Cartouches: A Field Guide leads the reader chronologically through the cartouches (name rings) of over 120 pharaohs, queens and even Roman emperors and Macedonian kings who ruled ancient Egypt over a period of 3,000 years. These include the Old Kingdom pyramid builders, Tutankhamen, Ramses the Great, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, and Caesar Augustus.
The Field Guide differs from similar books in that it is illustrated with photographs or sketches by the author of almost all the cartouches cited, rather than using a standardized font, so readers can learn to read the actual inscriptions in their various states of preservation, styles and directions of writing: right to left, left to right, and top to bottom. For each cartouche, in addition to the photograph, there is a breakdown of every hieroglyph in the name, giving the pronunciation and meaning of each one. The hieroglyphs used in each featured name are explained, with much repetition. The reader will be introduced to about 180 hieroglyphs.
The Field Guide includes a section on how to read Ptolemaic and Roman names, a topic which many authors ignore. These names are extremely complicated but necessary to make the Cartouche Identification Key complete.
A unique 65-page Cartouche Identification Key, built in the style of a tree or wildflower key, allows even a novice to discover the owner of almost any cartouche found at an ancient site or in a museum.
The book is heavily cross-referenced internally and includes lists of all rulers treated; all hieroglyphs used in the book, by both Gardiner reference number and pronunciation; a glossary; and annotated bibliography.