Last night, quite by accident, I found myself watching The man who discovered Egypt, an hour-long documentary on the founder of modern archaeology (and Egyptology), Flinders Petrie. For the first time in a long time I watched a TV programme all the way through. It was excellent!
Ancient Egypt was vandalised by tomb raiders and treasure hunters until one Victorian adventurer took them on. Most of us have never heard of Flinders Petrie, but this maverick genius underook a scientific survey of the pyramids, discovered the oldest portraits in the world, unearthed Egypt’s prehistoric roots – and in the process invented modern field archaeology, giving meaning to a whole civilisation.
Among the material most interesting were bunches of the Fayuum mummy portraits, which Petrie unearthed at Hawara. Most of these were unfamiliar to me. It is worth remembering that we see the same few examples again and again; but there are a lot out there which we never see.
The Radio Times comments as well (ignore the political correctness; the film itself is pretty free of such nonsense).