Ancient Egyptian Chronologies: Traditional Chronology Part 2

Problems With the Traditional Chronology

First of all, the Revised Chronologies attempt to analyze the methods by which the Traditional Chronology is held up to determine whether they are legitimate. The subject of Manetho’s writings is worth some attention. One problem with using Manetho’s histories is that we don’t have the original documents. We only have portions of it quoted in the works of Eusebius and other such historians. Another issue is that the history was never intended to be a chronological account. Ptolemy II employed Manetho to record the history of Egypt, but he didn’t care if it was all in order. In addition, it did not line up with Egyptian sources of the same period (Mitchell and Ham, 246).

Stratigraphic excavation or archaeological sequence dating and synchronisms with the burying of the Apis bull are relative dating methods employed by archaeologists to confirm their hypotheses. The problem with these strategies is that if one starts with an assumption, such as the infallibility of Manetho’s record, then one will come to a conclusion confirming that viewpoint. If the record proves to be unreliable, then that archaeologist has made an error and therefore his conclusions will be in error. And, as mentioned previously, Manetho’s history does not benefit from the confirmation many historians would like it to have.

Traditional chronologists will say that the Assyrian and Babylonian chronologies confirm their timescale. In actuality, there are many discrepancies between the two, most notably dealing with the destruction of the Hittites. Ramses III of the 20th Dynasty reported the final annihilation of the Hittite people in 1,200 B.C., according to the Traditional Chronology. However, Assyrian records, which are significantly more reliable than that of the Egyptians, show that the elusive nation was at war with Assyria in 800 B.C. The Revised Chronology allows these dates to line up correctly.

The Sothic theory is another fairly shoddy attempt to confirm the Traditional Chronology. John Ashton and David Down write,

The concept of Egyptian dates being astronomically fixed gives the reassuring impression that some early lunar or solar eclipses have been found to exactly match the assumed dates of Egyptian history. Nothing could be further from the truth. (74)

Further down in the passage, they continue,

The Sothic Cycle is nowhere mentioned in Egyptian texts . . . “the rising of Sothis,” which is assumed to have been . . . Sirius . . . It is further assumed that the Egyptians always had a 365-day year . . . It was therefore assumed that over a period of four years . . . [emphasis added] (Ashton and Down, 74)

There seems to be a recurring theme. The whole concept of “the rising of Sothis” is based on many, possibly faulty, assumptions. In fact, an honest historian will tell you that Sothis cannot be positively identified (Walker, Cardno, Sarfati).

When asked if carbon-14 dating or radiocarbon dating disproves the Bible, David Down said,

“I’ve used carbon-14 dating,” David chuckled. “Frankly, among archaeologists, carbon dating is a big joke. They send samples to the laboratories to be dated. If it comes back and agrees with the dates they’ve already decided from the style of pottery, they will say, ‘Carbon-14 dating of this sample confirms our conclusions.’ But if it doesn’t agree, they just think the laboratory has got it wrong, and that’s the end of it. It’s only a showcase. Archaeologists never (let me emphasize this) never date their finds by carbon-14. They only quote it if it agrees with their conclusions [emphasis his].” (Tas Walker, et. al.)

Effectually, radiocarbon dating is not a reliable method by which to show evidence for one’s point of view. Mike Riddle explains:

The use of carbon-14 dating is often misunderstood. Carbon-14 is mostly used to date once-living things (organic material). It cannot be used directly to date rocks; however, it can be used to put time constraints on some inorganic material such as diamonds (diamonds contain carbon-14). Because of the rapid rate of the decay of 14C, it can only give dates in the thousands-of-year range and not millions. (Ham and Riddle, 79)

He goes on to conclude that

All radiometric dating methods are based on assumptions about events that happened in the past. If the assumptions are accepted as true (as is typically done in the evolutionary dating processes), results can be biased toward a desired age . . . When the assumptions were evaluated and shown faulty, the results supported the biblical account . . . (Ham and Riddle, 87)

Therefore, based on the evidence shown here, radiometric dating is not reliable for the dating of   rocks at all, because one must know the amount of carbon-14 in the sample at the beginning of decay, the current amount of carbon-14, and the half-life of the element. Only two of these requirements are known, so that geologists are forced to assume the first – the amount of carbon-14 in the subject at the beginning of decay (Ham and Riddle, 81). Furthermore, the results of these tests are only mentioned in a scientist’s findings if it confirms his beliefs.

Due to the extremely dry climate of Egypt, wood and other substances that are liable to decay can be preserved much like the mummified remains of the pharaohs. Dendrochronology is the science of studying tree rings and using them to form a time period in the place from which they came. The problem with dendrochronology is outlined in this article excerpt:

The most questionable assumption in dendrochronology is the rate of ring formation. General principles of biology and climate suggest that trees add only one ring each year. Individual bristlecone pines, which grow very slowly in arid, high altitude areas of western North America, will sometimes skip a year of growth. This might make a tree appear younger than it really is, but dendrochronologists fill in the missing information by comparing rings from other trees. (Major)

So we see that radiocarbon dating is involved in dendrochronology as well, and, as stated before, radiocarbon dating has been shown to be unreliable. However, in this instance, it is more trustworthy, because it is being used to date organic matter (trees), rather than inorganic matter (rocks). But again the blow is struck from assumptions. The scientist and/or archaeologists must have all the information, or at least enough that their conclusion is reliable beyond any reasonable doubt.

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