The Chronology of Ancient Egypt

Immanuel Velikovsky (1895-1979)

A team of researchers from England, France, Austria, and Israel have done a radiocarbon analysis of 211 samples taken from seeds, baskets, textiles, fruits, and other plants in order to develop a more accurate chronology of ancient Egypt. The result of this analysis, according to Christopher Bronk Ramsey, a physicist and mathematician at the University of Oxford, has provided scholars with an “accurate chronology of ancient Egyptian dynasties that agrees with most previous estimates.”

The following are excerpts from the article published in Science Daily:

For several thousands of years, ancient Egypt dominated the Mediterranean world — and scholars across the globe have spent more than a century trying to document the reigns of the various rulers of Egypt’s Old, Middle and New Kingdoms. Now, a detailed radiocarbon analysis of short-lived plant remains from the region is providing scientists with a long and accurate chronology of ancient Egyptian dynasties that agrees with most previous estimates but also imposes some historic revisions.

Although previous chronologies have been precise in relative ways, assigning absolute dates to specific events in ancient Egyptian history has been an extremely contentious undertaking. This new study tightly constrains those previous predictions, especially for the Old Kingdom, which was determined to be slightly older than some scholars had believed. The study will also allow for more accurate historical comparisons to surrounding areas, like Libya and Sudan, which have been subject to many radiocarbon dating techniques in the past.


The researchers’ new chronology does indicate that a few events occurred earlier than previously predicted. It suggests, for example, that the reign of Djoser in the Old Kingdom actually started between 2691 and 2625 B.C. and that the New Kingdom began between 1570 and 1544 B.C.

Read the complete report about the study here and here.

Most people reading this information may not realize the importance of this study. Most Biblical scholars and Egyptologists have rejected Velikovski’s views. They also agree with a standard chronology for ancient Egypt, although the dates for the reign of some of the kings may vary by a few years.

However, a group of people, mostly influenced by Immanuel Velikovski’s book Worlds in Collision, have proposed to lower the chronology of Egypt by about 500 years.

I have evaluated Velikovski’s views in two previous posts: Immanuel Velikovsky and the History of Israel and Immanuel Velikovsky and the Old Testament. In these two posts I reject Velikovski’s attempt to synchronize a lower Egyptian chronology with Biblical history and provide several reasons why his views about the Exodus, the Hyksos, and the Amalekites are unacceptable.

The followers of Velikovski’s views will try to dismiss this new conclusion about Egyptian chronology as irrelevant. They will also try to discredit the reliability of radiocarbon dating, but as Ramsey said, “For the first time, radiocarbon dating has become precise enough to constrain the history of ancient Egypt to very specific dates. I think scholars and scientists will be glad to hear that our small team of researchers has independently corroborated a century of scholarship in just three years.”

Other Studies on Immanuel Velikovski

Studies on Immanuel Velikovsky’s “Worlds in Collision”

Immanuel Velikovsky and the Old Testament

Immanuel Velikovsky and the History of Israel

Immanuel Velikovski: Worlds in Collision

The Chronology of Ancient Egypt

A Sympathetic View of Immanuel Velikovsky’s Theory

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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2 Responses to The Chronology of Ancient Egypt

  1. Roger Waite says:

    >As a Bible believer Dr Mariottini I am sure you would be familiar with how secular scientists trying to support their evolutionary views over the creationist viewpoint manipulate radiocarbon dates to get them to fit their own preconceived dates. The article/s give no information that any controls were in place to prevent this kind of manipulation of the raw data. If the raw data supports those dates then well and good and we would need to take that on board but without knowing that for sure then we cannot take these dates at face value.


  2. Johnny C says:

    >Dr MariottiniI have to celebrate the new tests – these are the kind of tests I have been calling for regarding the Velikovsky material since I began posting on the subject. Now that tests are being done, we need more of them. Since it is now OK to do tests – let's Re-Test the Tutankhamon material that was tested in 1969, showing Tutankhamon to live circa 800 BCE and not older. That material went unpublished by the British Museum, citing "contamination", even though palm kernels and other materials were used, in addition to the wood. Old carbon ingested by animals causes living biopsy samples from seals flippers to date thousands of years old… also the 19 year 'discrepancy' in the egyptian materials can it be explained by a growing season of any kind – that would at first seem absurd on the face of it, in my view, unless some mechanism can cause older carbon to predominate in one season or another. Carbon dates do seem to skew based on latitude as well… perhaps the relation is there due to seasonal winds… So the new work is fascinating. Also, modern "precision" in carbon dating is a wonderful, yet deceptive thing. Let me explain.IF the carbon were a constant in the upper atmosphere, then an object buried would have a simple exponential decay curve. The curve tends to level out after a while, so that IF the original carbon in the atmosphere were a little higher or lower, that would shift the derived date by hundreds to thousands of years. But the levels HAVE changed, and continue to do so. Because of these known changes, an object with a given carbon percentage can be very precisely measured to several very tight windows several centuries apart! Such is the actuality of carbon dating, for technical reasons. A single object can be precisely dated to 1100 BC plus or minus twenty years [very precise] AND 1450 years plus or minus thirty years [also very precise, yet different from the first reading] AAAND AALSO very precisely date to 2200 years plus or minus forty years – all very high precision dates equally valid from the same sample with only ONE carbon content. If a sample does not have even one of its possible dates agreeing with the intended chronology, it can be rejected as "contaminated" even where no mechanism is in evidence. That is what happened with Mainwaring and the TUT material. It should have been published anyway. Clearly scholarly judgement is a factor even and most especially now with todays 'precision' techniques. Scholars unaware of Velikovsky's chronology might dismiss valid samples as contaminated. Scholars fully aware might willfully dismiss as well. Either way a wrongful dismissal is not good science. Neither is a selective set of published material stacked in support of a given chronology without full disclosure of the variation, choices made, and critera for rejection of rejected values. The Tut test should be done again by modern methods and published. Further, tests like thermoluminescence should be brought to bear as well. Perhaps corroboration from other methods will enable better 'selections' to publish from the carbon tests. Even so, it is welcome news that the egyptian artifacts are being tested again, after forty years. I can only insist and hope that this new round of tests by the same AAAS scientist group who biased their 1974 Velikovsky bashing symposium will not give a false sense of security or scholarship for politics sake – again…Testing should continue – all other possible precise dates for the same material should be published as well, and comparative tests from other than carbon. There is more work to do – this is just the beginning. I am glad to see new tests being done – there must be full disclosure and further testing – and full awareness of all possible chronologies so dates will not wrongly be rejected out of hand without a valid contamination mechanism and go unpublished… again… Johnny C Godowski


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