Isis of Bowen.
Identified with the moon, she was the sister and also wife of Osiris. Great reverence was paid to her in her temples. Adolf Erman, author of “A Handbook of Egyptian Religion” [London 1907] reveals the following ancient text, recited by the priests of Philae and at other Egyptian temples dedicated to her:
“I am Isis, mistress of the whole land;
I was instructed by Thoth, and with Thoth I invented the writings of the nations,
in order that not all should write with the same letters.
I gave mankind their laws and ordained what no one can alter.
I am the wife and sister of the Pharaoh Osiris.
I am she who rises in the Dog Star.
I am she who is called the Goddess of Women.
I am she who separated the heaven from the earth.
I have pointed out the paths to the stars.
I have invented seamanship. I have brought together men and women.
I have ordained that the elders shall be beloved by the children.
With my brother Osiris I made an end to cannibalism.
I have instructed mankind in the mysteries.
I have taught reverence of the divine statues.
I have established the temple precincts.
I have overthrown the dominion of the tyrants.
I have caused men to love woman.
I have made justice more powerful than silver and gold.
I have caused truth to be considered beautiful”.
It was during September 2000, while on an earlier Queensland field investigation, that Heather and I stumbled upon a remote beach in the Bowen area. While Heather prepared a picnic lunch I went exploring along the beach and nearby mudflats. As it was low tide it was possible to walk out quite some distance from the shore amid outcrops of mangroves.
Here and there I came upon piles of rock, being the remains of apparent ancient walls, half-buried in the mud. I also observed lumps of smelted slag and soon found there was a massive shoal of this material extending some great distance southward and for perhaps a few hundred metres out from the beachfront, suggesting the shoreline once extended much further out than it does today.
Obviously I had stumbled upon yet another smelting site of ancient miners. This would be confirmed within the hour, when I found a shoreline rock outcrop upon which was engraved a Phoenician inscription. By then, Heather, having been calling out to me to “come and get it”, finally caught my ear to remind me that my lunch was still waiting for me and at the mercy of some tourist-friendly parrots and other birds!
Lunch, over, I quickly dashed off again in the opposite direction to before. On reaching an outcrop of smooth rocks on the shore I made a remarkable find. Deeply engraved into one large boulder was a Phoenician inscription. Calling out to Heather who joined me soon afterwards, we set to work recording the find. The tide, meanwhile, was beginning to return. We completed our work with the waves splashing against the rocks!
After a break I decided to explore up a dried creek bed which normally flowed down from the hills to the west into the beach sand. Here I chanced to see, lying among numbers of ancient water-smoothed rocks of varying sizes which had been exposed from the banks by occasional flooding, a yellowish-coloured specimen which stood out from all the rest, and which appeared to display engravings.
Picking it up and dusting away its dirt coating, I realised I was looking at a carved human face whose forehead bore a Phoenician inscription.
Our time had just about run out, as we still had a lot of kilometres to cover on this trip, which was to take us to Cairns, so we had to leave these finds until the drive south when we would search for further evidence at this site.