17 May 2016

At … this is an extraordinary story in that the Egyptians had developed a phonetic alphabet by the early Middle Kingdom period (around 2000 – 1800BC). It seems that mainstream regards phonetic alphabets as more advanced than pictorial ones such as hieroglyphs, possibly because we use a modern phonetic alphabet, and this has clouded research. Modern bias is at work perhaps as the Egyptians continued to use hieroglyphs in spite of the availability of a phonetic alphabet.

The discovery opens a lot of possibilities. It is assumed the alphabet was developed in the Levant (per the Cadmus legendary material) and was taken to the Aegean from there – but equally it may have arrived from Egypt as links with Minoan Crete go back a long way to the Old Kingdom. We shall hear more about this as it is also assumed the alphabet developed towards the end of the New Kingdom period (in the Levant). It can now be seen that an alphabet existed in tandem with the Middle and New Kingdom periods which would imply an alphabet was in existence even during the Minoan era (long before the Phoenician ascendancy).

At … we have a piece on the recent search for a hidden chamber at the back of the tomb of Tutankamun. Inconclusive is the word of the day. However, it appears no trace of a chamber has been found otherwise there would have been a fanfare.

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