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Wahshiyah’s work on ancient writing systems showed that he was able to correctly decipher many hieroglyphic signs. Being an alchemist not a linguist, his primary interest was to identify the phonetic value and meaning of hieroglyphic signs with the aim of accessing the ancient Egyptian scientific knowledge inscribed in hieroglyphs.
“By comparing Ibn Wahshiyah’s conclusions with those in current books on Egyptian Language, I was able to assess his accuracy in understanding hieroglyphic signs,” says Dr El Daly.
“In particular I looked at the Egyptian Grammar of Sir Alan Gardiner which has a sign list at the end, it revealed that Ibn Wahshiyah understood perfectly well the nature of Egyptian hieroglyphs.”