Secret of the Sands: The Revelations of Egypt's Everlasting Oasis, by Harry Thurston, hardcover (very good condition)
Traces the archaeological and scientific studies surrounding the Egyptian oasis known as Dakhleh, citing evidence and historical findings that suggest the oasis may have given rise to the Egyptian civilization.
Amid a sea of sand, in a part of Egypt so parched that decades pass between rain-storms, a green island may contain the whole of human history. It is called Dakhleh, the "ever-lasting oasis," and it holds a rich trove of archaeological clues. In Secrets of the Sands, acclaimed science writer and journalist Harry Thurston follows an international team of archaeologists as they unlock secrets of nearly half a million years -- secrets that may overturn commonly held notions about where, and with whom, lies the cradle of Egyptian civilization. Over the course of a thirty-year dig, the team has discovered a perfect Old Kingdom town, with buildings ranging from palaces to common bakeries; the oldest monumental architecture in Egypt, older even than the earliest of the pyramids; an archive of 10,000 papyri; huge caches of mummies, some still covered in ancient gold foil; an entire Roman city -- a desert Pompeii swallowed up by shifting sands; and the world's two oldest books, their pages of thin wood still bound together with age-old string. Perhaps most impressive of all is that these discoveries occurred in a single, magical place where it is possible to trace human habitation back more than 400,000 years ... before the advent of modern Homo sapiens.