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WILLIAM MATTHEW FLINDERS PETRIE, Egyptologist and scholar, was born at Chariton in 1853.
He was educated privately and at an early age evinced a predilection for archaeological studies and between the years 1880-1914, was actively engaged in excavations in Egypt. To this period belong the discovery of the Greek settlements at Naukratis and Daphnae, the Palaces of Memphis, and the Treasure of Lahun.
In 1905 he founded the British School of Archaeology in Egypt - an enlargement of the Egyptian Research Account which had been instituted by him eleven years earlier.
Dr. Petrie is ranked as one of the foremost Egyptologists. Many of his published works are of a highly technical character, and form valuable contributions to Egyptological research. Among these may be mentioned his "Royal Tombs of the First Dynasty", "Historical Scarabs", and the monumental "History of Egypt", of which he was the general editor and author of those volumes relating to the Dynastic period. Later works include "Egypt and Israel", the "Hawara Portfolio", "Scarabs", "Some Sources of Human History", "Hill Figures of England", and "Objects of Daily Use".
Dr. Petrie was appointed Edwards Professor of Egyptology at University College, London, in 1892, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the British Academy. In 1898 Dr. Petrie delivered a series of lectures on "Religion and Conscience in Ancient Egypt", which threw a valuable light on this subject. The following source document formed part of that series.
THE GROWTH OF CONSCIENCE
Let us consider, somewhat briefly, what we mean by conscience; not by any means to construct an artificial definition of the idea, nor to argue as to its limits in relation to other conceptions, for that would lead us into the barren grounds of speculation. But rather let us look practically at the acts of others around us, and into our own minds.
Conscience is that mass of the intuitions of right and wrong, which are born in the structure of the thoughts, though they may often need development before the latent structure becomes active. A plant does not put out its leaves and flowers all at once; yet they are latent, and are inevitable if any development of growth takes place. And thus, perhaps, some can look back to a time when only one or two elements of conscience were yet active in their minds, such as a sense of justice and injustice, and they reflected then that no act would seem wrong or shocking if it was not unjust. Yet later on, as the mind grew (and growth or death is the choice of the mind, though the body may continue an animal existence), the various other elements of conscience unfolded gradually from some central stem (such as that of justice) which had first sprung up.