Closing In On An Absolute Chronology Of Dynastic Egypt

Below is the abstract of Christopher Bronk Ramsey et al’s new study of the chronology of dynastic Egypt. The paper is published in Science.

The historical chronologies for dynastic Egypt are based on reign lengths inferred from written and archaeological evidence. These floating chronologies are linked to the absolute calendar by a few ancient astronomical observations, which remain a source of debate. We used 211 radiocarbon measurements made on samples from short-lived plants, together with a Bayesian model incorporating historical information on reign lengths, to produce a chronology for dynastic Egypt. A small offset (19 radiocarbon years older) in radiocarbon levels in the Nile Valley is probably a growing-season effect. Our radiocarbon data indicate that the New Kingdom started between 1570 and 1544 B.C.E., and the reign of Djoser in the Old Kingdom started between 2691 and 2625 B.C.E.; both cases are earlier than some previous historical estimates.

A news release announcing the paper adds this, “New Kingdom pharoah Rameses II, considered the greatest of the Egyptian kings by historians, clocks in between 1297 and 1273 B.C.E., and King Tut between 1353 to 1331 B.C.E.” Depending a little on what “clocks in” means, I don’t think those ranges are all that suppressing.
The whole paper is behind a pay wall. It is something I plan to look at sometime in the indefinite future. You can download the supporting material for free. From a quick look, that material is very intriguing indeed.

2 thoughts on “Closing In On An Absolute Chronology Of Dynastic Egypt”

  1. If you could send me a link it would be great. Hyksos eh’ for the Santorini Minoan eruption, humm interesting indeed. Also I am on Hawaii(Big Island) is there anything Mark Twainy on the island that might be of interest?

  2. Charlie,
    The links in the post link to the public material on this important paper. The paper itself is copy written and behind a pay wall.
    As to Twain in Hawaii: I’m not sure what there is that is directly related to him there now. I do believe that he planted some monkey-pod trees on the big island (or someplace) in Hawaii. Some trees in that grove may still be alive. He also scaled Kilauea during an eruption. Except for a short stop at the airport in Honolulu, I’ve never been to Hawaii. Hawaii is always on our vacation list but it has never made it higher on the list than second. Right now, it is third on the list. But if we were to go, I’d sure ask about Twain stuff at a tourist center.

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