Chronology & Catastrophism REVIEW2003 Click here for cost
‘Ages Still in Chaos: Progress in revising ancient history since 1952
andpossible ways forward’. (TheProceedings of the 2002 residential SIS
Conference at The Royal National Hotel, London, 14th and 15th September 2002.
Introduction – Ages in Chaos?, by Trevor Palmer
Conventional Chronology – The chronology of the ancient world currently accepted in most academic circles is based largely on the chronology of ancient Egypt. However, this was not passed down to us intact through the centuries. Instead, it was re-assembled in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from the fragmentary information available. Those remants of ancient Egypt which survive, magnificent though some are, give us only a glimpse of what has been. As the eminent Egyptologist, Sir Alan Gardiner, wrote in 1961, ‘What is proudly advertised as Egyptian history is merely a collection of rags and tatters’ . ………… The ‘Revised Chronology’ of Velikovsky ……….. Courville and Dayton…………… The ‘Glasgow Chronology’, the ‘New Chronology’ of Rohl and the ‘Centuries of Darkness’ chronology of James ……………. Rees and others ……….. Illig and Fomenko ……………
Scientific Dating Problems – The Radiometric Dating of Earth’s Rocks, by David Salkeld
The paper outlines the development of radiometric dating of rocks, assumptions which underlie the technique, and some inherent problems. It describes and discusses the phenomena of so-called ‘parentless polonium’ identified by Dr. R. V. Gentry and proposes unconventional but comprehensive explanations for them based on terrestrial lightning. It concludes that radiometric dating is fundamentally flawed and that many of Earth’s rocks may be much younger than generally supposed.
Evidence for Shortening Egyptian History, by Robert M. Porter
I shall talk about the Third Intermediate Period (TIP), mainly the earlier half, and particularly about recent excavations at Tanis which have turned up an enormous elliptical pit which is a major problem for the Orthodox Chronology. I shall use the abbreviations ‘OC’ for the Old or Orthodox Chronology and ‘NC’ for the New Chronology ………………..The TIP spans about 400 years on the OC, from the end of the New Kingdom to the start of Dynasty XXVI with Psamtek in 664 BC. I would shorten this period to c. 130 years by shortening Dynasty XXII and overlapping it slightly with the end of Dynasty XX, with almost all of Dynasty XXI and partly with Dynasty XXV. Multiple dynasties are certainly not impossible because the OC already accepts simultaneous rule by Dynasties XXII, XXIII, XXIV and XXV at c. 720 BC (four dynasties simultaneously!) …………….
Ages Still in Chaos: Defending the Indefensible, by J. Eric Aitchison
Mainstream scholars appear to be ignoring the revisionist debate because [they] believe their chronology is without serious fault; some fine-tuning might be necessary here and there but basically it is sound. Rarely do we see any reaction to a challenging paper from C&CR or JACF. At this conference we are justified in asking whether they were correct to reject Velikovsky’s Ages in Chaos . ………………….
A Testing Time, by David Rohl
David Rohl discussed some of the criticisms of two areas of the New Chronology raised by Dr. John Bimson: The period when Jericho was destroyed in the Middle Bronze Age and whether Dynasty XX can be compressed sufficiently to have Samaria and Iron Age I pottery co-existing with Omri and Ahab. He discussed whether the A Test of Time chronology, with Shishak = Ramesses II, or the Centuries of Darkness chronology, with Shishak = Ramesses III, is nearer the mark. The Centuries of Darkness chronology is one hundred years less of a revision, so it’s easier to fit in all the dynasties and accommodate the 20th Dynasty and the 21st and 22nd Dynasties. Interestingly, both models have Shoshenq I … around 820 BC. David showed a diagram of the different strata or major divisions of strata within the ancient world, from the Neolithic to the Hellenistic. The major differences are very slight in this broad scheme, but the New Chronology places Joseph towards the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age (MB IIA), whereas in the conventional [chronology] he is at the end (MB IIC); Joshua is towards the end of the Middle Bronze Age (MB IIB) in the New Chronology, but at the end of the Late Bronze Age (LB IIB) in the conventional; Solomon is towards the end of the Late Bronze Age (LB IIB) in the New Chronology, but in the Iron Age (IA IIA) in the conventional. The question of Jericho’s position on the archaeological time-line has been asked by SIS people and also Velikovsky. Can the dates for the Exodus and Moses be calculated from the biblical material? …………………………………………….. [Editorial report]
The Lion Gate at Mycenae Revisited, by Professor Lewis M. Greenberg
For more than a century, the academic community – by and large – has accepted the putative dates for the monuments of pre-Hellenistic Mycenaean Greece which were first established via synchronisms with Dynastic Egypt. Despite challenges to the chronological reliability of the latter, the current schema of Egyptian history remains the primary standard for assigning dates to pre-Classical civilisations. The present paper, which focuses on the most notable work of Mycenaen art – the Lion Gate, re-examines both the basis and sources of its chronological placement and artistic achievement. In the process, the role of Egypt is seriously questioned and tested.
Ramesses II and Greek Archaic Sculpture, Professor Lewis M. Greenberg
The current, generally accepted dates for the reign of Ramesses II are 1279-1213 BC . Velikovsky, in Ramses II and His Time, presented an extensive case for repositioning Ramesses II primarily in the late 7th and early 6th centuries BC with a solitary regnal period of some 30 years (c. 610-580 BC) . Any attestation of additional regnal years was postulated to reflect a co-regency with Seti the Great and Merenptah . Thus, Ramesses II might have actually reigned from c. 630-570 BC according to Velikovsky’s chronological scheme . The dramatic downdating for the time of Ramesses II, first proposed by Velikovsky, has been greeted with a highly mixed response, ranging from outright acceptance to downright rejection. This is not the place, however, to enter into that debate . Instead, what is offered here is a kind of ‘litmus’ test’. Since the dates for Ramesses II put forth by Velikovsky coincide with the early Archaic period of Greek art, it is of intellectual interest – at the least – to see what transpires when we compare various examples of Ramesside art with Greek Archaic sculpture. ……………..
Climatology and Agronomy, by Charles Ginenthal
…….. According to conventional chronology, the so-called Sumerian civilisation, located in the southern Mesopotamian desert plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (present-day southern Iraq), was established around 2900 BC. There it reigned for almost a millennium and then was ruled in turn by the Akkadians and Babylonians, paying tribute to its conquerors. Prior to its rise it apparently had a rich prehistory during the Ubaid period that covered the fourth millennium BC.The cities in that southern area are believed to have been well-populated for almost 3,000 years; they were highly productive in agricultural crops and supported large herds of sheep whose wool brought wealth to the region. In terms of the revisionist historians Heinsohn, Rose and Sweeney, this great length of continuous civilisation in southern Mesopotamia is clearly not possible. To analyse this chronological question we must turn our attention to agronomy and climatology as these relate to agriculture. In this way, science can be employed to determine whether or not the so-called oldest civilisation of southern Mesopotamia could have maintained its great cities and large populations by agriculture and pasturage for about 3,000 years ……………
Finding the Limits of Chronological Revision, by John J. Bimson
At the start of my paper to the SIS ‘Silver Jubilee’ conference , I referred to the fact that there is now ‘a whole supermarket shelf of revised chronologies on offer’ – a situation amply illustrated by John Crowe’s paper at the same event . Anyone who surfs the net for long enough will find further confirmation. It seems that new models are constantly being generated by enthusiasts who try to mix and match bits from Velikovsky, Courville, Rohl and others. In my more cynical moments I think it would be fun to offer my services as a freelance New Chronologist, producing bespoke chronologies to suit everyone’s needs! Unfortunately this could not be done with integrity, because some brute facts would get in the way, which brings me to my present topic: the facts that set limits to chronological revision. However, I do not propose to discuss various models in turn and test them against these facts; that would be too big an enterprise. Instead, I want to tell the story of why some of us who were initially impressed by Velikovsky’s chronology, eventually abandoned it, created the Glasgow Chronology, then abandoned the Glasgow Chronology in favour of something less drastic than either. The story falls into 3 parts. ………….
Velikovsky, Glasgow and Heinsohn Combined, by Emmet J. Sweeney
The purpose of the present paper is to show how the evidence of stratigraphy, together with various types of evidence, demonstrates ………… that at least two thousand years need to be removed from the ancient history of the Near East. ……………… Ages in Chaos Vol. I was initially greeted with much enthusiasm in the ‘Velikovskian’ movement but the celebration was short-lived. By the 1970s it became apparent that Velikovsky wished to separate the end of the 18th Dynasty from the beginning of the 19th by almost 200 years and his Ramses II and His Time (1978) argued for placing the great pharaoh of the19th Dynasty in the first half of the 6th century BC. It was then that the first serious dissension broke out …………… An entirely new light was cast on this problem with the appearance of Gunnar Heinsohn’s work in the 1980s. Heinsohn was not initially concerned so much with Egypt as with Mesopotamia and sought to reconstruct chronology of that region using strictly stratigraphic data. …………..
AD Ages in Chaos: A Russian Point of View, by Dr. Eugen Gabowitsch
It is impossible to give a full survey of Russian historical and critical research done over the last hundred years, so I shall just give you some general ideas of this Russian way of thinking ……………. In Karlsruhe in Germany, where I live, we have regular ‘Historical Salon’ meetings discussing chronology and historical research ………………….some people cannot distinguish between ‘history’ and ‘past’. It is important to understand that we are speaking about and giving critical analysis not of the past but of history, the written records of the past. Many people think that if they speak about history, they are speaking about a real past. This is not correct: they speak only about what they can read in books, not about the real past of mankind. ……….. A very important point of the Russian way of thinking is ‘History starts today’………………… Therefore, we are trying not to begin our historical description somewhere BC; we are trying to start today and move back slowly and explain each step of dating. ………………..
Implications for Chronology if Certain ‘Historical’ Characters are Mythological, by Ev Cochrane
Despite the fact that the 21st century is well under way, hardly a year goes by without some US senator introducing a bill to teach the Genesis version of life-history in the nation’s public schools – as if Moses’ version is every bit as valid as Darwin’s. …………………….Is it too much to hope that, one day, grown ups can actually accept the fact that Genesis was compiled nearly 3,000 years ago for a largely illiterate audience of goat-herders and thus does not represent the ideal standard by which to measure savvy in the natural sciences? ……………………………………. One of the more important problems facing students of myth is defining its relationship with history. How are we to distinguish between historical events and mythical events transmitted as sacred history? ……………..
Saint Cuthbert, by Gunnar Heinsohn
Bede – so we believe – was born in Northumberland in [AD] 673. Eventually he became a monk. Nearly everybody is convinced that he died at Jarrow in 735. Bede’s Life of Cuthbert tells the story of the foremost English miracle worker of the 7th century. It is assumed that an early anonymous Life of Cuthbert had appeared around 700. However, not a shred of this text was ever found. None of the copies made of the text has left a single shred either. Nevertheless, nearly everybody has full confidence that Bede used this earlier account of Cuthbert’s life to write a verse version around 716 and a prose version in 721. ………………. Making mistakes in the writing of history frequently has to do with the recycling of stories. If historians are determined not to test a given chronology but merely to support it, they may use fairy tales before them twice or several times to fill a chronological space which itself is considered a sacred dogma. Later historians then take these concoctions at face value. ……………..