“It ends up in crates in storage, but a lot of that is gold dust for radiocarbon dating.” Dee’s team chose bits of hair and bone as well as plant-based materials like seeds from granaries, reeds from baskets,8 and linen.These samples had been assigned dates based on the usual pottery-based archaeological methods and comparison with other excavated layers (aka horizontal stratigraphy).
In Mesopotamia, for example, you have agriculture for several thousand years before you have anything like a state.”15 “The origins of Egypt began a millennium before the pyramids were built, which is why our understanding of how and why this powerful state developed is based solely on archaeological evidence,” Dee explained.
“This new study provides new radiocarbon dating evidence that resets the chronology of the first dynastic rulers of Ancient Egypt and suggests Egypt formed far more rapidly than was previously thought.”16 This is a portion of a chart from the Digging up the Past website, reflecting the 3100 BC date currently considered standard by many Egyptologists (though not by those at Diggings).
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.
Abydos had also been Egypt’s capital until a First Dynasty pharaoh moved it north to Memphis.
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.
“We got a whole lot more dates, did the model, and got the computer to work out what this means for when things actually happened,” Dee explained.
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.
As we will discuss below, however, this date is still too early to be compatible with biblical history.
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.
Samples that produced results more than 1,000 years different from those expected were excluded.
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.