One of the great things about ancient Egypt is its mystery, and there are few episodes in its history more mysterious and more potentially important than the life and death of Yuya (Iouiya) and Thuyu (Touiyou).
Yuya and Thuyu were commoners, Yuya may have been a chariot officer during the hight of Egypt's empire, Thuyu may have been a servant in the royal palace... whatever their origins, the couple's young daughter, Tiyi, became the chief wife of the teenage pharaoh Amenhotep III. This was strange enough, but then this rags-to-richs couple was granted a tomb in the royal cemetary in the so-called Valley of The Kings, and strangest of all was the fact that their tomb should have survived some 3,300 years largely intact until it could be discovered by an archaeological mission in 1905.
The two volumes reprinted in this work are two of the three basic source books on this discovery, the third, "The Tomb of Yuaa and Thuiu" by J.E. Quibell (Cairo, 1908) remains a scarce work to find.
I was overjoyed to learn that Duckworth Books had reprinted this important work. With its old-fashioned prose and typeset, it is an enjoyable visit to what has been called "the golden age of Egyptology" when major finds were made almost every day and enormous leaps were being made in the understanding of ancient Egyptian history, language and culture.
Besides which it remains one of the ONLY publications regarding this discovery, with the exception of some summaries in books such as Reeves' "Valley of The Kings: The Decline of a Royal Necropolis" (London, 1990), Reeves and Wilkinson's "The Complete Valley of The Kings" (New York, 1996) and Forbes' "Tombs, Treasures, Mummies: Seven Great Discoveries of Egyptian Archaeology (Sebastopol, 1998, available only through KMT Publications).
The "Tomb of Iouiya and Touiyou" is typical in the time in that it is not nearly as thorough as a modern archaeological field report would be, but its contributors are a veritable "who's who" of the legends of Egyptology, including such notables as Theodore M. Davis, the American millionaire who financed the excavation; Gaston Maspero, then head of the Egyptian Antiquties Service; and even watercolors by a young Howard Carter who would later go on to discover Tutankhamen in 1922. The book features many black and white photographs that have been well reproduced (although not as well as in "Tombs, Treasures, Mummies"), although it would be nice if they had reproduced Carter's watercolors in color (some of which can be seen in "The Complete Valley of The Kings").
The "Tomb of Iouiya and Touiyou" reprint listed here is a book that any serious student of the 18th Dynasty of the Egyptian New Kingdom should have. The reader should be aware that scholarship in the field has come a long way in the past century and some of the conclusions and theories espoused by the authors of the book are looked upon as being flawed or out-of-date by modern egyptologists.
Likewise the hieroglyphic translations are also somewhat outdated, which provides the student with a splendid opportunity to practice their own translations of the hieroglyphic inscriptions reproduced in the text.
In short, this is (in its field) a very important book and you can't beat the price, especially as the original printing was a limited addition and the surviving copies are only to be found in some libraries and private collections. Given all the wild theories concerning the alleged ethnic and religous origins of Yuya and Thuyu and their supposed influence on the late 18th Dynasty, this book is a must for the serious scholar of the time-period, and may prove to be of value to anyone interetsted in the more mystical aspects of Egyptian society especially concering theories like Osman's that Yuya was the Biblical Joeseph.