1. 1/3 from http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20060130/tut_arc.html
2. 1/3 from http://www.domainofman.com/forum/index.cgi?read=3452
3. 1/3 from “ See attachment #3”.
This is the Discovery Channel:
Feb. 3, 2006 — King Tutankhamun died of an infection set in by a wound in the left knee, according reports in the Italian press which disclose the conclusions of new research on the 3,300-year-old boy pharaoh.
I was reading this stuff the other day, and I know where el-dred was leading to >The story is told that, on hearing of this revolt, and in haste to mount his horse to swiftly finish the journey home, Cambyses II managed to stab himself in the thigh with his own dagger. At that moment, he began to recall an Egyptian prophecy told to him by the priests of Buto in which it was predicted that the king would die in Ecbatana. Cambyses II had thought that the Persian summer capital of Ecbatana had been meant and that he would therefore die in old age. But now he realized that the prophecy had been fulfilled in a very different way here in Syrian Ecbatana.
Still enveloped in his dark and disturbed mood, Cambyses II decided that his fate had been sealed and simply lay down to await his end. The wound soon became gangrenous and the king died in early August of 522 BC. However, it should be noted that other references tell us that Cambyses II had his brother murdered even prior to his expedition to Egypt, but apparently if it was not Bardiya (though there is speculation that Cambyses II's servants perhaps did not kill his brother as ordered), there seems to have definitely been an usurper to the throne, perhaps claiming to be his brother, who we are told was killed secretly.
I was using your chart for when it was what time. So I changed the time but I think I got the age of the many off by 100 years.
My high school teacher gave me the following:
You may not know it, but it is no secret to the experts that modern archaeology is in the hands of secular humanists. A statement issued by a prominent archaeological society spelled it out clearly enough. By mutual agreement, their minds are closed:
6 - RADIOCARBON DATING
THE RADIOCARBON COVER-UP—There are additional important facets of the problem in Egyptian dating that need to be discussed, but for a moment we shall turn our attention to one aspect which, by itself, has become a massive cover-up operation: the C-14 problem. However, we should recognize there is a special reason for the cover-up: As long as ancient Near Eastern chronology is kept out-of-step with Biblical chronology, the scholarly world can be taught that all Biblical history is little better than worthless.
"As prehistory is made continuous with [preceding that of] recorded history, a problem of ancient chronology exerts a crippling effect on both the study of the Old Testament and on ancient history in general. Evidence is accumulating rapidly that Egyptian chronology is off by as much as 500-600 years. Since most scholars calibrate Old Testament events and the history of other ancient cultures by Egyptian dates, the effect is devastating, crippling, and stifling." —Erech von Fange, "Time Upside Down" in Creation Research Society Quarterly, June 1974, p. 26
In the late 1940s, Willard F. Libby developed his radiocarbon dating method. ("Radiocarbon dating," "carbon 14 dating," and "C14 dating" all mean the same thing.) We will not go into detail on how it works. The technique and serious flaws in carbon 14 assumptions and dating were discussed in an earlier chapter (chapter 7, Dating Methods). At any rate, living organisms absorb radiocarbon from the atmosphere. After they die, the carbon disintegrates at what is thought to be a known rate. By measuring the amount remaining in a sample of organic material, such as wood, charcoal, or bone, technicians try to determine how long ago the plant or animal died.
MORE ACCURATE DATING FROM 600 B.C. ONWARD—Because of atmospheric conditions immediately following the Flood, carbon 14 dating, when applied to samples which died closer to the deluge, tends to give inaccurate, lengthened-out date readings which extend too far into the past. But dates from about 600 B.C. on down to A.D. 200 tend to be closer to reality—and far more accurate than radiodating methods (such as uranium or thorium dating). C-14 dates from A.D. 200 on down to the present are generally still more reliable.
Thus, radiocarbon is able to provide us with more accurate dates than uranium, thorium, potassium-argon, etc., for several centuries prior to the birth of Christ. In fact, even carbon 14 dates closer to the Flood are still far more accurate than is radiodating methods.
VELIKOVSKI BEGINS WRITING LETTERS—Upon learning of Libby's new radiocarbon dating method, Velikovsky immediately determined that it needed to be applied to Near Eastern materials—especially in Egypt and Palestine. Velikovsky was no timid soul, and he spent years urging that this be done. In 1953, he sent Libby a copy of his newly-printed, Ages in Chaos, and asked that he perform tests on 18th and 19th dynasty materials. Shortly thereafter, Libby returned the book and said he could not conduct such sample C-14 tests. The reason given: he knew nothing about Egyptology or archaeology! A strange reply indeed; Libby knew little about anatomy or botany, yet he regularly radiodated bones and wood.
In 1963, Libby wrote an article in Science, in which he said that C-14 dates needed to be separated into two broad categories: Egyptian and non-Egyptian dates. The reason for this dichotomy, Libby explained, was that Egyptian chronology was not fully understood, was subject to possible errors—and that radiocarbon dating on many Egyptian materials yielded dates that were too young by as much as 500 years) That was quite an admission.
Such a statement was the result of a ten-year letter-writing campaign by Velikovsky and scientific acquaintances. They wrote museums and C14 laboratories all over Europe and North America, in an effort to obtain radiocarbon datings of material from the New Kingdom dynasties of Egypt.
Velikovsky had done his homework. He had learned what is more generally known today in creationist circles, that catastrophes which greatly affect the atmosphere, such as the Flood, damage the C-14 balance. He felt that, in later centuries, dating of Egyptian articles would yield more accurate results, even though not in the earlier ones just after the Flood.
In Velikovsky's books you wilt find accounts of some of the strange responses he received to those letters. For example, in 1960 Dr. Klaus Borer, Assistant Professor of Egyptology at the University of California, replied that, to his knowledge, no published datings of any objects from the New Kingdom existed, and that they would not be necessary (1) since Egyptian dating had already been confirmed in other ways.
By that time, Velikovsky had good reason to suspect that such tests had already been made, but had produced results that were not wanted: dates which, if published, would have connected Egyptian history with those in the Bible.
A year before, in 1959, Dr. Froelich Rainey of the University of Pennsylvania revealed that its C-14 laboratory had, in fact, dated samples from every period of Egypt's history including the New Kingdom, and concluded his statement by admitting that "there are many serious problems in the C-14 method."
A later 1961 reply to Velikovsky from New York City was revealing. A curatorial assistant in the Department of Egyptian Art of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City mentioned that in 1947 Libby had requested from their department New Kingdom samples. Libby afterward reported back that the samples had been judged to be contaminated. This meant that those samples had been tested and that the results were not as expected.
Then the breakthrough came in 1962. A scientist, Dr. David Baker, who had carefully read Velikovsky's book, Ages In Chaos, went to the C 14 lab at the University of Pennsylvania and had a lengthy visit with two scientists at the laboratory: Dr. Froelich Rainey and Dr. Elizabeth K. Ralph, director of the Radiocarbon Laboratory.
Following the visit he summarized it in a letter which he sent to Velikovsky.
"Mutual friends secured for me a most favorable introduction to Dr. Froelich Rainey, Director of the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Rainey is a vigorous, enthusiastic, obviously very well informed, courteous gentleman in his late middle years. At no time was your name brought up by me or by anyone else at the University. I told Dr. Rainey that I was interested in the latest findings that have bearing on the date of the Exodus. My position as a professor of religion in Ursinus College and a long-time interest in the matter had prompted my quest for information in this area . .
" `The dating of Egyptian history,' said Dr. Rainey, 'is one of the most controversial matters in the whole realm of archaeology today. On the basis of radiocarbon dating we have come up with a vary serious difference of 600 years between the old chronology and the radiocarbon evidence! We do not know how to account for it. It seems to extend throughout Egyptian history, but the earlier dates are off more than more recent ones. Fortunately we have an astronomical fix in the time of Seti I, so we are pretty sure of his date, but before him we are in real trouble. Right now our Museum, the British Museum, and the University of Leiden are working furiously to try to find out the cause of the discrepancy." . .
" `Is it your opinion than,' I asked Dr. Rainey, `that we may expect some vary drastic changes In the dates of early Egyptian history in the next few years?' He replied, `Yes. And not only in Egypt but in the dating of the entire Ancient World, especially the Near East.'
"Dr. Rainey then called Miss Elizabeth K. Ralph who is in charge of the Radiocarbon Laboratory of the University of Pennsylvania. This laboratory is located in marvelous quarters in the basement of the new Physics Building. A special guide took me to Miss Ralph.
"..Miss Ralph is a deeply serious, dedicated scientist, whose whole life is bound up with her work. She received me most kindly, was in no wise hurried in answering my inquiries, and most willingly answered all my questions and gave me access to all the information she had!
"In addition to confirming everything that Dr. Rainey told me, she furnished me a wealth of other information . . Miss Ralph was insistent on the wide gap between the so-called archaeological dates of Egyptian history and those derived from radiocarbon dated materials. In almost every case the radiocarbon dates are significantly younger. Today, they feel they can date to within an accuracy of 25 years in some instances. I found her working on a huge graph on which she had entered every reported item of radiocarbon Egyptian evidence, plotted against the archaeologically determined dates for the same material. This graph shows a very unmistakable trend throughout Egyptian history in the interest of younger dates. She is trying to ascertain what the cause may be." —David Baker letter dated 1963 to I. Velikovsky, in "Letters," Ash Pensee 4(1):14 (1973) [emphasis ours].
In 1964 Velikovsky wrote to Elizabeth Ralph, expressing his view that Tutankhamun ("King Tut") did not live in the 14th—but 9th-century B.C., and that if tomb samples were analyzed by carbon 14, those samples should date to about 840 B.C. A test made in 1971 corroborated his conclusions. In that year, L.E.S. Edwards of the British Museum forwarded the conclusions of two Tutankhamun tests to the University of Pennsylvania C-14 lab. One test dated at 846 B.C. and the other at 899 B.C.
Always prodding people, Velikovsky wrote to the director of the British Museum C-14 laboratory and inquired when those test results would be published, and if not, why not. In reply, the director wrote back that test results which deviate substantially from what is expected are often discarded and never published.
That is science? Throw away the facts which do not fit the theories?
In 1972, G.W. Oosterhout of the Delft University of Technology of the Netherlands wrote the British Museum about those same two test results. He asked for a written statement of some kind in regard to the test and its results. In reply, he received a letter stating that the lab at the British Museum had made no radiocarbon measurements on any material from the tomb of Tutankhamun.
David Baker (quoted above) had been told in 1962 that the major universities and museums of the world were "working furiously to try to find out the cause of the discrepancy," and that "some very drastic changes in the. . dating of the entire Ancient Word, especially the Near East" could be expected shortly.
But that has not happened and it will not happen. To do so would be to admit that Biblical documents are reliable—and this the humanists will never admit. As with everything else, the evolutionists seek to strike from the record all data which is not favorable to their cause.
"If a C-14 date supports our theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. And if it is completely 'out of date,' we just drop it." —Professor Brew, quoted by J.O.D. Johnston, "Problems of Radiocarbon Dating, " in Palestine Exploration Quarterly 105, p. 13 (1973).
MORE ON RADIOCARBON DATING—Frederick Johnson, a coworker with Willard Libby, made this important statement on radiocarbon dating:
"This [radiodating verification by actual historical dates] is not true of geological and archaeological measurements, except in relatively rare instances. Measurements of time in these fields are inferred from processes, the rates of change or progress of which are not consistent and which are, as yet, quite unpredictable. There is no known standard rate for any one of these processes, and measurements of time for one process are invariably relative to rates of progress in other processes." —Frederick Johnson, quoted in H. M. Morris, W. W. Boardman, and R. F. Koontz, Science and Creation (1971), p. 85.
Carbon 14 produced a date of 200 B.C., when archaeological dating theories had fixed it at 600 B.C.
"The book, Gears from the Greeks, about an ancient astronomical device found in an ancient wreck off the Greek Island of Antikithera early in this century, has provided a piece of information [about radiocarbon dating] . . During additional investigation recently, wood from the wreck was dated by radioactive carbon in the usual way. The result was an indicated date of about 220 B.C. But on archaeological grounds, the date of the wreck has been set at about 800 B.C." —News note, Creation Research Society Quarterly, June 1978, p. 87.
Yet we must keep in mind that not even carbon 14 dating is reliable. J.G. Ogden III, director of a radiocarbon dating laboratory, lists reasons why carbon 14 is unreliable. He explains that too many unknown factors stand in the way of successful dating. Then he gives a revealing statement:
"It may come as a shock to some, but fewer than 50 percent of the radiocarbon dates from geological and archaeological samples in northeastern North America have been opted as 'acceptable' by investigators." —*J. Gordon Ogden III, "Use and Abuse of Radiocarbon Dates, " Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 288:187 (1977).
Not even radiocarbon dating is fully reliable. We dare not entrust Near Eastern dating to its conclusions.
"A last difficulty, and at the moment one of the most frustrating, is the failure of the radiocarbon technique to yield dates of certain dependability. Although it was hailed as the answer to the prehistorian's prayer when it was first announced, there has been increasing disillusion with the method because of the chronological uncertainties (in some cases, absurdities) that would follow a strict adherence to published C14 dates. This is not to question the physical laws underlying the principle used, or the accuracy of the counters now in operation around the world; the unsolved problem, instead, seems to lie in the difficulty of securing samples completely free from either older or younger adherent carbon.
"At least to the present, no kind or degree of chemical cleaning can guarantee one-age carbon, typical only of the time of the site from which it was excavated. What bids to become a classic example of C14 irresponsibility is the 6,000-year spread of 11 determinations for Jarmo, a prehistoric village in northeastern Iraq, which, on the basis of all archaeological evidence, was not occupied for more than 500 consecutive years." —*Charles A. Reed, "Animal Domestication in the Prehistoric Near East, " Science, 130:1830 (1959).
8 - ECLIPSE DATING
ASTRONOMICAL DATING—In a previous quotation, mention was made that archaeologists claim that Egyptian dating is based on "astronomical dating." That has an awesome sound. Astronomical measurements are generally considered to be very firm and solid. Who dares resist the fixity of astronomy, and we are told that "astronomical dating" is the basis of Egyptian dating, which in turn is the reference point for all other Near Eastern dating. And since Near Eastern history is the oldest in the world, Egyptian dating becomes very important.
To set the record straight, Egyptian dating is neither an extension of astronomical dating nor is it based on it. Egyptian dating is based on a theory, not on astronomy.
Please understand: there are astronomically fixed Near Eastern dates, but they are not Egyptian dates. Two separate Babylonian cuneiform tablets were written, each one filled with astronomical data covering a whole year. One lists a Babylonian date and the other a Persian.
The first tablet is about the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar, and contains a series of observations from Nisan 1 (which is the Babylonian New Year's Day) of year 37, on through to Nisan 1, year 38. A single astronomical observation could be suspect, and not necessarily reliable for fixing a date, but a combination of records such are found on this tablet, relating to the positions of sun, moon, and planets, all of which move in different cycles, can be located exactly in only one year. Therefore we can know with certainty that Nebuchadnezzar's 37th year was beyond doubt the Babylonian lunar-calendar year extending from April 12, 568 B.C. through April 12, 567 B.C. This places the first official year (that is, the first full year) of Nebuchadnezzar at 604/03 B.C., spring to spring, and similarly fixes all the years of his reign.
The second tablet of astronomical data fixes a year in the reign of Cambyses, a Persian ruler. It fixes the 7th year of Cambyses, in accordance with the Babylonian calendar which they also used, as dating from April 7, 523 to March 26, 522 B.C.
THE EGYPTIAN ECLIPSES—But in the case of Egyptian dating, we have something far different: An eclipse is mentioned, and, due to a lack of corroborative data, it could apply to a number of different dates spanning over a thousand years. The Egyptologists have arbitrarily selected the one they wish to use, and call the result "astronomical dating of the Egyptian calendar."
Unfortunately, in addition, there is the problem of partial eclipses. These are also called "eclipses" by the ancients, and such partial eclipses occur fairly frequently. Were these full or partial eclipses? No one knows. Were they solar or lunar eclipses? The texts frequently do not provide clarity. Even a total or near-total eclipse with sun can occur within a century or less in any given area.
Major eclipses of the moon are even more frequent. Filmer, in his Chronology of the Reign of Herod the Great, notes that three different eclipses of the moon, separated by only four years, cause problems in locating the birth of Christ.
Ptolemy, an Egyptian historian provided a series of eclipses, which have been dated to 791 to 491 B.C. But recent re-analysis reveals that Ptolemy did some hedging in some of the related data he provided. If he did that, how can we rely on his eclipse dates? The eclipse date assigned to the 10th year of Assur Dan III, king of Assyria, can be applied either to 763 B.C. or to a lesser eclipse in 791 B.C. We do not have here the certainties of planetary motions, but the vagueries of observations of events which keep repeating themselves.
Prior to the 8th century B.C., we have no clear-cut event which can be corrolated with a calculated eclipse. Yes, there are possibilities, but none are more than speculative theories. A key problem is often the vague wording of the ancient text in describing something that might or might not be an eclipse.
Eclipse data cannot provide confirmation of a possible date unless (1) a definite eclipse is mentioned, and (2) enough information is given to fix that eclipse, so that it can only apply to that one date. Ideally, this additional information should be further astronomical data fixing that same calendar year.
With Egyptian dating, as with everything else, one cannot arrive at definite conclusions when he uses uncertain factors as the basis of the proof.
7 - THE SOTHIC CYCLE
Egyptian dating is keyed both to the king list of Manetho and to the sothic cycle. This entire chapter on Egyptian dating should have begun—instead of ended—with the sothic cycle. But it has been saved for the last. If you find it is too deep for comfort, just skip this section. You have already read the most important conclusions.
"The currently-accepted absolute chronologies of the Near Eastern civilizations in the second and third millennia B.C. rely ultimately upon the Sothic dating method. Egyptian chronology stands alone as being 'independently derived,' and the other contemporary civilizations are dated by cross-reference to it. Powerful arguments against the validity of the Sothic dating method have been presented by Courville and Velikovsky." —David J. Tyler, "Radiocarbon Calibration: Revised," in Creation Research Society Quarterly, June 1978, p. 20.
Mark it well: "Egyptian chronology stands alone as being `Independently derived,' and the other contemporary civilizations are dated by cross-reference to it." Egyptian chronology has been made the touchstone of all other dating, yet it is proudly declared to be "independently derived," that is, this dating system is totally based on the Manetho/sothic theory, and not on anything else! This peculiar theory, full of holes as experts have shown it to be, ranks in the same category with stratigraphic dating—the 19th century theory which also stands "in glorious isolation," judging all evidence and being judged by none of it, declaring that certain million-fold year dates have been arbitrarily assigned to all the sedimentary strata and their fossils, because of certain undatable marine creatures ("index fossils") found in them!
7 - SOTHIC CYCLE
THE SOTHIC CALENDAR—The "astronomically fixed" Egyptian dates are not tied to astronomy, but to a theory about the sothic cycle. To call those dates "astronomically fixed" is deceptive. Astronomical data are made use of, but they are used in a way dictated by a theory, not by the motions of heavenly bodies.
What is this "sothic cycle"?
It is thought by some that a certain calendar was used in ancient Egypt. This calendar is conjectured to have been composed of 12 months of 360 days, with 5 additional days added at the end to bring it to 365. Since the solar year is closer to 365.25 days in length, we today add an extra day every fourth year (February 29, making it a "leap year'. Without that extra day every fourth year, the calendar would wander backward through the seasons at the rate of one day every four years. New Year's Day would return to the original position after 365 x 4, or 1,460 years. This conjectured 1,460 years is the sothic period, or sothic cycle, also called the sothic year.
If such a calendar actually was used in Egypt, and if it was used for at least one full cycle of 1,460 years, then it would be possible to date backward through it from later known dates to earlier ones. Two "ifs," but there are actually six in all.
THE SIX IF'S—As with eclipse dating, certain requirements must be met to use the sothic calendar as a dating tool:
1. It must be clearly established that, as far as Egypt was concerned, such a calendar was ever actually used. We have no certainty of that; in fact, since our only evidence for it is one statement in one ancient text, it is only a faint possibility.
2. We must have definite evidence that it was used throughout a 1,460-year cycle. Such information is also lacking.
3. The beginning date of the 1,460 sothlc cycle must be known with certainty. We do not know that.
4. It is not clearly known that the extra 5 days were invariably a part of the Egyptian calendar. Without that feature, the Egyptian calendar would not be a 365-day calendar. The earliest scholars assumed this to be so, and later Egyptologists followed on in their assumption. But assumptions are not facts.
5. It is known that at least one other type of Egyptian calendar was In use at the same time as this proposed sothic calendar, therefore each date reference in an Egyptian text or on an Egyptian monument should explain which calendar is referred to.
6. The dates based on this theoretical sothic year should be relatively free of internal inconsistencies and external conflicts.
If one or more of those six points is in doubt, then we cannot say that the sothic calendar is fixed or even dependable. For example, if you did not know when the year began, how could you date events today? You would have a sliding calendar; any day of the year could be called March 15. Likewise, if you do not have certainty about item 3, above, you cannot date backward through a 1,460-year sothic calendar.
In reality, we have here the same problem of faulty theories piled on theories in support of "fixed Egyptian dating," that we find all through evolutionary theory in regard to stellar origins, primitive environment, beginnings and development of life-forms, fossil-dating theories, "man/ape" bones, mutational "improvements" and all the rest. It is all a house of cards, and the slightest touch of serious investigation knocks it over.
Interestingly enough, ancient Egyptians had no word for "calendar;" they gave dates and let it go at that. We believe that their year wandered through our 365.25-day calendar, but the speed of wandering is not known, and that is crucial.
THE RISING UP SOTHIS—"The rising of Sothis" is mentioned one time in Egyptian literature. It may have been an event that wandered through their vague calendar along with their New Year's Day, or it may have been a one-time event. But what does "rising of Sothis" mean? It is thought that "Sothis" was the bright star Sirius, and early Egyptologists decided that it may have referred to when the star Sirius arose each year at the same time as the sun on the wandering New Year's day. This concern over Sothis is due to an effort to fix the beginning of the 1,460-year Sothic cycle. It is conjectured that at the beginning of the cycle, Sothis (Sirius) arose at the same time as the sun on New Year's Day. But is "Sothis" the star Sirius? No one can really know. The Egyptian texts just do not tell us. That is simply another conjecture!
SIX PROBLEMS WITH THE RISING—There are difficult problems with the "sothic cycle" theory:
(1) Sirius could not be seen if it arose at the same time as the sun. It would have to arise a minimum of 9 degrees or 36 minutes of time earlier than the sun to be seen. With the discovery of that fact alone, the major part of the theory falls through the floor.
(2) In 1851, R.S. Poole, an astronomer, calculated the viewing positions of Sirius from the latitude of Thebes and Memphis on the "fixed beginning" of the 1,460 sothic cycle—which is supposed to be 1320 B.C. He found that Sirius would have been, not 16 minutes high, as the sun rose on that New Year's Day, but 1 hour, 16 minutes high at Thebes and a little over 1 hour further north at Memphis. Using Poole's data, the astronomer MacNaughton concluded that Sothis could not be Sirius. Instead, he suggested the less-bright star, Spica. But most Egyptologists were not interested; they already had a comfortable theory to explain all dating mysteries.
(3) The accepted sothic cycle went from 1320 B.C. to 141 A.D. Knowledgeable astronomers and Egyptologists have suggested a variety of alternate explanations; which one are we to accept? Lockyer, a modern astronomer, said the cycle began 4 centuries earlier than 1320 B.C. Theon, an earlier astronomer, proposed 26 B.C. as its terminal date. Ingham suggested 1312 B.C. to 141 A.D. (a cycle eight years shorter).
(4) Disgusted with the futility of theories piled on theories, a number of Egyptologists have rejected the sothic cycle outright.
(5) Adding to the hazards of trying to locate the initial date is the problem that the ancients did not know the proper solar length. They thought it was 365 days, whereas it is closer to 365.25. In fact, it is really 365.2422. A true solar year would change the calculation from 1,460 to 1,507 years. But here is the mathematical catch: should an extra 46 years be added to the end of the ancient cycle, or should the beginning be started 47 years later?
(6) The usually-accepted cycles would begin in 1320, 2780, and 4240 B.C. A century ago it was thought that the first sothic cycle began in 4240 or 4241 B.C., and that the first dynasty of Egypt began in the 6th or 7th millennium B.C. But carbon 14 dating has shrunk that starting date down to somewhere in 3300-3000 B.C. Scharff shortly thereafter reduced the first dynasty to c. 2850 B.C. But, if that should be accepted as the dating standard,—then the sothic cycle did not begin at the beginning of a sothic cycle! Was the scheme introduced within the cycle that should have begun in 2780 B.C., or could it have been within the cycle which ought to have begun in 1320 B.C.? A number of scholars have accepted this possibility. But such a conclusion would make the whole system even more ridiculous.
Oddly enough, the scholarly name for the remarkably uncertain and little understood Egyptian year has, for over a century, been annus vague, which is Latin for "vague year." Modern archaeologists base all Near Eastern dating on what they themselves call the "vague year" (the vague calendar system) of Egypt) That nebulous calendar, with almost nothing known about it, is made the standard by which all other Near Eastern dates are measured and assigned) Why? The answer is simple enough: The theory that the humanists have piled up around the 12th dynasty "rising of sothis" statement and the 3rd century Manetho king list—provides them with a stretched-out dating system; the only one in all the Near East which, if accepted, could annihilate Biblical dates and events.
With such an objective as the grand prize, they are willing to call dates "astronomically fixed," and prevaricate regarding the extensive radiocarbon tests they have applied to Egyptian samples. We can be certain that, if they could have obtained a few test samples which corroborated their Manetho/sothis theory, they would have published the news with trumpeting. But, lacking the discovery of such evidence, they have instead said that such testing is not needed and has therefore not been made.
In his book, Bickerman provides an excellent one-paragraph summary of all that is really known about that ancient Egyptian calendar:
"All conjectures about the date of the introduction of the annus vague are premature. We can only state that there is evidence of the use of a variable year from the V dynasty on, that [in Egypt] the rising of Sirius was observed as early as 1900, and that the celebration of this event was, from the Middle Kingdom, a change date in the civil year." —E.J. Bickerman, Chronology of the Ancient World (1968), p. 42.
Where in those facts does a 365-day calendar fit in? It doesn't. We have no data that the Egyptians actually did use a 365-day calendar; we only think they may have done so. We do not know that they had a "sothic cycle" or that Sirius had anything to do with it. The single mention of a "sothic rising" in the 12th dynasty, dated to the 16th day of the 8th month, is no key to anything.
THE THREE SEASONS—When was the Egyptian "New Year's Day"? When did their yearly cycle begin? No one knows! The fact is that no consistent Egyptian calendar existed. We have thousands of Egyptian engraved inscriptions, but not one calendar is on them. The Egyptians ought to have left us large numbers of calendar inscriptions, if they had a definite calendar. Hundreds of thousands of papyrus writings have been found. Large numbers of these papers were stuffed inside their animal gods when they were buried by their Egyptian worshipers. Journal accounts, love letters, current news reports, business memos—all kinds of things; but no calendars.
Why not? Probably because they only had a simplistic calendar, and not the "elaborate sothic system" the archaeologists attribute to them.
Where in the three seasons did the Egyptian yearly calendar begin? Scholars recognize that there were three parts to the Egyptian year, the Summer or hot season, the Season of Waters, or Nile flood time, and the Winter Season or season of growing crops. It has been suggested that the "rising of Sothis" may have had something to do with the yearly rising of the Nile waters. But that would only add to the problem, for who can know the exact day on which the Nile waters arose each year? (Apparently the event generally occurred sometime during the second week in August, but the exact time varied.) Still other scholars thought that the Egyptian year would begin with the Winter Season. There is also the possibility that it began during the winter solstice.
It is significant that the flooding of the Nile was the one yearly event upon which the lives of the Egyptians depended, and it always began in late summer. Yet if the yearly calendar began with that event, then it would NOT be a wandering calendar) And if it was not a wandering calendar, then the whole theory of a "sothic cycle" of 1,460 years would be worthless.
THE SECOND CALENDAR—A second calendar used by government officials was also known to exist. It was a lunar calendar of alternating months of 29 and 30 days, which apparently was used from c. 1900 B.C. down to about 235 B.C. This calendar was used for religious gatherings, and somewhat for daily life. But the beginning and termination of each year is not known, and such a calendar would in no way match a solar calendar of 365 days.
CONCLUSION—The Egyptian so-called "astronomical calendar" is used as the referrent dating standard for all other events worldwide. How did archaeologists decide what it was?
First, Manetho: Manetho's king list is accepted as completely truthful, totally accurate, and entirely sequential with no doubling of kingly reigns. We have already considered a variety of reasons why Manetho and his list cannot be trusted.
Second, eclipse: an eclipse that could apply to a number of different dates is arbitrarily assigned to one. Along with it, several others are used also. Most or all may have referred to frequently-occurring partial eclipses. This forms the basis for the so-called "astronomically-fixed Egyptian calendar." An indefinite eclipse is used to make it all "astronomical." We earlier discussed the flaws in such thinking.
Third, Sothis: a single strange passage in a letter—which even the Egyptologists cannot figure out—is used as the basis for an elaborate framework of speculation, the outcome of which they call the "sothic calendar." (Egyptologists cannot figure it out, because they have not one other inscription or ancient text which refers to the "rising of Sothis" and could explain this single, mysterious passage.) Here is what that single ancient text says:
"You ought to know that the rising of Sothis takes place on the 16th of the 8th month. Announce it to the priests of the town of Sekhem Usertasen and of Anubis on the mountain and of Suchos . . and have this letter filed in the temple records." —Part of a papyrus inscription found at Kahun, Egypt, and addressed to the priest Papihotep, quoted in Duncan MacNaughton, Scheme of Egyptian Chronology (1932), p. 146
You have just read the keystone in the so-called "sothic cycle calendar" of the Egyptians. What did we learn from that ancient Egyptian text? Next to nothing.
But, specifically, what DID we learn? (1) The "rising of Sothis" would be on the 16th day of the 8th month. That year or every year? we are not told—and that omission is a glaring fact. Is the "rising of Sothis" supposed to refer to a local or national holiday, midway point in the year, end of the year; what?
(2) Did it only apply to just those three towns? We are not told. If it applied to all Egypt, why were only the priests at three insignificant towns to be told about it? If it applied to all Egypt, it would have been worded, "publish it in all the cities and towns, tell all the priests about it, and file it in all the temples!
(3) If it applied to a nation-wide calendar which continued on as is, or with adjustments, year after year—many copies of it would have been stored in temples all over the land and recovered by archaeologists. If the Egyptian calendar wandered from year to year and if the "rising of Sothis" continually applied to every year in a 1,460 year cycle (rather than a local event dealing with just one year),—then newly revised copies of the "rising of Sothis" date would be issued every year for a thousand years or more! Multiplied thousands of copies of the yearly-revised "rising of Sothis" text sheet would be found. You think not? Of course it would, for it is said to have been the key date governing the beginning of each year's calendar; each year, every year—for over a thousand years!
(4) What was "Sothis"? No one knows. How can anybody know from one text statement. It could be the sun, the moon, a planet, a star, a constellation, the Pleiades, etc. It could relate to the Nile, or one of the (literally) thousands of Egyptian gods (crocodile gods, hawk gods, snake gods, beetle gods, fish gods, etc.)
(5) What does the word "rising" mean? Rising over the horizon, rising to full height overhead (zenith), initial rise of the river, rise to its fullest height, a lifting up of an Egyptian god for a ceremonial procession, the date when Pharoah would come through those three towns in a grand lifted-up procession, carried by servants in his palanquin?
There are thousands of possibilities. We simply do not know what that single text, speaking about a "rising of Sothis" means. Anyone who says he does know is only fooling himself and anyone else who chooses to believe him.
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.