Carbon dating on ancient artifacts

As we will discuss below, however, this date is still too early to be compatible with biblical history.Egyptian monarchs didn’t start building pyramids until the Third Dynasty, conventionally dated around 2686 BC.11 Since the focus of the study was the First Dynasty, the researchers obtained most of their regnal results from the Royal Tombs at Umm el-Qaab, the sacred burial site of Abydos.Bits of bone and hair and plant material associated with several individuals could therefore be expected to come from each monarch’s reign, helping mark out roughly how long each ruled.The fragmentary dynastic records recorded on the Palermo Stone, combined with other data, are used in an effort to zoom in on the actual dates of Egypt’s founding as a nation.Many bits of organic material carbon-dated in the latest study of Egypt’s First Dynasty originally came from these tombs.Image by Michael Dee, via NBC.10 The investigators statistically compared the results of radiocarbon testing on 74 new and 112 old specimens from Egypt’s Pre-Dynastic periods and First Dynasty with all the other archaeological data collected on those materials.Image from Petrie Museum, UCL, via NBC.12 The investigators assumed that all (or all but one, as Queen Merneith was possibly co-regent with her son) ruled with non-overlapping reigns.13 This is a major assumption given that much of the difficulty with Egyptian chronology has stemmed from the probability that many rulers presumed to have reigned in sequence actually ruled at the same time, perhaps regionally.By comparison with the fragmentary records of ancient Egypt, such as inscriptions on the Palermo Stone—containing some of the Royal Annals through the Fifth Dynasty—they estimated the accession dates of the reigns of eight First Dynasty monarchs.

“Egypt was a state that emerged quickly—over that time one has immense social change.Abydos had also been Egypt’s capital until a First Dynasty pharaoh moved it north to Memphis.At Abydos, not only rulers but also many royal officials were interred.Ignoring Egypt’s unifier Menes (aka Narmer, possibly), Aha—the first “official” pharaoh—acceded to the throne, the investigators concluded, around 3100 BC.This date is more recent than those assigned in traditional timelines of ancient Egypt but pretty much in line with the average dates obtained by more recent secular Egyptologists.

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