Island of the Blessed: The Secrets of Egypt's Everlasting Oasis, by Thurston, Harry
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- ISBN: 9780385259705 | 0385259700
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 2/10/2004
Canadians leading an archaeological dig in Egypt's Western Desert are at the forefront of an amazing scientific detective story as they uncover 400,000 years of human history and examine the fragile balance between humankind and our environment. Award-winning author and journalist Harry Thurston combines elements of adventure travelogue, scientific detective story, and environmental chronicle to offer a uniquely modern, ecological perspective on the story of humanity, entwining it with a fascinating portrait of Egypt from prehistory, through ancient times, to the present. Island of the Blessedfollows the footsteps of a Canadian-led international team of archaeologists as they penetrate the Sahara to unlock the secrets of Egypt's "everlasting oasis" -- Dakhleh. This fertile island in a sea of sand has been home to humans for almost half a million years. Archaeologists are using high-tech methods to decipher humankind's prehistory and have unearthed a perfect Old Kingdom town, replete with palaces and temples from the Golden Age of ancient Egypt, a stunning cache of mummies, a Roman-era archive of 10,000 papyri, and the world's two oldest books. As well, they are excavating an entire Roman city -- a "desert Pompeii" buried by the inexorable march of the Sahara. What we can learn from Dakhleh is nothing less than the whole history of our species and its ambivalent relationship with our planet. Island of the Blessed is that rare book about the past that sheds light upon the present day.