Dear AE , I have been reading with interest your comments regarding the graffiti at sites in Egypt and I share your concern with these wanton acts of mindless vandalism. However, I noticed in the article on the Temple of Khonsu at Karnak that there are 330 graffiti on the roof, but this time dating back to the end of the Old Kingdom and it made me wonder when graffiti stops being vandalism and becomes of historical interest? I understand Belzoni left his mark on various statues and if my memory serves me correctly I believe Wordsworth also left his mark on his school desk, as well as various prisoners who have recorded their details in places like the Tower of London. Is it possible that in hundreds of years’ time the graffiti placed on monuments now will be of interest to future archaeologists? I am in no way advocating that defacing ancient monuments (or indeed anywhere) is ever justified, but it would seem the ‘vandals’ of the past have sometimes left us something of value. Alison Marsay, St Albans.
The ancient graffiti are indeed of interest to us, as they do shed some light on the life and times of their makers. Similarly, the graffiti of the early nineteenth century are often a subject of study, but, from the end of the nineteenth century onwards, the ‘artists’ become, sadly, far more prolific; the only thing of ‘interest’ about these graffiti is that often we know absolutely nothingabout the people who made them. I remain totally unconvinced that “Fred Bloggs 2005” will ever be of interest to any archaeologists in the future. Ed.
Dear AE , I was extremely interested to read the article in “Bits and Pieces” in Issue 43 – “The Egyptians, not the Greeks, Were the True Fathers of Medicine”. It is an opinion I have long held, although some academics I have known over the years have tried to persuade me otherwise! It would appear that Udimu, a late First Dynasty pharaoh, was recognised by the Egyptians as the forefather of medical science (Rice 1990, Egypt’s Making, Routledge) and possibly fostered the blossoming of skilled specialists. Herodotus recounts in Book ll of his Histories, written retrospectively some centuries later, of how king Cyrus, the Achaemenid king, sent to Egypt for an eye doctor in the sixth century BC. This implies the high esteem the Egyptian physicians were held in; the fame of Egyptian doctors must have been legendary in the ancient world. Hippocrates (c. 460-377) may be regarded as the father of modern medicine, but early papyri form much
evidence of earlier medical practices, some of which are employed today. My own small area of post-grad. research and teaching has led me to investigate many of these treatises. Anyone who finds this subject fascinating can do no better than read An Ancient Egyptian Herbal by L. Manniche 1993 (BMP), Egyptian Medicine by C. Reeves 1992 (Shire), or Medicine in the Days of the Pharaohs, by Halioua and Ziskind, trans. by DeBevoise 2005 USA, for good background reading. Chris Humber, Herne Bay.
Dear AE , I think your magazine is going from strength to strength; I am especially impressed by Ayman Wahby Taher. His contributions have grown in interest and information value, which is a pleasure to see and a pleasure to read. There is so much more going on in Egypt than we usually hear about and he seems to have knowledge of it all. The most important point is that he writes in an interesting manner and imparts his enthusiasm to the reader. I must congratulate you on the way the articles are written, making interesting reading. Other, can I say more highbrow, journals are full of their own self-importance and forget that an interestingly-written article will get read more thoroughly than a dry-as-dust, academic one. Keep up the good work. Ken Humphries, a subscriber from Issue 2.
Dear AE , Readers may be interested to know that SunShine Project, the home which was founded in Luxor for abandoned Egyptian babies and children, is at last realising its dream of building a SunShine village. Contracts were signed on the 18thJune, and the first stone was laid at the end of June. Although we have paid £240,000 we have a short fall of £100,000 to finish the village of five houses and two admin. buildings. We need to raise this money within the next few months to enable our seventy-four children to move into their new home within a year. AE has always been a wonderful supporter of SunShine; please help us to overcome this last hurdle. Our children need your help now. Donations can be sent to Mrs. Eve Lawton, Sunshine Project, Scope House, West Road, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 6DD, telephone 01270 254545. With many thanks for your kindness. Judith Price, Trustee, SunShine Project UK.
ANCIENTEGYPTDecember 2007/January 2008