Honoring Flinders Petrie

Matti Friedman reports

More than a hundred people gathered in Jerusalem to remember Sir Flinders Petrie, one of the fathers of modern archaeology, in the lovely, little-known cemetery on Mt. Zion where most of him was buried 70 years ago this week.

A towering figure in the study of Egyptology and biblical history, the brilliant, driven and eccentric Briton is no longer a household name. But a memorial for Flinders organized by the Israel Antiquities Authority on Monday at the Protestant Cemetery, just outside the walled Old City, nonetheless drew a capacity crowd of local archaeologists, Bible scholars and aficionados of the ancient past.

Petrie’s modest grave — which houses all of his body except for his head — is marked simply with his name and an ankh, the Egyptian hieroglyph for “life.”

It’s a great essay. Read it all.

3 thoughts on “Honoring Flinders Petrie

  1. I was fortunate to be there as well at the former Tel Hesi celebration in 1990 where he began his career in what was called then Palestine. The documentary screened that evening, made by the BBC is a must for anyone interested in Biblical Archaeology and should be a an example of what these documentaries on the profession should be in terms of academic standards. I doubt if there were any obligatory non-disclosure agreements, photo shopping, misquoting of experts etc and what was interesting was to see two of our colleagues whom have appeared in some highly questionable documentaries in the past, now raising to the occasion by appearing in the film or lecturing prior to the films showing. In short, well done and should be a yardstick in how the past is presented. Kudos to all those involved. We all went away pleased.


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