New work sets timeline for the first pharaohs

Sep 04, 2013
An Egyptian man rides a horse past one of the three Giza pyramids, south of Cairo, on December 22, 2012. Archaeologists drawing on a wide range of tools said on Wednesday they had pinpointed the crucial time in world history when Egypt emerged as a distinct state.

Archaeologists drawing on a wide range of tools said on Wednesday they had pinpointed the crucial time in world history when Egypt emerged as a distinct state.

Experts have wrangled for decades as to when turbulent upper and lower Egypt were brought together under a stable, single ruler for the first time.

Conventional estimates, based on the evolving styles of ceramics found in human burials, vary hugely, from 3400 to 2900 BC.

A team led by Oxford University's Michael Dee, reporting in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A, widen the methods used for estimating the date.

They took from more than 100 samples of hair, bones and plants found at and held in today.

The archaeological and radiocarbon evidence were then knitted together in a .

It calculates the accession of King Aha—the first of eight dynastic rulers in early Egypt—as taking place between 3111 and 3045, with a probability of 68 percent.

This period was a critical one in world history, marking the emergence of a durable civilisation in the .

It occurred when people began to settle permanently on the banks of the Nile and started to grow crops, providing a surplus that spurred trade.

"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 ," said Dee.

"This new study provides new radiocarbon-dating that resets the chronology of the first dynastic rulers of Ancient Egypt, and suggests that Egypt formed far more rapidly than was previously thought."

Aha and his seven successors ruled over a territory spanning a similar area to Egypt today, with formal borders at Aswan in the south, the Mediterranean Sea in the north and the modern-day Gaza Strip in the east, according to the study.

Explore further: More than two dozen articles provide insights on mummies

More information: An absolute chronology for early Egypt using radiocarbon dating and bayesian statistical modelling, rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/lookup/doi/10.1098/rspa.2013.0395

Related Stories

Egypt says Ethiopia dam mustn't reduce Nile's flow

Jun 03, 2013

President Mohamed Morsi Monday warned that Egypt would not allow its share of the Nile to be diminished by "one drop" after Ethiopia began diverting the Blue Nile as part of a giant dam project.

UAE: Egypt-based computer hackers foiled

Jul 22, 2013

(AP)—Officials in the United Arab Emirates say they have thwarted an attempt by Egypt-based hackers to bring down UAE government websites in apparent retaliation for backing the forces that ousted Islamist President Mohammed ...

Recommended for you

More than two dozen articles provide insights on mummies

7 hours ago

In a special issue, The Anatomical Record ventures into the world of human mummified remains. In 26 articles, the anatomy of mummies is exquisitely detailed through cutting edge examination, while they are put in historical, archeo ...

The Bronze Age Egtved Girl was not from Denmark

May 21, 2015

The Bronze Age Egtved Girl came from far away, as revealed by strontium isotope analyses of the girl's teeth. The analyses show that she was born and raised outside Denmark's current borders, and strontium ...

Oldest-known stone tools pre-date Homo

May 20, 2015

Scientists working in the desert badlands of northwestern Kenya have found stone tools dating back 3.3 million years, long before the advent of modern humans, and by far the oldest such artifacts yet discovered. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.