, ceramic types are illustrated with a line drawing, accompanied by a description that includes information on the pot’s material, manufacturing techniques, surface treatment, and shape. Color plates of representative ceramic types are included to give the clearest sense of the color, composition, and surface treatment. All four volumes provide an extensive list of suggested readings as well as a bibliography for each period. Introductory chapters in each book discuss the basics of pottery manufacture and analysis. The first comprehensive guide to Egyptian pottery, this set will prove valuable to students as well as experienced field archaeologists. The volumes come in paperback and spiral-bound versions. The spiral bound versions, with hard laminated covers and tabs, are designed especially for the field and lab.

Download the PDFs for free by selecting one of the volumes below or order printed copies from ISD.

A Manual of Egyptian Pottery: Volume 1 Revised Edition, Volume 2 Revised Edition, Volume 3 and Volume 4

Volume 1, Revised

Volume 2, Revised

Volume 3

Volume 4




Settlement and Cemetery at Giza

This volume is the first in a series of planned volumes representing the culmination of student work prepared during our Analysis and Publication Field Schools, the final step in our four-part field school for Ministry of Antiquities Inspectors run in conjunction with the American Center for Research in Egypt since 2005.

Settlement and Cemetery: Papers from the 2010 AERA-ARCE Field School presents preliminary excavation and specialist reports detailing fieldwork and material culture analysis from the Heit el-Ghurab (HeG) and Khentkawes Town (KKT) sites carried out during 2010 and 2013 field school seasons.

Click here for more information including a table of contents.

Download a PDF of Settlement and Cemetery at Giza: Papers from the 2010 AERA-ARCE Field School


Giza Reports Volume 1

GRcoverAncient Egypt Research Associates and the Giza Plateau Mapping Project are pleased to announce the publication of the first in a series of monographs detailing our work at the settlement of the pyramid builders.

While the builders of the Giza pyramids built amazing monuments for pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, they also created one of the earliest examples of urban planning. When the last Giza pyramid was completed, the Lost City was abandoned and forgotten until its rediscovery within the past two decades. View the Table of Contents.

The volume is illustrated with 196 line drawings and 96 black and white photos. It also includes two large fold-out maps: a topographical map of the Giza Plateau and a map of the excavation site. 336p, 292 b/w illus and photos, maps.

Order printed copies from ISD

© 2006 by Ancient Egypt Research Associates; ISBN: 0-9779370-1-1; Published by Ancient Egypt Research Associates, Inc. 26 Lincoln Street, Suite 5, Brighton, MA 02135 USA

Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA) is a 501(c) (3), tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated to research on ancient Egypt at the Giza Plateau.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior consent of the publisher.


The Complete Pyramids: Solving the Ancient Mysteries

complete_pyramidsMark Lehner brings his many years of field research in Egypt to this definitive book. He examines the pyramids in unprecedented detail, covering the practical aspects―the quarries, ramps, and tools used in construction―as well as the conceptual ones.

Professor Lehner surveys and describes the pyramids across their 3,000-year history, as well as explaining the rituals and mythology, the history of travelers, looters, and archaeologists, and the ways in which the pyramids were an integral part of the Egyptian state.

The hundreds of illustrations include computer reconstructions and specially commissioned artists’ perspective views of the pyramids and their interior chambers. 556 illustrations, 83 in color

Available on Amazon