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Architecture and Mathematics in Ancient Egypt
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  • 102 b/w illus. 9 tables
  • Page extent: 0 pages

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 (ISBN-13: 9780511889301)

In this fascinating study, architect and Egyptologist Corinna Rossi analyses the relationship between mathematics and architecture in ancient Egypt by exploring the use of numbers and geometrical figures in ancient architectural projects and buildings. While previous architectural studies have searched for abstract 'universal rules' to explain the history of Egyptian architecture, Rossi attempts to reconcile the different approaches of archaeologists, architects and historians of mathematics into a single coherent picture. Using a study of a specific group of monuments, the pyramids, and placing them in the context of their cultural and historical background, Rossi argues that theory and practice of construction must be considered as a continuum, not as two separated fields, in order to allow the original planning process of a building to re-emerge. Highly illustrated with plans, diagrams and figures, this book is essential reading for all scholars of Ancient Egypt and the architecture of ancient cultures.

• Unique interdisciplinary study drawing from architecture and Egyptology • This book has a broad range of appeal for scholars and academics in the fields of Egyptology, architecture, history of mathematics, philosophy, psychology: given its accessibility and simple language it will also appeal to non-specialists • Well supported with diagrams, plans and over 100 illustrations

Contents

Part I. Proportions in Ancient Egyptian Architecture: 1. In search of 'the rule' for Ancient Egyptian Architecture; 2. Mathematics and architecture in Ancient Egypt; Part II. Ancient Egyptian Sources: Construction and Representation of Space: 3. Documents on the planning and building process; 4. Foundation rituals; Part III. The Geometry of Pyramids: 5. Symbolic shape and constructional problems; 6. The proportions of pyramids; 7. Pyramids and triangles; Overview.

Reviews

'The mathematics in this well written book are accessible for most readers. Its warning against the multiple of proportion theories concerning the Egyptian architecture is a very welcome addition, as is the overview of ancient architectural drawings, models and texts … important is Rossi's conclusion that too much attention has been given to possible symbolic intentions …' www.PalArch.nl

'… Rossi has written a valuable contribution to this interdisciplinary field.' Journal of Archaeological Science

'Rossi grants us remarkable insight … into the way in which two-dimensional architectural plans relate to three-dimensional constructions … [she] provide[s] significant new insights into the mathematics of ancient civilisations, while challenging us to consider how language, material culture, and socio-technical practices are integrated, not only in mathematics, but in many domains.' Antiquity

'This book, based on Rossi's Cambridge Ph.D. thesis in Egyptology, is not only a calm, clear, and utterly compelling riposte to the world's 'pyramidiots' but also a case study in the integration of archaeological, artefactual, and textual evidence to analyse the praxis of ancient science against its modern reception. … accessible and relevant to students of recent intellectual history as to researchers in ancient technology and science.' ISIS

'… the book is beautifully written, thoughtful, and extremely reader-friendly in its organisation. Its mathematical content is nothing to be afraid of either, as it is reasonably accessible … with many helpful drawings, diagrams and charts. … the book is certainly a valuable contribution to the study of Egyptian architecture, as well as a product of much serious thought and careful documentation.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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