Talk:Egyptian chronology

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:Egyptian chronology is in the state of a transition, in order to avoid using the word "mess".[edit]

This doesn't sound like the beginning of an NPOV encyclopedia article but like an essay. Should this be moved over to meta? -- JeLuF 21:05 Dec 5, 2002 (UTC)

It can use some NPOV, but I think it's a valid topic for the encyclopedia.

This entry, strange as it might sound, appears to be POV because it doesn't have enough materials. We need to add content explaning to show why Egyptian Chronology is such a debateable subject. This would include:

  • Discussing the "traditional dates" for Ancient Egypt -- what Manetho, Herodotus, the Bible and others recorded up to AD 1800, when successful efforts were made to read the Ancient Egyptian Language.
  • The chronology of Ancient Egypt as reconstructed from the inscriptions, but then explaning why scholars encountered problems with accepting these dates.
  • Then rewrite the material here to show how radiocarbon datings and astronomical records have created a new chronology.

Hmm. Unfortunately, we need to adopt a set of dates for compatibility between entries -- for example, provide one year for the beginning of Ramses II's reign, instead of half a dozen scattered over the first decade of the 13th century BC. Perhaps Wikipedia may be forced to accept what is written in a standard authority like the Cambidge Ancient History for Ancient Egyptian History, while allowing contributors to set out reasons why other dates maybe/are clearly better. -- llywrch 19:50 Apr 19, 2003 (UTC)

Agree that a standard chronology should be agreed and specified. For example, at the moment, we put Tutenkhamen in the 14th_century_BC, and don't even mention that this is controversial. That's not NPOV. The main thing we need to do to make it NPOV is to say what authority these entries are based on.

Of course we also want our material consistent. Assuming we make a reasonable choice of authority, that's probably the best we can do. In some ways it's more important to be transparent than to be right. It's also a lot easier!

IMO three related questions arise:

  1. At what stage of acceptance do we start to also list dates from other proposed chronologies, at least as credible alternatives to our standard ones?
  2. How do we do it, when that point is reached?
  3. Just assuming that we're not to that point yet, either with the theories of Rohl, Velikovsky, or of many others such as Lisa Liel (whose essay On the Care and Feeding of Revision Hypotheses raises some very interesting questions), what should we be doing right now anyway to get ready for the possibility (IMO certainty) that it may happen some day?

One answer to question 3, of course, is that we need to answer questions 1 and 2.

Andrewa 21:02 23 Jun 2003 (UTC)

An interesting summary of several competing Egyptian chronologies is at

and despite the context in a site promoting particular opinions, the summary itself looks remarkably NPOV, IMO. At the very least, it clearly lists some of the contenders.

Our current Egyptian Chronology page needs a refactor along these lines IMO. We need to present the main contenders, both current and historical, with a brief summary of principle dates and the evidence normally quoted for and against each.

Perhaps more detailed dates and evidence could go into separate pages on the more interesting contenders. Some would prefer it all remain in this article instead I realise. I'd split it.

But at present the page is a bit daunting even to read IMO.

We could also identify which of the chronologies presented is the Wikipedia Standard to be used for year and century entries. That's also a bit controversial perhaps. Andrewa 20:55 26 Jun 2003 (UTC)

I've put a "conventional" chronology (timeline) of the rulers of ancient Egypt as a new article at Conventional Egyptian chronology. This is not necessarily the best, it's just the one I had handy. Its main virtues are that it is complete and fairly recent, and comes from sources of good "conventional" pedigree. Its main vices are that there is a 60 year discrepancy in the middle of it owing to three different sources by two different authors being used, and that the taking of "low" dates from one of these sources seems to me to be arbitrary and verging on misquotation.

I've also become aware that there is an awful lot of discussion of Egyption chronology in existing articles, eg Seti I, much of it poorly attributed. In that article, two different chronologies are suggested, but no clue is given as to who might support one or the other of these different dates.

It seems to me that, as these dates are disputed, to supply any of them without saying who proposes them is POV. Ideally, we would link any disputed dates to an article describing the proposed timeline of which they are part, and saying who proposed it and on what grounds. That's ambitious. Anyway, the timeline I have put up is a start. Andrewa 10:39 2 Jul 2003 (UTC)

A group of us over at Wikipedia:WikiProject Ancient Egypt have been discussing making radical changes to this & related pages. If you'd like to offer your opinion, join the conversation on the Talk page. -- llywrch 20:13, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

This page isn't looking so hot. I find this sentence particularly odd:

All these may mean that our encyclopaedias should consider shifting the orthodox dates of Akhenaton or Tutankhamun up by 164 years.

Given that Akhenaten was a contemporary of Burnaburiash II and Ashur-uballit I, I find it hard to see how this is conceivable. Is this just crank stuff? john k 18:34, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Clean Up[edit]

I've cleaned up the sentence structure, but I noticed there are some people mentioned (as sources), yet there are no references to explain who they are. Brina700 20:04, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

Crackpot theories.[edit]

The article uses the predynastic kinglist of Z.A. Simon- is this guy a crank? I did some research on him, apparently he claims to have connected the Rongorongo script of Easter Island to the Indus Valley script. He's also written stuff on Atlantis. I notice that his list of predynastic Egyptian kings includes names that appear similar to the eponyms on the biblical Table of Nations in Genesis 10, such as Mizraim ("Masram" on Simon's list), Ludim ("Ludjim" on Simon's list), and Anakim ("Anqam" on Simon's list). It also cites Egyptian gods, such as Horus and Osiris, as historical kings. These names do not appear on any other Egyptian kinglist I know of. The section on kinglists that cites him also states Menes as reigning during the "first flood," mentions Noah, and generally just seems to be taking speculation, legend, and myth as fact.

The entire article seems a mess as well; whoever wrote it seems hell-bent on chronological revisionism. It claims the conventional chronology overlooks the contemporaneity of Akhenaten and Ashur-uballit I. This claim is false. Conventional chronlogy (see List of Pharaohs and Kings of Assyria) places Akhenaten at 1350-1334 BC, and Ashur-uballit I at 1365-1330 BC- clearly these kings are listed as contemporary by the conventional chronology.

The complaints against the conventional Sothic cycle dating imply that this system is obsolete; if this is so, why do recent books by professional Egyptologists, such as Oxford's recent history written in 2000, still use it? --Rob117 19:34, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Yes, much of this article is crackpot nonsense. It might be best just to delete it all and begin anew - the corruption dates back to the original version of the article. john k 21:02, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

I'm finally uploading an unfinished article I started about a year ago that would replace what's here. It still needs a lot of work, but I hope (& think) it offers a framework that we can all work with. Take a look at Egyptian chronology/temp, & edit the hell out of it. -- llywrch 20:32, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

The Thera volcanic eruption[edit]

An anon has added a paragraph about the Thera explosion, but neither the added info nor the linked article explains how this affects Egyptian Chronology? Does anyone know if this is a factor in chronological arguments, or is it just an entertaining irrelevancy? -- llywrch 20:18, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Dating the Thera eruption accurately is CRITICAL for aligning the chronologies of the ancient Egyptians, Minoans, and Myceneans with each other. A correct date is absolutely central to Egyptology, re its relationship to other cultures. -- 00:08, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Can you povide any publications or authorities that assert this synchronism? Or is this your opinion? -- llywrch 06:40, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I dont understand what you are asking for. The problem of the Thera/Santorini chronology is wellknown, and the info about it here already includes several links to prominent archeologists/egyptologists who refer to it. -- 21:27, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
LOL! I wish this Thera chronology problem was already solved because the conflict in dating methods creates all kinds of "he is his own grandfather" scenarios that annoy when trying to interpret the sequence of events. -- 21:27, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I find it hard not to feel that you are evading my clearly expressed request. I asked for sources; you respond with handwaving, claiming that this is "wellknown", then point me to your external links. These reveal the following: (1) a webpage on the date of the Thera explosions (with an incidental mention of ancient Egypt); (2) an abstract of an article on ceramic typology (which only incidentally mentions the Thera explosion; but see below for other comments); (3) a review of a book that tries to use the Thera explosion to establish a chronology for the Eastern Mediterranean -- is the quote from the review (which, from what I read seems to be critical of the book) or the book? None of these links ties the Thera explosion to a specific event. Are there archeological sites in Egypt where a layer of ash from this eruption has been identified? Are there passages from Egyptian inscriptions or writings that have been interpretted as alluding to this eruption?
As for the paper on ceramic typology, I admit that this is one tool used to create a chronology, & that a discussion of typologies is needed on this page. However, a typology creates a relevant chronology of the form "A is older than B is older than C is older than etc." As the article on the Thera Foundation website notes, pottery found below a datable eruption can serve as a check in providing absolute dates for a typological series -- but it is not a synchronism. It only offers proof that certain pottery styles are older than the explosion. But how much older that could be -- well, that requires more evidence. -- llywrch 00:54, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
(1) "A webpage on the date of the Thera explosions (with an incidental mention of ancient Egypt)" - which is the very study that gives the most authorative Radiocarbon date! This study is now the CONSENSUS of all scientists including radiocarbon specialists, geologists and vulcanists!!! They are the ones who oppose the conventional Egyptian Chronology.
(2a) "an abstract of an article on ceramic typology (which only incidentally mentions the Thera explosion)" - written by the most prominent Theran archeologists and which SUMMARIZES EXACTLY WHICH archeological remains are being used to establish the synchronisms between Egyptian and Minoan chronologies, and thereby the date of the eruption according to archeological evidence!
(2b) "I admit that this [source for Minoan-Egyptian ceramic synchronisms] is one tool used to create a chronology, & that a discussion of typologies is needed on this page". Yeah, exactly.
(2c) The Egyptian ceramics ARE a synchronism. They provide accurate dates, within a decade or so (roughly the same precision as C-14!). As the Thera Foundation makes clear: these Egyptian artifacts around Thera are, in fact, synchronous with Egypt because they are not a single piece in isolation, which leaves how and when it arrived in doubt. Rather, they are a whole seriation of numerous ceramics over a very long period of time, confirming active trade with Egypt and near CONTEMPORANEOUS acquisition. The arrival of the Egyptian ceramics cannot be more than about 25 years after when they were made in Egypt. The date of the eruption based on Egyptian ceramics is simply around 1530. (Nevertheless, the site details slight variations in possible dates, depending on "High" versus "Low" Chronology, or even the possibility of a slightly earlier date if ambiguous evidence from an isolated ceramic shard is admitted as evidence. Nevertheless, even these less-likely scenarios for interpreting the Egyptian chronology contradict the radiocarbon date, which is much earlier.)
(3) "a review of a book that tries to use the Thera explosion to establish a chronology for the Eastern Mediterranean" - written by one of the most prominent Egyptologists there are (Kitchen!) who is well known for defending the conventional Egyptian Chronology, and who is critiquing an important archeologist (Manning!) whose seminal work tries to resolve the problem of Thera's date and its SYNCHRONISMS by moving the Egyptian chronology earlier to agree with the C-14 date.
The links above are the authorative archeological sources. -- 02:17, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
That may be the case, but your insistence upon them does not answer my questions. Do you you want to try again? -- llywrch 00:16, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

By the way, using Egyptian Chronology, the date of the Thera eruption to 1530 BCE is corroborated by the importation of Thera pumice (apparently for industrial use) in Avaris around 1500 BCE. These archeological dates are very strong. The fact that the Egyptian Chronology, itself, contradicts the radiocarbon dating is a big problem. -- 02:45, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

This is the first hint that you've provided me that the eruption of Thera might anchor anything in ancient Egyptian chronology. Are these blocks securely identified as having come from Thera? (if so, cites, please) Have they been placed in a specific dateable layer in the Avaris excavation sites? (if so, cites, please) I'm not disputing your dating of the Thera explosion; I'm just asking for something in Egyptian chronology that this explosion can be tied to -- with a reference so users of Wikipedia can verify this assertion. You appear either not to understand my question -- or prefer to simply ignore it. -- llywrch 00:27, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not going to wade into the middle of the argument, I just want to note that I have fixed up the reference formatting for the online Web links mentions. Captmondo 04:36, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

"Rubber Chronology" explained away[edit]

The "attraction of alternative chronologies" section is very poor. The section seems only very vaguely related to its header. Also, it quotes a professor's statement that the Egyptian Crhonology is a "rubber chronology" but only to disagree with it. That's the first indication of blatant POV. There is then a statement that the chronology has varied little over the last 100 odd years, supported by a comparison that shows each dynasty from 3 to 11 (That's 8 whole dynasties) in periods that do not even overlap in the two chronologies compared! That's another indication of POV. The variation is explained (or possible explained away) after the comparison, but an explanable variation is not the same as no variation. The quote about a "rubber chronology" would indicate that this is about more than just the existence of two chronologies a century apart. If that statement was made, and not refuted, then the section should deal with the situation to which the statement referred.

Instead there is a section header about "alternative" chronologies, a statement about "rubber chronology", and further statements that the chronolgy has varied little. It's all a bit incoherent.LowKey (talk) 02:48, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

The professor didn't say that and he isn't an Egyptologist in any case, but the "the Altmeister of Hittitology". I found out why it's incoherent, it's been chopped and changed over the years. Too often a Wikipedia article is a bit like a 'Chinese letter'. See here, the first edit of Egyptian chronology which says " Reliable absolute dates, astronomical or other, are lacking, as Professor Heinrich Otten had noted. It is a "rubber chronology" that you can stretch or shrink anywhere, by arbitrarily established lengths of co-regencies between rulers and even overlapping dynasties." Here the two sentences are combined, still with no source. Finally at [1] an IP adds a source, but to what exactly? My guess is that the IP just found the book and added it, as there's no indication that the book even mentioned Egyptian chronology. I've removed the section. The article's a mess. Dougweller (talk) 18:35, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

The terms High, Low, Middle Chronologies not mentioned[edit]

I was going to fix a redlink in another article which is currently pointing to a non-existent High Chronology of Egypt page. I was pretty certain that I would find and article on Egyptian chronology with a section on the topic and thus direct that redlink to it. Yet, this is the closest article to which the High, Middle, and Low chronologies would be discussed, but instead mainly discusses the Low chronology ("Conventional") with no mention of the other two, but links to several other chronologies (half of them could be termed "crackpot" ones). Archæologists accept the High and Middle and Low chronologies, but they as a group believe the Low chronology (the Conventional dating) is likely the more accurate, why chronologies by Rohl and (I won't even the "V" name) are generally not accepted within the scientific community.

Is there a reason the High and Middle chronologies are not mentioned in this article, not even mention of the terms? Due weight is for the Conventional/Low chronology, as the article has it, but due weight is also for at least a small section each for the High and Middle chronologies discussing the whys, and whos (ie., who proposed it, who supports it in the research, etc), and when proposed, and on what basis (such as lunar observation alignments, sighting location of sothic cycle, and all that junk).

The High and Middle chronologies should have much more mention in this article than some crackpot chronology made by non-archæologists.

al-Shimoni (talk) 00:11, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

I totally agree, issue raised at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Ancient Egypt. Dougweller (talk) 13:35, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Unless I am seriously mistaken, the terms "high," "middle," and "low" are applied primarily to the chronologies of the Mesopotamian half of the ancient near east. I am personally unfamiliar with a source that makes use of the terms "High Chronology" and "Low Chronology" in the context of Egypt as a whole, probably due to the fact that during the first and second intermediate periods we lose track of the progression of years to such an extent that we can move these periods somewhat independently of each other if the theory requires. Having a high New Kingdom in no way compels us to adapt a high Middle Kingdom, for instance. It's probably best to add treatment of non-dominant but scholarly alternate chronologies into specific paragraphs that plague the creation of a chronology for a certain period of Egypt, instead of conflating all the arguments for a high or low New Kingdom, a high or low Middle Kingdom, or a high or low Old Kingdom into two overarching high and low chronologies in general. Thanatosimii (talk) 22:57, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanatosimii is right, there is no " High Chronology of Egypt", the terms high/long and low/short chronology are duly treated under Chronology of the ancient Near East, an article which is prominently linked from this page. --dab (𒁳) 09:03, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

An absolute chronology for early Egypt using radiocarbon dating and Bayesian statistical modelling[edit]

"The Egyptian state was formed prior to the existence of verifiable historical records. Conventional dates for its formation are based on the relative ordering of artefacts. This approach is no longer considered sufficient for cogent historical analysis. Here, we produce an absolute chronology for Early Egypt by combining radiocarbon and archaeological evidence within a Bayesian paradigm. Our data cover the full trajectory of Egyptian state formation and indicate that the process occurred more rapidly than previously thought. We provide a timeline for the First Dynasty of Egypt of generational-scale resolution that concurs with prevailing archaeological analysis and produce a chronometric date for the foundation of Egypt that distinguishes between historical estimates." [2]

See also [3]. Dougweller (talk) 12:49, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

This is cool, but it only concerns Early Dynastic, so I made mention of it at First Dynasty of Egypt. Also, it's always nice to have radiocarbon dates as a separate leg to stand on, but it doesn't really improve our knowledge, as all they say is "we are pretty sure the accession of Hor-Aha took place at some point between about 3200 and 3000", which is what most Egyptologists whould have said anyway. --dab (𒁳) 09:37, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

removing tags[edit]

I realize this topic has been under heavy attack by a "New Chronology" proponent (iirc by Rohl himself?), but this seems to have subsided now. Needless to say, the "Egyptian chronology" article should primarily be about conventional chronology, plus recent results in radiocarbon dating etc., which all seem to confirm (and in rare cases improve) conventional chronology.

There can be a brief WP:DUE mention of "alternative chronology", but it will be enough to say they found no scholarly support. Rohl's attempt is noteworthy because it was not a crackpot suggestion, it was a scholarly suggestion which simply turned out to be without merit after it was reviewed (i.e. it was certainly deemed worthy of criticism, quite different from the Glasgow stuff which would basically be given undue credit simply by scholars taking the time to debunk it). --dab (𒁳) 10:43, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Chart in overview section[edit]

The chart in the overview section needs to be reworked. The 13th and 15th dynasties have definite if approximate dates, for instance, and the timespans of many of the dynasties overlap. Often about three main "conventional" chronological "schools" are recognized in side-by-side comparisons: say Breasted, Hornung, and J.P. Allen; these should be identified by principal author and date. Although citation may be difficult as no author worked alone or produced a single article of record on chronological theory. Jessegalebaker (talk) 13:14, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

The chart was based on the authorities I had on hand at the time, & its presence was primarily to refute the "rubber chronology" assertion. Yes, the dates provided for events in ancient Egypt do differ, depending on the author &/or the publisher; however, these dates differ in a predictable manner, they tend to group, & someone with access to the specialized literature should be able to reconstruct & verify the reasoning behind those dates. I'll admit that this article is not perfect, but it is better than what was there before my draft was incorporated. -- llywrch (talk) 16:29, 27 April 2016 (UTC)

To do[edit]

I recently re-read E. J. Bickerman's Chronology of the Ancient World (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1968), which offers a simplified account of how modern chronology of the ancient world was established. To offer a simplified account of his simplified account, all ancient chronologies tie into the union of three systems: the list of Roman consuls, Ptolemy's Canon, & the 4-year cycle of the ancient Olympics. There are sufficient synchronicities between these three -- & associated Eras, such as the Era of Diocletian, Athen Archon list, & the later part of the chronology of the Old Testament -- to cover most of ancient history up to about AD 600. All dates to the year in the Western World before AD 600 are either tied to this chronology, or anchored to predictable astronomical phenomena, such as eclipses.

Now it is possible to easily link events in ancient Egypt to this chronology back to about the mid-7th century, which covers the 26th dynasty forward. However, due to lacunae & scribal errors in the primary sources, we cannot date with that much accuracy before that point. Up to the beginning of the Third Intermediate, we can achieve an accuracy of a few years; from there up to the beginning of the New Kingdom, the accuracy is about 10 years; for the Middle Kingdom, the accuracy is about 50 years; beyond the Middle Kingdom, we are doing well to be accurate within 100 years. Even if someone could find an anchor that allowed the experts to date recorded events in the the Old Kingdom to an exact year, the same scribal errors & lacunae in the primary sources would not allow us to offer the exact year recorded events took place. Before one despairs at this situation, consider that ancient Egyptian chronology is precise compared to other ancient peoples, such as the Hittites.

In short, this material -- with the appropriate citations -- needs to be worked into this article. -- llywrch (talk) 16:52, 27 April 2016 (UTC)

New Chronology[edit]

I see today that most new autors give the Ramesses II. reign 1279–1213 BC. And all Egyptians king etc... I have compared from wiki source all faraons 18. dynastii and they relative and absolute regnal years and im confused. How as scientists ever came to such a low data?
For compare -this is original research- its not definitely a can be change, its only for example:

? Sekenenre Tao ?
1555 Kamose 3,4*,5
1551 Ahmose I. 22,25*
1526/46 Amenhotep I. 21,22* his 9 year is 1537 or 1517 by Sothis rise.
1504 Thutmose I. 12*,13,
1492 Thutmose II. 13,3* by corelations numbers of kings skarabeus,
1489/90 Hatčepsovet 22*,21
1467 Thutmose III. 32*,54 - 1490 astronomical begining 54 year reign
1435 Amenhotep II. 23,26*
1409 Thutmose IV. 9,
1400 Amenhotep III. 38
1362 Achnaton 17
1345 Smenchkare 0,5
1345/41 Nefertiti 3 solar eclipse in 3 year:1389,1352,1338*Achetaton,1328
1342 Tutanchamon 9?
1333 Aje 4
1329 Haremheb 4,14*atested,27
1315 Ramesse I. 2
1313 Setchi I. 9*atested,11,12,55
1304 Ramesse II. 66 (1279-1212 by Ian Shaw)
1238 Merenptah 9
1229 Setchi II. 6
As you see there is 25 year gap betwen Ramesse reign. Correct if you count all data from Thutmose 13 no 3, Horemheb 27 no 14, Seti 11 no 9 you get these 25 years, butt there is also astronomical coralation that count as solar eclipse in Nefertiti 3 regnal year and that the Haremheb canot reign 27 years, in his tomb is found vine piece only with maximum 14 years reign. Thutmose II years are known as 13 by Manehto but number of his scarab atestet that hee reign is no more than 5 years. Therefore, all data and time of reign can be debated and aceptet or not. This is only little example. Bynk195.91.73.218 (talk) 18:00, 8 October 2016 (UTC)