How often do you believe something without question?
I spent an interesting evening with the Egypt Society of Bristol earlier this week, listening to John Wyatt’s talk on the Birds of Ancient Egypt. Afterwards someone mentioned that they’d never questioned one of the points he raised, but had always accepted the conventional wisdom as the truth. This was from a very well respected Egyptologist; so how many others were equally acquiescent?
That sums up one of the difficulties that I’ve found when working on our Egypt project. Something is published as a theory and then is quoted in further research. That is then published as fact, and later gets published again and then again. Soon it becomes accepted as the truth and few think or dare to question it. All from one theory which may or may not be correct.
We cannot question every fact we meet, but what we can do is to encourage the dialogue and welcome new research. I’ve heard of a postgraduate student who has been told by her university that she cannot study birds in ancient Egypt as it has already been done! Surely a subject can never be “done”; we can never know everything there is to know about a subject.
Just this afternoon I found a published reference to “Isis represented as a kite or a hawk”, when the image clearly showed a falcon. Obviously Birds in Ancient Egypt hasn’t been done beyond reasonable doubt. I certainly don’t believe that our project will be the final word on the subject, but I do welcome the chance to encourage some discussion.
Like to know more about the project? Here’s the link: http://www.jackiegarner.co.uk/egypt.htm