Ancient history news

Amarna Chronology

The big news this week is that it has now been established there was a co-regency between Amenophis III and Akhenaten. This lasted around 10 years - see or go to The evidence comes from a tomb in Luxor, inscribed with cartouches of both pharaohs.

New Egyptian dynasty - yes or no?

At ... the lost pharaoh of dynasty 16 (update). It seems there was an independent dynasty at Abydos contemporary with the Hyksos, and the 17th dynasty, located in the south, at Thebes. Some 16 royal tombs of the Abydos dynasty have been found - adjacent to earlier MK tombs (dynasty 12 and 13). A cedar beam from the tomb of Sobekhotep O was reused in the new found tomb - so postdates early dynasty 13. However, controversy rules.

Sodom and Gomorrah chronology

In a talk at the 1991 SIS AGM meeting in London (at the Library Association) one of the speakers, Bernard Newgrosh, likened the Sodom and Gomorrah event to the Exodus event, and the destruction of Jericho. Although he visualised the Sodom event as earlier than Exodus he attributed it to a Venus cometary encounter (like Exodus in the Velikovsky hypothesis).

The 'raash' of Uzziah

In the very first SIS Workshop Martin Sieff had an article on the raash of Uzziah as it was described by Velikovsky in one of his books. In the King James translation of the Bible it is given as an 'earthquake' and this appears to be the general mainstream view of historians. Nothing of great moment. In Jeremiah 10:22 it is, instead, rendered as 'a great commotion out of the north' which appears to be something quite different to an earthquake. In Zechariah 14:5 it was remembered how people 'fled from before the raash in the days of Uzziah ...'.

Noah's Ark (Utnapishtim)

William Thompson has provided two links for this story from the British Museum - and ... which promotes a book by Irving Finkel, 'The Ark before Noah' Hodder and Stoughton:2014. Finkel is a curator in charge of cuneiform clay tablets at the British Museum. He claims to have decoded, or translated, one of the tablets and came up with a new theory, the ark was round.

Two Books - chronology and meteors

Steven Collins, Let My People Go, TSU Press (2012) ISBN 9780615687940 .... who was the pharaoh of the Exodus? No one knows of course but the author, a Biblical orientated archaeologist, claims he can shine some light on the issue. He looks at an interesting segment of ancient history, the period from Thutmose IV to Amarna, and thereby takes into account not just the Egyptians and the Levant (during the LB Age) but Hatti, Mitanni, and Assyria.

Glaciology is a slippery science

At ... and he begins, 'Glaciology is a slippery science ...' and we might all say aye to that. He then quotes Wikipedia extensively on a number of subjects - and you've guessed it, he finds contradictions. He adds to that, 'glaciology stinks ...'

The Greek dark age and the end of the LB age.

At ... this concerns what caused the abrupt end of the thriving civilisations of the LB age which were followed by a period of contraction in which it is likely there were extremely reduced numbers of people. This particular study, published in PLoS ONE, concentrates on the archaeology of Cyprus.

Comets in the Past

At ... this is about past observations of comets. For some reason the journalist that wrote the piece said, 'first observations' of comets were in the 3rd millennium BC - when he should have said written records of comets are known from as early as the 3rd millennium BC. People obviously observed comets from the year yonk - and even before that. A lot is made of the fact that comets were regarded as harbingers of disaster and bad omens but Aristotle, 384-322BC, wasn't so impressed, saying they were emanations of the atmosphere.

Birth of the Sahara

This should actually be, 'the birth of the modern Sahara' as apparently the desert has come and gone on a number of occasions. At ... more clues to the episode separating the Pre Dynastic from the Old Kingdom periods in Egypt. In an analysis of a sediment core off Aden Peter de Menocal and Jessica Tierney found that the Sahara dried out in as a little as a hundred years - 5000 years ago. Trees and savannah grassland were part of the Sahara landscape prior to 3000BC - but at that point the climate changed abruptly.