The title must have been wilfully provocative. Even if you are one of the few to believe Egypt was uninhabited before Europeans stumbled across it, then it’s hard to counter the received wisdom that modern Egyptology began after Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt and Jean-François Champollion’s subsequent decoding of hieroglyphics. So to find out the subject of The Man Who Discovered Egypt (BBC4) was Flinders Petrie, a Victorian Brit of whom I’d never heard and who only started digging around the Nile in the late 19th century, came as rather a shock.
I think Andie had something to do with this, leastways she was Facebooking on it. I’d no idea Petrie was that unknown outside of archaeological/Egyptological circles, though I suppose I shouldn’t have been. Except for Howard Carter, there probably aren’t many of us (besides Zahi anyway) that lay people would even hear about. But he does deserve to be better known. I’ve always been fascinated with his apparent non-connection to seriation via his Sequence Dating scheme. Apparently, those who developed the technique here in the States knew something of what Petrie was doing but it also apparently never influenced them. There are supposedly some differences between the two techniques as well. That’s one little topic I’ve always wanted to look into in some depth; some day.