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My Second-Favorite Petree Family


We all know that the Petree family is the absolute best. But did you know about another famous Petree family? Here's the quick story of Sir Flinders Petrie (I know, I know, it's spelled wrong...the English have a different flavour for such things).


Flinders, as he was known, lived from 1853-1942. His grandfather led the first circumnavigation of Australia, which apparently gave him the clout to rename the continent from New Holland to Australia, and the name stuck. Flinders' brother also made a name for himself in mathematics as the inspiration behind the Petrie polygon.


Turning to Flinders himself, he was the premier archaeologist of his day and was widely known as the father of Egyptology. In typical Indiana Jones style, he was known to dangle from rope ladders while reading and sketching ancient inscriptions on a cliff face. Among the numerous findings that are credited to him include the Merneptah stele. This was a 10-foot tall slab of black granite with hieroglyphic writing that detailed pharaoh Merneptah's (the son of Ramsses II) conquests over neighboring tribes. The slab is believed to have been written around 1200 BC and its claim to fame is the mention of the tribe of Israel as one of the tribes in the land of Canaan. This is one of the earliest textual references to both the Canaanites and the Israelites and confirms their existence in the land much earlier than anything previously found. It is one of many archaeological finds that corroborate the Biblical story.


- Brian Causey

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