Radiocarbon dating of papyrus

From a French laboratory, where a control piece of the same find was sent, no answer was forthcoming, and the circumstances of the find gave no assurance—had either laboratory succeeded in obtaining a result—that the piece of wood from Ras Shamra really dated from the reign of Merneptah in Egypt.

radiocarbon dating of papyrus-70

This method was as if created to sit in judgment in the litigation between the accepted and revised time tables.

In Ages in Chaos we have seen that, with the fall of the Middle Kingdom and the Exodus synchronized, events in the histories of the peoples of the ancient world coincide all along the centuries.

I have even employed the argument, for instance at my coming to see Dr.

William Hayes, the late Director of the Egyptological Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Let the test be made in order to disprove me.

This made quite a few Egyptologists express their disbelief in the carbon method and the physicists even bolder in assuming that the Egyptologists were victims of some undefined systematic error.

The perplexing Egyptian dates were discussed at the conference of the workers in radiocarbon that took place in Cambridge July 1962, and two laboratories, of Groeningen in Holland and of the University of Pennsylvania, were entrusted with the task of clarifying the issue.Pfeiffer, Director of the Semitic Museum of Harvard University in an effort to obtain some organic relics from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but to no avail.Even Albert Einstein’s plea, relayed to the Museum by his secretary upon his death, to have my work of reconstruction of ancient history tested by radiocarbon, went unheeded. There has been so far as I am aware no radiocarbon dating of objects from the New Kingdom.The usual argument explaining the refusal of cooperation was the assertion that the Egyptian chronology of the New Kingdom is known to such exactness that no carbon tests are needed; moreover the tests were claimed to have a margin of error far greater than the incertitude of the historians as to New Kingdom dates. I do not think that such a test, given the necessary measure of tolerance which must be allowed, is likely at the moment to give a chronology for the New Kingdom which is any more certain than a chronology deduced by historical methods.Since the chronology of ancient Egypt is quite closely fixed by the astronomical evidence from the Eleventh Dynasty onward, in part, to the nearest year, radiocarbon, with its substantial margin of error, could hardly add anything to our knowledge of the chronology of the New Kingdom. It almost looked as if there were a concerted opposition to the submission of any object dating from the New Kingdom to a radiocarbon test.My efforts, spread over ten years and more, were directed to many museums and places of learning, but they were all in vain.

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