> You talk about “most” people and then jump to
Petrie was quite exceptional.
> He was an innovator in his field. From the age of
> eight (8) he was a strong critic of archaeology
> (or antiquarianism) as he found it.
Pioneers often show signs at a young age. They almost invariably are against the status quo. It's not his fault that Egyptology never moved on from his early start in scientific archaeology.
> On the argument you outline (which mistakes most
> for all), there can be no innovation or progress,
> so what does it matter if something “is a
> product of” the 19th century (or the 18th, or
> the 17th)?
In the 19th century surgeons were in too much hurry to wash their hands.
> Yeah, sure, they’re all still communicating by
> quill-written letter. They ride horses
> everywhere. They never use (or develop)
> specialist software. Etc.
The world has changed a great deal since the 19th century but Egyptological thinking has not.
> Some fields “embrace” mathematics to show how
> scientific they are and end up the opposite.
Certainly math can be applied wrongly just as statistics.
> Have you ever read an article in the Journal of
> Egyptian Archaeology? A yes-or-no answer would be
I believe I've read several.
Most of this sort of thing I just skim looking for facts.
> Supplementary question: have you read much
> 19th-century material?
Very extensively. I consider myself old school in the tradition of the 1890's. Unfortunately I lack knowledge and genius of most who came before but this is my bent with heavy 1920's and 1960's influence.
> One would think that you
> must have, to be so confident that you know what a
> product of the era is like.
It was a time of a mechanistic universe. People believed the cosmos was a clockwork and everything was completely knowable given enough time for science to learn it. The changes in scientific outlook over the years are tremendous. Still the vestiges of a creator adorn much of science but we've come full circle as well. Most physicists ignore the implications of chaotic forces and invent models to explain mathematics. Even cosmology is stuck in the 1920's and the day is fast approaching that technology will have caught up with theory and no new progress will be possible because all progress ultimately depends on theory.