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The Revision of Ancient History – A Perspective

By P John Crowe
An edited and extended version of a paper presented to the SIS Jubilee Conference, Easthampstead Park, Sept. 17-19th 1999. Revision No.2 August 2007 [1]


  1. Introduction
  2. An Outline History of Revising Ancient History – Up to 1952. 2.1 Exaggerating Antiquity. 2.2 The Early Greek and Alexandrian Historians. 2.3 The Early Christian Chronologists. 2.4 Sir Isaac Newton, First of the Major Revisionists. 2.5 The Birth of Egyptology and the Chronological Debate. 2.6 The Invention of the Dark Ages, and Resulting Disputes.
  3. Immanuel Velikovsky and Other Revisionists 1952-1974 3.1 Velikovsky and Ages In Chaos. 3.2 Donovan Courville. 3.3 Pensée, and E Schorr on Dark Age Mythology. 3.4 Schorr and the Stratigraphy of Troy
  4. SIS and the Pro-Ages in Chaos Era 1974-1982 4.1 1974 to 1978 The SIS Early Years. 4.2 Velikovsky’s Peoples of the Sea and Rameses II and his Time 4.3 J Dayton and ‘Minerals, Metals, Glazing and Man’ 4.4 Glaring Glazing Anachronisms. 4.5 Glazing Anomalies Resolved by The Glasgow Chronology
  5. 1982-1990. P. James, D. Rohl, and G. Heinsohn lead in New Directions. 5.1 The James-Rohl Chronology. 5.2 The Formation of ISIS. 5.3 D Rohl and the New Chronology; Will It Stand the Test of Time? 5.4 P James, Centuries of Darkness, and an Alternative Revision. 5.5 G Heinsohn and the Evidence of Stratigraphy.
  6. The 1990’s – Open Season for Revisionists 6.1 An Overview. 6.2 Mainstream Revisionists. 6.3 Ages in Chaos Revisionists. 6.4 More Radical Revisionists. 6.5 ‘Significant Others’.
  7. The Revisionist Outlook for the New Millennium 7.1 Revisionists Are Still Needed. 7.2 Archaeology to the Rescue? 7.3 Scientific and Astronomical Dating. 7.4 Catastrophic Dating. 7.5 Israel or Greece as the Flash-points? 7.6. Proof beyond Reasonable Doubt. 7.7 Vested Interests and the Deaf Establishment.
  8. Concluding Comments 8.1 Velikovsky’s Pillars Supporting Conventional Chronology Have Changed. 8.2 The Shishak = Shoshenk Equation in Focus. 8.3 Manetho Revisited. 8.4 Which of the Competing Revisions will Win?

NOTE 1. – The historical dates quoted are B.C.E. unless otherwise stated.

NOTE 2. – This 2007 revision only contains a few minor amendments and additions to some references to the work of Velikovsky. This paper reflects my views in 2001 and no general updating is proposed. PJC. 09.08.07


The Revision of Ancient History – A Perspective.

Ancient History as taught today is a disaster area. Nothing fits convincingly together. The development of the arts, cultures and technologies from earliest times shows inexplicable incongruities. Art historians and archaeologists are in disarray. Why? Because the chronology of the first and second millennium BC is badly wrong. How did this disaster happen? As accident investigators well know, the sequence of events leading up to major disasters is invariably a sequence of highly unlikely and unexpected happenings and coincidences. These conspire, often in chances of many millions to one against, to cause the disaster. Ancient history revisionists believe the cause of the disaster lies within the conventional chronology of ancient Egypt, referred to as the CC throughout the rest of this paper. This has been assumed correct, and used directly or indirectly to date nearly all the other early civilisations throughout Europe and the Near East. Such is the measure of control exerted by today’s academic establishment that they would not tolerate a revisionist movement from within. So interested outsiders, including some brilliant scholars and innovative thinkers, who call themselves ancient history revisionists, are having to act as the accident investigators for this disaster. They are investigating all the relevant evidence, with painstaking thoroughness, to discover and expose all the events and unlucky coincidences that led to the adoption of the CC.

The Society for Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS) was founded in 1974 to promote discussion and further study of the ideas of Immanuel Velikovsky. He was one of the first to make the public aware that Egypt’s ancient chronology was, and still is, badly wrong. As a result, the pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty (D18), which most famously include Queen Hatshepsut and Tutankhamun, are made too ancient by around 500 years. He reached this conclusion after comparing the early histories of the Hebrews and the Egyptians. In the Old Testament (OT), the ancient Hebrews recorded such major events as their Descent into Egypt, the Sojourn, Oppression, and Exodus from Egypt, and later campaigns against them by the Egyptian rulers Shishak and Zerah. However, no clear reference to any of these events can be found in Egyptian history.

Since late Victorian times, ancient historians and archaeologists have assumed, from an amalgam of early sources, that their consensual version of Egyptian chronology is secure. So Egyptian artefacts, which were found in many places outside Egypt, were used to date the archaeology of other countries around the Mediterranean that had no ancient records of their own. For example, pottery from Mycenae in Greece was found in Egypt, depicted on the walls of tombs of kings of the eighteenth dynasty (D18), and among the ruins of their temples. So the start of the Mycenaean era was dated to around the beginning of D18, about 1400. The Mycenaean era is believed to have ended at the time the Dorian invasion of southern Greece, c1200. The objection that this was some 500 years earlier than believed by the early Greek and Roman historians, who lived some 2000 years nearer the period in question, was overruled. Archaeologists then began to find Mycenaean pottery in countries all round the Eastern Mediterranean. This led them to conclude that there were widespread occupation gaps in Greece and other countries after the end of the Mycenaean age, around 12th century BCE (12C). People then seemed mysteriously to reappear in their cities and carry on much as before around the 8th century, when continuity could be firmly established with the classical Greek period and with the more soundly dated Neo-Assyrian empire. These occupation gaps of 4 to 5 centuries were called ‘Dark Ages’, and they have provided scholars with a rich vein of confusion and controversy to this day.

Velikovsky, quoting from early archaeological reports, cited many disputes between famous archaeologists that were caused by the sudden requirement to interpret archaeology within a new timeframe imposed by these ‘Dark Ages’. Many were bitter, and careers were irreparably damaged. Most disputes were swept under the carpet, and have not been satisfactorily resolved to this day. Archaeology, when interpreted with an open mind, has now actually proved beyond reasonable doubt that the Dark Ages did not exist, but the proof is ignored. Vested interest in the status quo has won the day. Huge amounts of public money are being spent on studying this Victorian invention, and hundreds of books written about the Dark Ages have failed to explain their cause with any conviction. Sadly, it seems no one in academia has had the courage publicly to challenge the basic assumptions upon which Egyptian chronology, the progenitor of the Dark Ages, is founded.

Sadly the response to innovative thinking in academia is often to try to drown both the innovator and his work in a tide of ridicule and misrepresentation. The dogma of the Establishment, which strictly controls what is taught to the next generation, has ever been fiercely defended. But it has often been wrong. To take a much quoted example, the Catholic Church burnt Bruno alive at the stake in 1600AD for refusing to believe that the Earth was the centre of the Universe, a dogma they had been teaching unchallenged for some 1300 years. Academia today is exerting an ever-tighter control on what is taught, and on the subjects suitable for research. The politically accepted, yet seriously flawed system of ‘peer review’ plays into the hands of the Guardians of the Dogma who control research publications, enabling them to stifle innovative theories which contradict their own. To the Establishment of the 1950’s, Velikovsky was both a radical and an outsider, and they responded to him using the traditional mediaeval practices of vilification and suppression. However, outside academia he received considerable support, and the many obvious anomalies and problems caused by the faulty chronology have long been the subject of intense study and debate by ancient history revisionists.

By accepting that the theoretical foundation of today’s Egyptian chronology is wrong, and by accepting instead the incontrovertible evidence of archaeology, all the problems of the Dark Ages could be resolved at a stroke. Millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money could then be saved, along with the countless hours of talented scholars who waste their time and talents trying to resolve the irresolvable. The truth about ancient history and the development of culture and technologies could then at last be properly understood. The credibility of many of the wonderful records of ancient times, including those contained within the Old Testament, would also start to be restored.

The perspective of the history of ancient history revisionism offered here is drawn largely from the pages of SIS publications over the last 25 years. Other revisionist journals are referred to in places where gaps must be filled, and contributors to these have made a big contribution to the overall debate. However, the SIS is the longest running of these journals. Within its pages may be found the accumulated wisdom, sprinkled here and there with a little folly for good measure, of hundreds of contributors. Their collective arguments, a few of which are presented here will, I hope, convince the unbiased reader that a major downdating of Egyptian chronology should be seriously studied within the Establishment. This would be the most likely way to resolve the vast numbers of historical and archaeological anachronisms that have come to light over the last 150 years. It’s time the revisionist came in from the cold.

2. An Outline History of Revising Egyptian History – Up to 1952.

2.1 Exaggerating Antiquity

It has long been recognised that there has always been a desire within learned man to exaggerate the antiquity of their ancestry. As a Venetian scholar, Giambattista Vico (c1700AD) put it, ‘This false opinion of their great antiquity was caused among the Egyptians by a property of the human mind – that of being indefinite – by which it is often led to believe that the things it does not know are vastly greater than in fact they are.’ Evidence for man’s interest in antiquity, and his innate desire to exaggerate it, can be traced back to the earliest legends and the first writings. For example, when the Babylonian king Nabonidus (c560), who was one of the first known antiquarians, found a foundation tablet of an ancient temple inscribed by Naram-Sin, the grandson of the great Sargon of Akkad, he wrote that it had lain there unseen for 3200 years. He was thus claiming that the first great Akkadian Empire started as early as 3600, as compared with today’s estimates of nearer 2000BC. A century later the famous Greek historian Herodotus wrote that he was told Egyptian recorded history stretched back over 382 generations to some 11,000yr before his time. By our calendar that would be around 13,500BC, but Egyptologists today struggle to find writing which goes back much before 3000BC.

As we shall see, this desire to exaggerate antiquity has remained unabated over the intervening centuries. Before contrary evidence came to light, Nabonidus’ date for the dynasty of Akkad was believed, and only a hundred years ago the British Museum, that bastion of the chronological establishment, was proudly displaying an Assyrian cuneiform tablet dated 4,500BC. This is over 2000yr earlier than is accepted today. At the end of the Victorian era, Petrie [2] was dating the first Egyptian dynasty to before 5000BC, as against c3000BC as we are told today. Even Woolley [3] in the 1930’s was still using Nabonidus dates for the early Mesopotamian dynasties to show that these predated those of ancient Egypt.

The glamour of antiquity may be the reason for one of the key pieces of dogma that underpins the ancient chronologies of Egypt and Mesopotamia. This is the general assumption that all ancient king lists should be read as a sequential list of rulers who presided over the whole of their country. This assumption ignores the fact that we know in very early times kings often shared their inheritance equally with all their sons, so the country was subsequently ruled by many kings of small city states. It also ignores the real life problems of multiple ‘queens’, succession disputes, usurpers, and the need for co-regents when a king was too young or too old, unwell, or unsuited to carry out his many duties. So to take an old ‘king list’ passed down to us by ancient historians without any knowledge as to the authenticity of the sources or accompanying explanatory notes, and assume the kings were all sole rulers over the whole country, is bound to make such civilisations appear much too old. Archaeology, when interpreted with eyes unclouded by such dogma, consistently fails to support these early dates. Sir Isaac Newton, in the recently published ‘The Original of Monarchies’ [4] gives a convincing explanation of how many ancient monarchies were formed, that one day may help us towards a more sensible interpretation of the ancient king lists of Egypt and Mesopotamia.

2.2 The Early Greek and Alexandrian Historians.

Revisionists have a long and distinguished pedigree. Concern about the true age of the earliest civilisations and major turning points in history has always been an integral part of history. Ever since men first learnt to write, they started to record historical events. These date right back to the ancient flood legends described in the literature of many of the world’s earliest civilisations, and tales of golden ages, catastrophes and of a world threatened from time to time by an unstable solar system.

Among the first to bring ancient Egyptian history to the attention of the outside world was Herodotus c450BC. [5] As mentioned above he credited the Egyptians with a recorded history of grossly exaggerated length. By assuming three generations of kings for each one hundred years, he estimated it could be traced back some 11,000 years before his time. But he also reported a brief chronological outline of historical events under some more recent kings as told to him by Egyptian priests, much of which has subsequently been verified. His account cites Sesostris as perhaps the most famous of the warrior and empire-building pharaohs. He mentions that Helen of Troy, over whom the Trojan War was fought, was in Egypt during the reign of a king Proteus. However, the names of Egyptian kings, when translated into early Greek became in many cases hopelessly unrecognisable, and the name Proteus, meaning ‘prince’ in Greek, is not known from our translations of names in cartouches on the Egyptian monuments. Most controversially, however, his chronology implied that the great pyramids of Giza, built by pharaohs of the Old Kingdom (OK), were actually built after the era of the Middle Kingdom (MK) rulers of D12. He certainly failed to credit the pyramids with any great antiquity.

In the early 3C, a great compilation of ancient Jewish history was brought to Egypt under the first Ptolemys, and translated into Greek as the Septuagint. This early version of the Old Testament (OT) traced the history of the Israelites back to the very beginning of Earth itself. And here at Alexandria, probably for the first time, the priestly scholars from Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia were confronted with detailed evidence for the antiquity of the Jewish people. Other nations conquered by the Macedonians then felt compelled to compete in the antiquity stakes. Manetho, a priest and scribe of Heliopolis, and the Chaldean Berosus, a priest of Belus, both of whom flourished under Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247), composed accounts in Greek of the history of their respective nations. In the writings of the vanquished to the conquerors, both writers sought to demonstrate that the vanquished peoples were descendents of very ancient and noble civilisations. Berossus, in the Chaldaika to Antiothos I, claimed to base his history on Babylonian astronomical archives 473,000 years old. Manetho, in the Aegyptiaca to Ptolemeios Philadelphos, claimed an Egyptian history of 30 dynasties, with 113 generations, comprising 36,525 years, a pedigree which made the Greeks appear childlike and insignificant by contrast. In his history, he also contradicted Herodotus in many places. Professor Waddell, in his translation of the works of Manetho [6], said that the works of Berossus and Manetho should be seen principally as expressions of rivalry between Ptolemy and Antiochus, each seeking to proclaim their civilisation the most ancient. And as part of the historical studies, the Alexandrians will also certainly have tried to identify the Egyptian pharaohs mentioned in the OT.

Eratosthenes (c275-194), head of the great library of Alexandria some decades after Manetho, then joined in the antiquity game of behalf of Greece. He studied the works of Homer, Manetho, and other early Greek historians, and derived a date for the Trojan War of c1193-1183. This he did by identifying 17 Spartan kings who reigned in succession from the return of the Heraclidae to Thermopylae. He then assumed that three generations lasted 100 or 120 years, and arrived at a total of 622 years for their combined reigns. This early date was strongly disputed at the time by others, including some Greek ruling families who could trace their genealogies back to ancestors who had fought at Troy. They said this date was over 300 years too early, and that the war had ended not more than three generations before the start of the first Olympic Games in 776. Pausanias reports that the argument was partially settled by allowing both views to co-exist, with the Olympic Games first starting in 12C, then starting again in 8C after a lapse of some 400 years. Today the genealogical evidence from several Greek rulers is again ignored, and the CC has embraced Eratosthenes’ early 12C date for Troy. The fact that he used those ridiculously long average reign lengths is conveniently ignored.Diodorus of Sicily c80-20BC was a Greek historian who wrote 40 books of world history, called collectively a Library of History. For Egyptologists, his most valuable contribution was a description of the campaigns by the Persian kings against Egypt [7]. In the first of these, Artaxerxes II was defeated by an Egyptian king whom Diodorus called Nectanebos, who thus regained Egypt’s independence for some 25 years before the second Persian conquest by Artaxerxes III. Astonishingly, no record of this great Egyptian victory appears on monuments of Nekhthorheb, the king most Egyptologists have now chosen, after much debate, to be identified as the Nectanebos of Diodorus. The absence of any records, new buildings, or even grateful offerings to the gods to honour such a glorious achievement must surely arouse our suspicions.Along with the date of the Trojan War, the foundation dates for Rome and Carthage, and the history of the Jews were also subjects for heated debate. In defence of Apion’s claim that the Jews were a young people, Josephus (c80AD) [8], a Jewish historian under the Roman Empire, wrote his famous historical essay ‘Contra Apion’, which referred extensively to the works of Manetho. He revealed many of Manetho’s errors, and strove to disprove Manetho’s claim that when the Hyksos had been driven out of Egypt, they had then gone to Judea, where they built Jerusalem.

2.3 The Early Christian Chronologists.

The original works of both Manetho and Berossus are now lost, but some of Manetho has been passed down to us in the form of a few excerpts quoted by contemporary and later authors such as those mentioned above. Epitomes of Manetho’s king lists by two Christian chronologists, Africanus c220AD and Eusebius c320AD, have also survived. We have no way of knowing whether the original and complete work of Manetho, or only much copied fragments and undated king lists survived the intervening 500 years to be available to these two authors. However, what was available to them was obviously incomplete and unexplained, since the two versions vary considerably. Africanus gives a total of 561 kings ruling for 5524yr, while Eusebius cites 361 kings ruling for 4480-4780yr. No accompanying explanatory notes are available to explain how these lists were derived, or how they should be interpreted. But, unlike Manetho, both were Christian historians, so both were very keen to try to identify the synchronisms between Biblical history and the ancient Egyptians.

Syncellus, also known as George the Monk, writing from Constantinople c800AD is our main surviving source for Manetho’s works, although he tells us nothing of his source materials. He is also the sole source of a work he attributes to Manetho called ‘The Book of Sothis’. This gives a list of Egyptian kings, with annotations linking Egyptian and Jewish historical events. We can only speculate upon how much of this is derived from Manetho, but it gives names in an order that is considered obviously non-chronological. It notes that a king Thuoris ruled Egypt at the time of the end of the Trojan War, not Proteus as given by Herodotus. It includes a king Susakeim, against whom it notes ‘This king brought up Libyans, Ethiopians, and Troglodytes before Jerusalem.’ Susakeim is obviously intended to equate with the ‘Susakim’ of the Septuagint. Because he was named some seven reigns before the first king Osorkon, pharaoh Susakim was assumed to be Sheshonk I of D22. The Book of Sothis is today dismissed as being of no historical value whatsoever. Yet despite the many known inaccuracies in Manetho’s work this link between Jewish and Egyptian history has been believed. Today it is the single most important pillar supporting the high early dates of conventional Egyptian chronology.

Clearly, even if we had the complete Manetho, it would be wrong to assume, with so many of the original records lost, that the early historians such as Manetho, Eusebius, Africanus, Josephus and Syncellus actually knew Egypt’s true early history any better than the version told to Herodotus. The only history that long predates the arrival of the Septuagint in Egypt and Greece was the OT written by the Hebrews. This gave their Sojourn in Egypt and the Exodus from there, as major historical events. The most important eviction of an Asiatic race from Egypt in pre-Assyrian times, as remembered by the Egyptians and Greeks, was the expulsion of the Hyksos. If Egyptian texts are to be believed, the Egyptians also at times expelled some large numbers of lepers, but it is hard to accept these were all of one ethnic group. These facts may explain why some early Egyptian and Greek historians concluded, as did Manetho, that the Jews were both the Hyksos and lepers. The Amalekites, who according to the OT went into Egypt at the time of the Exodus of the Israelites, and were said to have once been the greatest of nations, had long been extinct. Mediaeval Arab historians repeatedly tell us the Amalekites conquered Egypt without a fight and ruled there for several centuries, but the Ptolemaic Greeks could not be expected to know about this. If the Phoenicians or Minoans had once ruled Egypt as ‘kings of foreign lands’, memories of them had also long since been forgotten. Having therefore concluded that the Jews were the Hyksos, these early historians then all struggled to find possible and alternative identifications for the various Egyptian kings mentioned in the Septuagint. All the comments relating Jewish history to particular Egyptian kings, such as Susakim being Shoshenq I, as given in different versions of ‘Manetho’ may well be just their best guesses. Manetho is as likely to be as wrong in these opinions as he was in many of his other claims, thus passing down to us an entirely erroneous version of ancient history.

2.4 Sir Isaac Newton, First of the Major Revisionists.

  • Newton’s historical studiesSir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) was perhaps the first great revisionist [9]. By 1700, already famous for his discovery of gravity and recognised as a genius throughout the scholarly world, he was much preoccupied with studies of ancient history. He showed that ancient history had been made many centuries too ancient, and he was the first to claim that the Sesostris of Herodotus, whose conquests were the same as those of Tuthmoses III, was the was the Biblical Shishak. His work thus offers strong support to Velikovsky. While modern archaeological evidence has inevitably revealed flaws in his historical reconstruction, his review and evaluation of the extensive ancient historical sources demands our attention. The findings of a scholar of undoubted genius, from over fifty years of studying ancient history, should be peerless in their authority. Newton devoted much more time and intellectual resources to this work than are available to most of us, so there should be much we can learn from him. Since his work is little known, a brief outline is offered here.
  • Newton’s approach to historical revision.Mainstream chronologists of Newton’s era, such as Ussher, were in substantial agreement with computations based on the OT, which proved the world was roughly 4,000 years old at the birth of Christ. The basic intervals between Adam, the Deluge, Abraham, Joshua, David, the Babylonian captivity, and Christ were the building blocks for world chronology. Solomon was said by Josephus to have reigned for 80yr, and was believed to have died c970. A few radical thinkers were secretly raising doubts about such a young planet, suggesting the world could be eternal or hundreds of thousands of years old, but such was the power of the Establishment that such opinions could not openly be voiced.Newton’s studies led him to conclude that the Hebrews were the most ancient of civilised people. With the Bible as his primary historical source, he then tried to establish connections with events recorded in the pagan histories of Egypt, Greece, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia and Italy, and fit them into a proper chronological sequence. The accepted chronologies of ancient kingdoms, which did not ‘tally with sacred history’, had to be false. A devout Christian, but a fearless Biblical critic, he uncovered many discrepancies within and between the King James, Masoretic, Samaritan, and Septuagint versions. He was prepared to adjust some OT words or numbers, or the timing of some deeds to better fit his chronology.His radical approach was to undermine the validity of the ancient chronologists who were in contradiction both to Scripture and to the new astronomy, yet whom all the moderns had copied. Firstly he prepared a critique of ancient chronologists, particularly the Alexandrines. Then he derived ‘proofs’ based on astronomy to fix a few key dates. From a synthesis of literary evidence, he then recast ancient history. To do this he used average reign lengths of 18-20 years, derived from a study of all ancient records where reign lengths were known. Thus he showed that 45 or 33 years, as used by the Alexandrines, was much too long a time for a generation of kings, resulting in dates that were much too ancient. As he explained, kings ‘were subject to assassination, tumults, and violence, and brothers and uncles succeeded as well as sons, leading to shorter reigns.’ Taken together, the various types of evidence constituted a remarkable body of mutually corroborating proofs.
  • The reliability of earlier sources.The early chronologists had lived long after the events, so could not know the facts. Their prejudices were exposed, as was their use of excessive reign lengths. He said that before monarchies and Empires, ‘every king shared his territories amongst all his sons until there was no more room for division.’ In Egypt as elsewhere, there were many ‘kingdoms’. A king, he wrote, ‘never set up more than one religion in his country, so the diversity of religions in Egypt arose from the diversity of kingdoms there in the early ages’His favourite bêtes noires were Manetho and Berosus. As well as exaggerating history as already mentioned, Newton complained that Manetho sometimes reported the same reign twice under different names, listed kings in the wrong order, corrupted their names, repeated them again and again, and included the names of other great men and women who were only the relations of kings or their viceroys or secretaries of state. Manetho also stretched out into successive dynasties for the whole of Egypt some contemporary local kings whose domains never extended beyond a single city. Newton believed that Manetho’s kings reigned in several parts in earlier times when Egypt was divided up into several small kingdoms, and that priests, from records of several cities, ‘collected all these into one continual succession to make the ages of their gods look ancient’.Newton also called Eratosthenes and his follower Apollodorus ‘major felons in corrupting world chronology’. By using excessive reign lengths ‘they made the antiquities of Greece 300 or 400yr older than the truth.’Ctesias was also accused of distorting history by making it almost 300yr older than it was, and of ‘feigning names at pleasure’. Manetho and Diodorus were wrong to take the wars of Saul and David against the Philistines as those of the shepherds (i.e. Manetho’s Hyksos), ejected from Egypt and fighting to take Palestine and build Jerusalem. He accepted that the later Christian chronographers Julius Africanus and Eusebius could do little to correct the errors of Manetho’s original work.

    The widely held belief that ancient civilisations knew and had accurate records of their own antiquity was also exposed as a fallacy. He showed that the ancient records of many countries were lost as a result of wars and invasions. The Egyptians had been conquered successively by the Hyksos, Ethiopians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians. All their records were carried away by Cambyses, and again by Ochus. The annals of the Tyrians eventually came into the hands of the Greeks, were translated into Greek but both translation and originals are now lost. The old records of the Latins were burnt by the Gauls 64yr before the death of Alexander the Great. The annals of Carthage fell into the hands of the Romans but are lost, or were destroyed when Carthage was burned. Even the chronology of nations with written annals were suspect. Most records of remote epochs had been destroyed in the course of the numerous wars. What was said of nations before the Olympiads ‘is confused and obscure’.

    In Newton’s opinion the most reliable historical sources were ‘the Old Testament, the Chronological Canon of Ptolemy, the books of Tobit, Judith, Herodotus, Thucydides, the Annals of Tyre and Carthage as given by Josephus, and what has been taken from the ancient monuments and records by Diodorus, Strabo, Pausanias, Josephus, & a few others down to the reign of Darius King of Persia’. Herodotus’ Egyptian history of earlier times was less accurate because their archives had suffered much during the reign of the Ethiopians and Assyrians. Newton agreed with Josephus that the Sesostris of Herodotus was Sesac, and listed many variants of the name Sesostris in Greek form to show such a mistake was linguistically plausible. That Sesostris was Tuthmoses III finds indirect support from Homer, who tells us that Memnon (i.e. Amenophis III) was at Troy, which Newton dated some 70-90yr after the death of Solomon.

  • Newton’s astronomical dating.Newton was the first and only revisionist to use the precession of the zodiac signs for retrocalculating three early dates where the ancients had recorded the necessary information. One such instance was in the story of the Argonautic expedition. In the account of Jason and the Argonauts, a primitive globe was said to have been constructed upon which was marked the position of the ecliptic where it passed thorough specific parts of the signs of the Zodiac. Using 1689AD as a base, and his rate of precession of 72yrs per degree, the primitive sphere could be placed 2627 years earlier – 939BCE. This was roughly 40-60yr after the death of Solomon in around 980, according to Ussher. This was separate and independent evidence to support the same conclusion derived from genealogies, working back using more realistic reign lengths for the intervening kings. A date for the battle of Troy was then fixed from the evidence of Herodotus, who said this was one generation after the voyage to Colchis, the land of the Golden Fleece. Hence the fall of Troy was dated to around 900.
  • Death of a Historical Reconstruction.Newton’s reconstruction caused an international furore. He was criticised both before and after his death by many scholars who wished to enhance their prestige by exposing weaknesses in Newton’s work. Unlike mathematics, so much of history is based upon probabilities and speculation, so this was not difficult. A major weakness was his unflinching assertion that the first great monarchy was that of Solomon. This left him confronted with a big problem. A reading of the Bible appears to bestow greater antiquity on the Egyptians and the Assyrian royal institutions. The Biblical picture of Egypt at the time of Moses is quite grand, and Newton never satisfactorily resolved this problem. He concluded that since, at one point, the Israelites were ‘scattered throughout all the land of this kingdom’ in two days to gather straw, the Egypt of Moses comprised only part of the area of the Nile Delta. The debate he started lasted for a further century, but there was always more mileage to be gained from criticising him than in offering support. In the 19th century, once Egyptian hieroglyphs could be read, the urge to exaggerate antiquity again exerted its pervasive influence. The king lists found in tombs at Abydos and Saqqara, and other texts, were read as giving support to Manetho. Thus, after a century of debate, historians quietly consigned Newton’s historical work to academic oblivion.Conclusions from Newton the Historian.Some important conclusions from Newton’s historical studies are: –
    1. The early Greek and Alexandrian chronologists such as Eratosthenes, Manetho and Berossus are shown to have greatly exaggerated the antiquities of Egypt and Assyria.
    2. The classical dates for the Trojan War are shown by mutually supporting literary and astronomical evidence to be too early by some 300 years, yet the conventional chronology still accepts them.
    3. Neither Newton nor any other historian over the previous 2000 years knew of any Greek Dark Age. The genealogies of several lines of rulers during the period from the Trojan War up to the Classical period of ancient Greece show this period is perfectly accounted for. Yet Egyptology has demanded the Victorian invention of the so-called Greek Dark Ages to sustain its Manetho-dependent chronology.
    4. Newton agreed with Josephus that the Biblical Shishak was the Sesostris of Herodotus, and that Herodotus simply got the name wrong. From what is told of Sesostris, his frequent campaigns across Asia and his conquest of Nubia, he perfectly fits the mantle of the pharaoh whose name we can now read as Tuthmoses III.
    5. Neither Newton nor his predecessors knew anything of a period of Libyan rule over Egypt, and Manetho’s identity of Shishak with a so-called Libyan pharaoh Shoshenq was mistaken.

2.5 The Birth of Egyptology and the False Chronology.

Worldwide interest in Egyptology rocketed after Napoleon and his savants brought the world of ancient Egypt to the attention of the early 19C western world. Scholars from many countries, along with treasure hunters and vandals, descended upon the Nile Valley. Many among the rich and the British upper classes started to acquire collections of Egyptian antiquities. Once the great British scholar Thomas Young, followed by Champollion, had learned how to read the hieroglyphs, Egyptologists started to see the names of kings mentioned by Herodotus and Manetho appear on the monuments before their eyes. The identification of Shoshenk I as the Biblical Shishak by Manetho/Syncellus was apparently confirmed by Champollion in 1828 when he read Shoshenk I’s wall relief at Karnak. This seemingly named many Palestinian cities conquered by him during one of his campaigns. Manetho’s king lists, along with others found in tombs and on papyri, were then used, together with Biblical dates for Abraham, the Exodus, and Shishak to formulate more informed views on the antiquity of Egyptian history. Separate museum and university departments for the study of Egyptology sprang up all around the world. Textbooks started to proliferate, and, of course, Egyptologists followed the natural inclinations of their predecessors in wanting to date everything as early as possible.

Around the turn of the century, the concept of Sothic Dating, first proposed by German Egyptologists, began to be accepted as a means of estimating dates, otherwise unobtainable, for the end of the MK and the beginning of the New Kingdom (NK). Although no evidence for its use by Egyptians was ever found, Sothic Dating became incorporated into accepted Egyptological dogma after being embraced by J H Breasted in his hugely influential work ‘Ancient Records of Egypt’ (1906).[10] At that time almost all Manetho’s kings were assumed to have reigned solely and consecutively over all of Egypt, and Petrie was dating the start of the first dynasty to before 5000BC. Eusebius, 1600 years earlier, had warned that Manetho’s king lists should not be read as being a sequential list, since they probably included the names of dynasties which ruled concurrently in several different parts of Egypt. Needless to say, this warning has been studiously ignored.

2.6 The Invention of the Dark Ages, and Resulting Disputes.

When Schliemann excavated the famous Shaft Graves at Mycenae in Greece in the 1870’s, he found they contained some scarabs bearing the names of Amenhotep III and his wife Queen Tiy. So, when Petrie later found much similar Mycenaean pottery at Pharaoh Akhenaten’s short lived capital city of Amarna, between Memphis and Thebes, such was the confidence in the correctness of Egyptian chronology that it was used to date the entire contents of the graves of the Late Helladic age at Mycenae to not later then about 1300. Egyptian dates were also applied at other sites to artefacts and everything else that was obviously contemporary with them, such as architectural and technological designs and developments. Art historians and other scholars noted their obvious and close affinities with those clearly datable in Greece, Syria and Mesopotamia to a period some 500-700 years later. Because of these similarities, many scholars, including Petrie, at first accepted the early Egyptian dates for the start of the Mycenaean era, but concluded that it must have lasted for some 7-800 years, making it flow continuously into the Greek Archaic period of the 7th century. But by the beginning of the 20th century it became clear, again from archaeology and Egyptian dates, that the Mycenaean era ended no later than around 1200BC. According to Greek tradition the Mycenaeans were believed to have been overrun by the Dorians from Northern Greece, but no evidence could be found in Greece for people, alive or dead, to fill the yawning gap between the 12th and 9th centuries. To fill these empty years, the concept of the Dark Ages of Greece was invented.

No rational explanation has ever been offered to explain why the Greeks disappeared, where they went to, why they returned, and how they managed to resume their artistic and cultural development some half a millennium later with no apparent break in continuity. And worse, no Dark Age was heard of among any of the early classical Greek and Roman writers, who lived some two millennia nearer that time. So this idea was not well received by modern art and Greek historians. It led to many heated and bitter academic disputes. Around the turn of the century A S Murray, Keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum, excavated a previously unopened tomb of Mycenaean age at Enkomi on Cyprus, and published some of the ivory carvings it contained. These showed such a striking resemblance to later Greek and Assyrian work that he unhesitatingly assigned the tomb and all its contents to the 9th-7th century. His conclusions were based on a long study of a uniquely extensive range of Mediterranean and Mesopotamian sculpture, pottery and other artefacts that surrounded him daily at the British Museum. This gave him no reason whatsoever to believe in a Greek Dark Age. For his disbelief he was roundly blasted as a heretic by Sir Arthur Evans, who believed uncritically in the Egyptian dates. Evans had recently achieved wide public acclaim for his discovery of a mortuary temple at Knossos on Crete [11], which he theatrically presented to the world as a great king’s palace. He was not about to have his dates for the Mycenaean and their Minoan predecessors downdated by anybody. His blast, and Egyptian dates, eventually carried the day, and Evans’ romantic illusions of antiquity have contributed to the insolubility of many archaeological and art historical problems to this day. Further details of this incident are set out in a paper by Velikovsky entitled ‘The Scandal of Enkomi’ [12]

Another British Museum based scholar, H R Hall, was totally convinced that some of the items from Mycenae Grave Circle A belonged to c900 or later. He therefore suggested that priests opened up early D18 graves after an interval of some 600yrs, stole nothing, but piously inserted later items. This rather incredible idea not surprisingly received little support, but it illustrates the huge pressure being placed upon archaeologists and art historians, once they were forced to accept Egyptian dates for the Late Helladic period, to invent an explanation for these anachronisms.

Among other scholars disagreeing with these early dates was Cecil Torr. He also felt strongly that the monumental, traditional and genealogical evidence from Egypt and Greece could not justify a Dark Age. In the 1890’s he issued a public challenge to Petrie to justify his chronology, and exposed some unsubstantiated assumptions in Petrie’s archaeological reports. In 1896 he published Memphis and Mycenae [13] giving a lower Egyptian chronology based solely on monumental evidence. Since, however, Torr did not attempt to dispute that Shishak was Sheshonk I, a major reduction of the chronology was impossible, so the ensuing debate faded out with neither side altering their position.

3. Immanuel Velikovsky and Revisionists 1952-1974

3.1 Velikovsky and Ages In Chaos

By the end of the 19th century, many historians had suggested that the monotheistic (or perhaps more correctly mono-idolistic) cult of Akhenaten was a direct result of a Hebrew influence on the ruling Egyptians. Then later, Sigmund Freud, who was a collector of Egyptian antiquities, explored the history of religion in a book, written in 1939, entitled ‘Moses and Monotheism‘ [14] in which he linked Moses and Akhenaten. Immanuel Velikovsky, initially a practicing psychiatrist, was intrigued by Freud’s book. After moving to New York just before the war, he studied the historicity of the Exodus story, catastrophes and cosmology. By 1945 he had published his ‘Theses for the Reconstruction of Ancient History'[15], but it was ‘Worlds in Collision‘ (1950) [16], that first brought him to the public’s attention. In this he proposed, from a long study of worldwide legends about disastrous floods and battles in the sky between planetary bodies, that these were collective evidences of relatively recent irregular movements by some planets. From the ancient legends, and the great fear induced by such happenings in the sky, he concluded planets had been in some way the cause of catastrophes on earth within the memory of mankind.

His theories about catastrophism went totally against the astronomical dogma of his day, which claimed beyond dispute that the planets were solely ruled by gravity. If Venus and Mars had moved as and when Velikovsky claimed, they could not have assumed their present new and stable orbits so quickly under gravity alone. Also bodies in space could not collide. The ruthless and shameful attempts by leading Harvard academics to condemn the book as heretical and to ridicule its author only heightened worldwide public interest in the book. It was this interest, and a recognition that the many brilliant ideas postulated by Velikovsky were of sufficient importance to deserve further study and debate, which in the UK led eventually in 1974 to the formation of the SIS.

Then, with ‘Ages in Chaos‘ (AIC) in 1952 [17], he ignited a public debate on ancient chronology. As mentioned in the introduction, he looked at Egyptian and Palestinian history over the period from the Exodus to the early Divided Monarchy era, and found none of the expected synchronisms. In the CC, Ramesses II was the Pharaoh of the Exodus, but none of the other OT historical events could be found in their expected places. Focussing on the Exodus events, which he considered to have been caused by a catastrophe affecting much of the Middle East, Velikovsky found what he regarded as evidence of this catastrophe in two ancient Egyptian texts, Papyrus Ipuwer and the Ermitage Papyrus. By dating these texts to the end of the MK, he showed that Tuthmoses III fitted the mantle of the Biblical Shishak much better than Shoshenk I. In doing so, he was clearly unaware that Newton had long ago arrived at a similar conclusion. He pointed out that Shoshenk’s list of Asiatic cities, which some Egyptologists no longer regard as evidence of a military campaign, were mainly located in Israel rather than Judah. It includes none of the ‘fenced cities of Judah’ mentioned as captured by Shishak in the Old Testament (OT). Shoshenk I’s supposed campaign against Judah therefore has no archaeological support. However, hundreds of scarabs of Tuthmoses III have been found across Palestine and Syria, all in strata that are now dated some 5-600yr after his time. Despite the fact that many of these are believed to be genuine D18 scarabs, the archaeologists have had to interpret their finds as either heirlooms or as souvenirs made in Palestine when there was a revival of devotion to Tuthmoses III. And so, as has happened so often, archaeological fact has been distorted by the proponents of historical theory. Why Tuthmoses III, and only Tuthmoses III, who must in his day have been a dreaded and hated invader, should become the object of veneration 5-600yr later is never explained. Velikovsky showed that the resulting down-dating of the NK by around 500 years brought the early histories of the two nations into a much more convincing alignment, and resolved many glaring chronological problems.

Also in AIC, Velikovsky identified the Hyksos with the Biblical Amalekite hordes, who fought with the Hebrews as they fled from Egypt at the time of the Exodus. He also claimed that Hatshepsut was the ‘Queen of Sheba’ of the OT who visited Solomon, and who was referred to by Josephus as ‘the queen of Egypt and Ethiopia’. He then showed at Ugarit, which was given Egyptian dates from scarabs of Amenhotep III found in its final destruction layer, that the archaeological evidence, including the texts of many of the cuneiform tablets unearthed there, could be interpreted to provide excellent supporting evidence in favour of his proposed 500yr down dating. The evidence there supported the traditional view of Biblical scholars that the Canaanites received their culture from the Hebrews, not vice versa as is taught today.

The book ended with a lengthy analysis of the Amarna Letters, in which he found many convincing synchronisms with ancient Jewish history around the time of Ahab and his contemporaries. His revised timescale showed that these letters, once their placement was understood, offered much support for the authenticity of Biblical history during the time of Ahab and Hazeal (Rib Hadda and Aziru in the letters).

AIC was intended to be the first volume in a series proposing a full historical reconstruction from the Exodus to the Ptolemaic period. These later volumes were long delayed, but by 1974, when the SIS was formed, revisionists were aware, from his earlier ‘Theses’, of some of his more important synchronisms in later eras, and his further volumes were eagerly awaited.

3.2 Donovan Courville

Although Velikovsky had proposed a 500yr downdating of Egyptian dates for D18, this was ridiculed by academia. But by 1971 no subsequent works had appeared to show that the eras before and after D18 could be similarly lowered and compressed. This was the aim of D.A. Courville, whose two-volume book, ‘The Exodus Problem and its Ramifications‘ [18] came out in that year. This built upon the AIC synchronisms, extending them back to re-date the Sojourn, Famine and Exodus, and forwards to revise the Third Intermediate Period (TIP).

He was motivated to start his historical studies when Biblical archaeologists made claims contradicting the scriptures. The most famous of all the Conquest sites was Jericho, whose walls fell before the invading Joshua as a result of an earthquake. Excavating there in 1930-1936 Garstang found a double line of walls thrown down, apparently by an earthquake, since the outer wall base had tipped outwards. Mainly from Biblical chronology he dated this event c1400-1385BC. But in the 1950’s Kathleen Kenyon worked at the site and relied upon pottery sequences to redate these walls back to the end of the Early Bronze Age (EBA), around 2100. They could not, she announced, be those that fell before Joshua. It was this claim that led Courville to become a revisionist. There were two possibilities. Either OT history or Egyptian dates were grossly in error. Courville elected to work from the premise that OT history was largely right, which meant that the Conquest could not be so early. Since the later site archaeology at Jericho and Ai matched OT history, the CC had obviously set Joshua’s era back too far by c600yr.

Palestine archaeology, with little surviving monumental texts, was dated from pottery sequences initially established by Petrie using Egyptian dates that he believed to be secure. But these were largely based on Manetho and the theoretical Sothic dates, and were also tied to the OT date for Shishak. Since the EBA was contemporary with the end of D6, Courville concluded that both the Archaeological Ages of Palestine and the Egyptian Old Kingdom (OK) dates had to be lowered by some 600 years.

In summary, his proposed revision accepted the solid synchronisms between Israel, Egypt and Assyria from 8C onwards. He redated the EBA to end in c1400. He claimed there was no good archaeological evidence for the existence of a First Intermediate Period (FIP), and that D6 was contemporary with D12 and most of D13. Using the Book of Sothis, which lists several kings with the name Ramesses in the MK, and a Sojourn of 215 years, he placed the Exodus near the end of the MK. He used the Famine Texts of Ameni and Beba to conclude that Joseph’s Famine was in the time of Sesostris1 of D12, Joseph was Mentuhotep, the powerful Vizier to Sesostris I, and Sesostris III was the Pharaoh of the Oppression. Koncharis was the Pharaoh of the Exodus, which was placed at the time of the Hyksos invasion, a time of social upheaval as described in the Ipuwer and Ermitage Papyri. He agreed with Velikovsky that the Amalekites were the original Hyksos, and that Tuthmose III was Shishak. He did not support Velikovsky’s proposed duplicate D19 and D26 kings, and placed D20/21 between D19 and D22. He fitted the later dynasties in prior to the Assyrian invasion by a mixture of overlaps, and by resurrecting the evidence from Brugsch in the 1880’s that D22 was part of the era when Egypt was dominated by the Assyrian Empire rather than by Libyans, and may overlap with D26. The reference to Israel on Merenptah’s stele commemorated the fall of the state of Israel in 721 to Assyria.

3.3 Penséeand Schorr on Dark Age Mythology.

In the 25 years following publication of AIC a number of other revisionists set to work. Some of these scholars also contributed to, or were mentioned in, the splendid USA publications of Pensée, edited by S.L. Talbott et al in ten volumes entitled ‘Immanuel Velikovsky Reconsidered’, between 1972 and 1975. They remain an indispensable reference work for any student of Velikovsky’s work who is concerned with either ancient history or catastrophism. Two other American journals, Kronos, edited by S Talbott et al, and Catastrophism and Ancient History, produced by Marvin Luckerman, also made important contributions to the debate from 1975 to the early 1990’s.

Eddie Schorr is one revisionist who deserves special mention here. A one-time researcher for Velikovsky, he wrote a brilliantly lucid and scholarly paper in Pensée No.IV RIX (1974) under the name Israel Isaacson, entitled ‘Applying the Revised Chronology'[19]. This paper was a response to W H Stiebing’s condemnation, published in Pensée, of Velikovsky’s proposed 500yr downdating. Steibing claimed this ‘was not in harmony with the mass of archaeological evidence at our disposal’, and mentioned several Greek sites which he claimed showed conclusive evidence in support of the Dark Ages. Schorr’s five-year study of Greek, Cypriot, Anatolian, and Syrian sites led him to quite the opposite view. His paper is limited to a review of the archaeological work carried out at Mycenae, Tiryns and Troy, Ugarit and Alalakh. He showed that at each site mentioned by Steibing, numerous 500-700yr problems were found by the excavators and by those trying to trace the origin and development of artistic and architectural types. An important extended version of this study under the same title may be found on the Internet via the SIS Web site. In it he reveals vast numbers of similar ‘problems’ at other Bronze Age city sites, and quotes dozens of archaeologists and art historians referring to stylistic anachronisms and stratigraphical ‘problems’ caused by the imposition of the Dark Ages.

Schorr was cruelly punished by the Establishment for his temerity in refuting their Dark Age dogma. As was the custom among research graduates, and in his turn, he duly recounted his findings at a Graduate Seminar lecture. His reward was to have his lecture interrupted, his audience sent home, and be summoned to the Professor’s office. There he was told he must recant his heretical beliefs, or he would not be allowed to finish his doctorate. This, in all conscience, he could not do, so he left the university, his ambitions dashed, and his career hopes in ruins.

3.4 Schorr on Stratigraphic Problems at Troy.

A brief extract relating to Troy’s stratigraphy, from Schorr’s paper, illustrates the importance of his work. Troy was first excavated by Schliemann and Dorpfeld from the 1870’s to the 1890’s. Nine major habitation levels, ranging from the lowest, the Early Bronze Age (stratum 1) to Roman times (stratum 9) were distinguished. Below Level 9 came the Greek city, Level 8, containing Greek ware dating from c700 BC. The two layers, Levels 7 and 6, immediately below Level 8, both contained Mycenaean pottery. Since level 7 showed evidence that a new people moved onto the site, the houses were mostly small, and the occupation was fairly short-lived, Dorpfeld believed the well-walled Level 6 city to have belonged to the Trojan King Priam. But there was a problem. Between Levels 8 and 7, according to the CC, there had to be an occupation ‘gap’ of over 400 years. But nothing was found to fill this gap. There was nothing to show the site really was abandoned. No signs of a fire, battle, or destruction which might have caused the city population to flee. No sterile layer of wash and/or humus was found, such as could hardly have failed to build up if the site really had been abandoned and exposed to the destructive power of wind and rain for over four centuries. After 28yrs work on the site, Dörpfeld could not differentiate between Troy 7 and Troy 8, so concluded that Troy 8 had immediately followed after Troy 7.

In the 1930’s, the American archaeologist C Blegen, by now steeped in the conventional wisdom that Dorpfeld must have got it wrong, re-examined the site. But Blegen, although he identified sub-layers 7a and 7b1 with Mycenaean ware, and a new settlement 7b2 , also could find no break between layers 8 and 7b2. The locally made pottery of Troy 8 was obviously akin to that of Troy 7. Also, more importantly, the local grey ware pots of Troy 7 (i.e., of the Mycenaean Age) were looked upon as the “direct ancestors” of the local ware, not only of Troy 8 but also of 7-6C north-western Turkey and Lesbos. Most alarmingly for the Establishment, Blegen found sherds of imported Greek pottery of early 7C in the undisturbed Mycenaean sub-strata of Troy 7. With no other explanation permissible, the archaeologist had to say that despite all their careful methods, ‘contamination’ had occurred, causing the intrusion of the later wares into strata of Troy 7b. The discovery of these 7C sherds in several areas of Troy 7b1, and below the 12C layer 7b2, is a major problem. It is stratigraphically impossible to have a 7th, 8th, or even a 9th century item below the undisturbed floor of a 12th century building. And no evidence could be found that contamination of pottery samples from different layers had actually occurred on the site.

Schorr’s work usefully complements the work of Velikovsky, who some criticised for knowing little about stratigraphy and art history. In his conclusion, Schorr asked the very pertinent question ‘should archaeological evidence be forced to fit the Procrustean bed of historical theory, or should a new scheme be put forth to explain all the facts?’ In every case, these problems can be resolved by a simple 500yr downdating of Egyptian chronology.

4. SIS and the Pro-Ages in Chaos Era.

  • 4.1 1974 to 1978 The SIS Early Years.The roots of the SIS stem from a group of around 80 people in the UK, who were interested enough in the work of Velikovsky to write to him care of Sidgwick and Jackson, the UK publishers of Worlds in Collision. The SIS was founded from among these people, and much credit for this is due to Brian Moore and Harold Tresman for their initiatives and hard work in bringing together enough interested and able people to form a successful society. Tresman’s recollections of these early days were described in his Keynote Address to the 1993 Cambridge Conference, in the C&CR 1993 Special Issue.Prior to the inaugural meeting, SIS Newsletter No.2, dated Sept 1975, had been sent to as many members and potential members as possible. It contained, among other articles, a provocative paper by John Day, presenting convincing evidence against nine of Velikovsky’s key points from Ages in Chaos. This was followed by Newsletter No.3, re-titled SIS Review Volume 1 No.1, and by SISR1: 2, containing an equally convincing refutation of Day’s points by Martin Sieff assisted by Peter James. This set the pattern for things to come. Workshop No.1, intended as a quarterly ‘less formal’ publication than Review, was dated March 1978, and Workshop continued until 1995, when it was merged with the C&CR.In 1977 and 1978 Velikovsky’s last two published volumes in the AIC series appeared. These were Peoples of the Sea [20] and Rameses II and His Time [21]. Sadly, further important volumes, including ‘The Dark Ages of Greece’ and ‘The Assyrian Conquest’ remain formally incomplete and unpublished to this day, although most of Velikovsky’s unpublished works were made available in 1999 on the Internet. His main proposals in these two books, including D19 being the same as D26, there being a gap of some 150yrs between D18 and D19, and D20 and D21 being redated to the Persian and early Ptolemaic eras, were known well in advance, but failed to find support among leading SIS scholars. Workshop No.2 (July 1978) mentioned that Geoffrey Gammon ‘has outlined one or two alternative schemes which fit the facts better than Velikovsky’s Revised Chronology (RC).’ A special edition on Ages in Chaos material, edited by Peter James, including papers by Velikovsky and Eva Danelius, John Bimson and other major SIS revisionists, was published as SISR 2:3 (1977/78).

    First papers in Workshop from leading revisionist contributors include those from Michael Reade in 1978, Lester Mitcham 1980, Bernard Newgrosh 1981, Phillip Clapham 1981, David Rohl 1983, Gunnar Heinsohn 1983, Emmet Sweeney 1986, Tony Rees 1988, and Bob Porter 1989. Some impressive and scholarly contributions from these authors have continued to be published up to the present day. The first public meeting of the Society was held in Leeds in 1977, and with growing concern over apparently irreconcilable difficulties with Velikovsky’s RC, another conference, this time in Glasgow, was arranged in 1978.

    4.2 Velikovsky’s Peoples of the Sea and Rameses II and his Time

    These two volumes are part of Velikovsky’s attempt to show how, having identified Shishak as Tuthmoses III, the following dynasties of Manetho can be compressed into the much shorter time consequently available. This is some 500yr less than required by the CC. They contain many important examples of archaeological anachronisms, most of which are ignored by the Establishment and unexplained to this day. One of the reasons for the delayed publication of these volumes was Velikovsky’s attempt to get some radiocarbon dates from Ramesses II and III material. His numerous direct and indirect approaches to the Establishment were all to no avail. Their response was invariably the same – ‘we know the dates are correct, so there is no need to waste money on radiocarbon testing’.

    • ‘Peoples of the Sea’.Peoples of the Sea included much persuasive evidence that Ramesses III ruled during the Persian period. The book starts with one of those conundrums we would expect if the conventional chronology really was wrong by many centuries. Two of the world’s finest archaeologists, F L Griffiths and E Naville, worked together in the 1880’s at Tell-el-Yahudiyeh, just North of Cairo. Naville called this ‘The Mound of the Jew’ in recognition of the many Asiatics who had lived there. They found faience tiles from the palace of Ramesses III, many of which had Greek letters on the back of them. In the necropolis they found tombs, some undisturbed, with painted coffins and rough hieroglyphs typical of the Greek and Roman times. In the intact graves of two children they found scarabs of Ramesses III and his father Setnakht. In an almost unprecedented joint report, these two great archaeologists agreed to differ in their dating of the finds. Griffiths argued the scarabs firmly dated them to 12C, while Naville elected for a 4C date, assuming the scarabs were heirlooms. In their report, they elected instead to place the evidence for both opinions before the reader.Velikovsky pointed out that there could hardly be an 800yr gap between the pylon of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu and the almost identical Ptolemaic pylons at Edfu and Kom Ombo. And how did Medinet Habu survive unscathed when Cambyses was reported to have destroyed all the Egyptian temples? The famous battle scenes on the walls of Medinet Habu show Ramesses III fighting first against the Libyans, helped by some ‘prst’ troops. Later scenes depict his famous battle against the Sea Peoples (more correctly translated as ‘Peoples of the Isles’), who included the ‘prst’ and troops from other lands. Velikovsky claimed these scenes exactly mirrored the battles described by Diodorus as being victories by the Egyptian king Nectanebos. With every detail matching, the Nectanebos of Diodorus could hardly be other than Ramesses III. On the battle scenes, at first a people called the ‘Prst’ fight with the Egyptians to defeat the Libyans. Then the Egyptians and the Sea Peoples defeat the ‘Prst’, and in the later battle the Egyptians defeat the combined forces of the Sea Peoples and the ‘Prst’. The Persians are called ‘Prstt’ in the trilingual Ptolemaic Canopus decree. In other Egyptian texts Persia is named as ‘Prs’. In Iran, Persian soldiers like those seen at Medinet Habu are depicted on the monuments at Persepolis. The Persians were also the only large invading army known to carry their concubines with them by the cartload during their campaigns. Carts full of unfortunate women and children are clearly depicted on the battle murals, prompting the conventional explanation that the ‘Sea Peoples’ were a people on the move, looking for a new homeland for their families. Since their chronology precludes them from drawing the obvious conclusion, Egyptologists insist that we must believe that the ‘Prst’ were not Persians but the Philistines of Biblical fame. Why the Philistines should be roped in to help the Egyptians fight the Libyans, then soon afterwards think themselves strong enough to turn round and take on the might of the Egyptian army and be defeated twice by them, is never explained. Not a hint of any such events can be gleaned from the OT during the Judges era.The Greek name ‘Nectanebos’ was explained by Velikovsky as being equivalent to ‘Nekht-a-neb’, listed by the famous British Museum Egyptologist Wallis Budge as one of the Horus name of Ramesses III. He was initially appointed by the Persians, who then helped him secure his Western borders against the Libyans. Babylon was adopted by the Persians as one of the capitals of the Persian Empire, along with many of its gods. Perhaps Ramesses III dropped this politically expedient Horus name, with its implied worship of the Babylonian god Nebo, when he declared his independence.

      Having placed much of D20 in the Persian era, Velikovsky then showed that D21 overlapped with, and extended beyond D20 into the Ptolemaic era. Archaeological ‘proof’ of Velikovsky’s placement of Psusennes I of D21 in the Persian era was provided by the French archaeologist Pierre Montet. Excavating at Tanis in 1939 he found an 11C temple of the D21 ‘pharaoh’ Psusennes I. Beneath the corners of the temple he found some items placed there for good luck as foundation deposits when the structure was built. Unfortunately for Montet, these items were found to be dateable to Osorkon II of D22 and Nectanebo I of D30. He was therefore obliged to invent an explanation for these anachronisms. He chose to say that all the thousands of stone building blocks had been dismantled and later reused, but in a different order, so old stones were replaced on top of new stones. He remained silent as to why, with no shortage of building materials, they should have gone to all that trouble to build on exactly the same site.

      Velikovsky also showed how a much-ignored ‘difficult’ Egyptian text on the Maunier stele could be read as a record of Alexander’s visit to the Siwa Oasis, where he was confirmed as an Egyptian god.

      It is ironic that in 1979, the year of Velikovsky’s death, M Bitak [22] gave a lecture to the British Academy at which he reported that, at Tell el Daba in the Eastern Delta, Ramesses III material was found directly below the Ptolemaic strata. No mention was made of any weathered strata to account for the intervening 800yr. And then, in the following year, the first independent carbon 14 date for Ramesses III material was published (see section 6.2). The material tested was dated to 345BCE +/-75yr, a result that would have given Velikovsky much satisfaction.

    • ‘Ramesses II and his Time’.Rameses II and his Time included a study of the war of Ramesses II (R2) against the Hittites. Velikovsky showed in much detail how the Egyptian records of R2’s exploits, including the Poem of Pentaur, closely match the exploits of an Egyptian king as described in the Old Testament, where he was given the name ‘Necho’. No shred of evidence for any of the exploits of the Biblical ‘Necho’ has been found in Egyptian records which can be attributed to either of the pharaohs that Egyptologists have chosen to call Necho 1 or II. He concluded that R2 was the Biblical Pharaoh Necho, that the battle of Kadesh took place at Carchemish on the Euphrates, not on the Orontes, in 605BC. This left a gap approaching 200 years between the end of D18 and the start of D19.Since copies of a peace treaty between R2 and the Hittite king Hattusilis III had been found in both Egypt and Hattusas, Velikovsky saw that the Hittites would also have to be re-dated. His initial approach to this problem was to argue that Hattusilis III was the Hittite name for the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, and that the Hittite and Neo-Babylonian kings were the same. To improve the ‘match’ he suggested that Nergilissar and his son Labash-Marduk reigned before Nebuchadnezzar, not afterwards as generally accepted. But unfortunately, problems in relating the Hittites to the Assyrian and Babylonian rulers caused problems that could not easily be overcome.Velikovsky also cited in his support the still unresolved problem of Hiram’s tomb. At the ancient Phoenician port of Byblos, a royal tomb of King Hiram was found in 1922 containing an Egyptian vase with a cartouche of Rameses II on it dated to 13C. In the same tomb were also found texts in Hebrew writing and items of Cypriot pottery, both dated to 9C, i.e. nearly 500 years more recent. The archaeologist, pressed to explain the inexplicable, said that probably a tomb robber had entered the tomb 500 years after it had been sealed, and instead of stealing the contents, put the Cypriot pottery inside before resealing the tomb. Few were convinced, yet much to the dismay of epigraphists, the Hebrew texts were then awarded the early Egyptian dates, which at once made a mockery of all the accepted principles of the development of early writing.
  • 4.3 1978 to 1982. The Glasgow Conference and the Glasgow Chronology.The SIS Glasgow conference was well attended. Velikovsky wrote a paper for the event, but ill health sadly made his attendance impossible, so it was read in his absence. An alternative revision called the Glasgow Chronology (GC) was then developed by SIS revisionists over the next four years. It retained the AIC synchronisms, reducing the dates for D18 by around 500yr, and leaving the remaining dynasties in their numerical sequence but with extensive overlapping. It was a joint effort mainly by Gammon, James and Bimson. Bimson in particular produced some high quality papers in support of the GC. His Glasgow conference paper had tackled stratigraphy, an issue he said Velikovsky had failed to address adequately. He argued that the archaeological ages in Palestine could be revised to accommodate Tuthmoses III as Shishak, with the start of the Iron Age down-dated by some 500 years. Other important papers by him supported an 8C date for Merenptah and a 9C date for the wars of Seti I, linking each convincingly with evidence from the OT and the archaeology of Palestine.The GC was eventually abandoned quite suddenly in 1982, due to an inability to compress the dynasties following D18, including D20 and D21 into the time available prior to the well-attested Assyrian invasion by Esarhaddon. Unfortunately those involved did not document the details of their work, or the many avenues explored, the basis for their interpretation of the evidence examined, and the reasons why they collectively failed. Indeed, with no funds available for such work, one could hardly expect them to do so. However, this left SIS members being asked to abandon their faith in Velikovsky’s 500-year gaps without fully understanding why, and to adopt instead the New Chronologies of either Rohl or James. Not all, it must be said, have been willing to do this.The Glasgow Conference Proceedings, entitled ‘Ages in Chaos?’ were published in 1982. In it James had added a Postscript indicating his move away from the AIC synchronisms. The authors’ unanimous view was that Shishak could not have been Tuthmoses III. But did they actually prove this? Or did they prove only that, given the evidence considered and their rules for its interpretation, they were unable to condense Egyptian history into the remaining time available? Was this a failure in fact, or a failure in interpretation? Either way, the credibility of Velikovsky as a historian was dealt another heavy blow.
  • 4.4 J Dayton and ‘Minerals, Metals, Glazing and Man’Before moving past 1978, a major publication in that year by John Dayton must be mentioned, entitled Minerals, Metals, Glazing and Man [23]. This was reviewed enthusiastically by James in SISR 3:4, who said ‘…Dayton develops his work, which started out as a simple study of glazing technology…into a massive and devastating attack on traditional chronology…In challenging the accepted dates and synchronisms of the…Bronze Ages, his work is potentially more disruptive than Ages in Chaos itself…’. In 1971, when a student at the London Institute of Archaeology, Dayton wrote a paper in World Archaeology on ‘The Problem of Tin in the Ancient World’ [24]. This demonstrated that metallurgy and related arts spread along trade routes from Europe into the Near East, not from East to West, as is the popular view. The Bronze Age, contrary to current dogma, could not have started in Mesopotamia, where the required metals are absent. By exposing so much establishment dogma about the sources of metal ores, metallurgy, and their use in bronze and iron artefacts as false and misleading, he caused great annoyance to the English establishment. Their response, since they were powerless to avenge themselves on Dayton, was to take steps that led to the closure of the university section that had fostered him.Using uncorrected and relative C14 dates, he showed an overall picture ‘of metallurgy developing earlier in the regions (unlike Mesopotamia) where metals do in fact occur.’ He identified the emergence of new technological achievements as a means of correlating cultural phases. Accepting the local unreliability of C14 dating, he cited the extraordinarily wide range of C14 dates from nine samples of grain from a sealed storage jar found buried at Thera (2037, 1850, 1420, 1350, 1394, 1300, 1110, 960, and 900).Dayton’s glazing study showed just how much this term has been misused by archaeologists, and revealed Petrie’s 1500-year chronological blunder. Petrie had written in his 1902 Abydos 2 Report ‘We have already noted the difficulty of these things being found at such a high level. But whatever dates they were placed there, it is clear that the objects are ALL of the First Dynasty. At the beginning of the First Dynasty we meet the art of glazing fully developed, not only for large monochrome vessels but also for inlay of different colours. Certainly no advance on new lines appears until in the 18th Dynasty.’ To explain this, Petrie claimed that a new civilisation must have moved into Egypt, taken over the country and united it. These people brought with them a fully developed glazing technology, and the use of ware ‘with a body identical to that with that of later Aegean or Mycenaean pottery…’. Where these people may have come from he did not explain, and over the following century no evidence for such an advanced 4th millennium BC civilisation has been found anywhere. But amazingly, Egyptologists believed him. None challenged Petrie over this claim, although he himself was well aware that his excavators were digging in what was already disturbed ground.

    Petrie’s unshakable belief in the early emergence of fully developed technologies had a devastating effect on chronology. By 1891 he had developed pottery sequences for Egypt that were then applied, with their Egyptian dates, first at Lachish and then to the rest of Palestinian archaeology. This led directly to the confusion we find in Middle Eastern archaeology to this day.

  • 4.5 Glaring Glazing AnachronismsDayton’s glazing study revealed some new and important anachronisms. Set against conventional dating, he found the first crude attempts to glaze clay seen in 14C Mitanni. Around this time glazing in early D18 Egypt also ‘takes a great leap forward.’ Glazing in the Near East went on to reach high standards, but in Mesopotamia it died out c13C with the fall of Mitanni. In Elam glazing had a brief flowering in the Mitanni style before dying out when Elam was conquered by Babylon in 12C. In Egypt, the last high quality glazing was found in Ramesses III’s time, early 12C. After this Dayton found a gap of some 300yr until the Neo-Assyrian conquests of 9C, where he found again crude attempts at glazing. For example, Assurnasirpal II’s palace has a ‘…scene in black on a poor blistery white glaze.’ This was far from the perfection reached some 600yr earlier in Mitanni, so he concluded the craft had died out and had to be rediscovered. Dayton noted ‘polychrome faience production dies out in Egypt’ after Ramesses III (CC 1198-1166BC), and did not reappear on large scale until D26 (CC c664BC) – a hiatus of c500yr. Also, tin and antimony glazes first appeared at 14thC Amarna and their next appearance was in 9thC Phoenicia.Although unaware at that time of Velikovsky’s proposed revision, Dayton suggested downdating the end of the LBA and the invasion of the Sea Peoples by some 300yr from c1200BC to c900BC.
  • 4.6 Glazing Anomalies Resolved by the Glasgow ChronologyBimson, in SISR 7A (1982) pointed out that a 500yr rather than the 300yr downdating mentioned by Dayton would perfectly explain Dayton’s most important anomalies. Removing the 300yr gap did not solve the problem.’It removes the curious 300yr gap but replaces it with another anomaly. For it places the crude glazes of 9C immediately after the fine glazes of the Late Bronze Age (LBA) without any explanation for the sudden regression.This situation seems rather improbable.’ Bimson showed that the GC gives a very good fit with the development of glazing. All the crude glazing attempts, i.e. the early D18 and the Assyrian glazes of Assurnasirpal now date from the same time – the beginning of the technique. There is no question of a gap, a regression, or a re-learning. Similarly, the GC makes the Neo-Elamite ware made of Egyptian Blue, dated 9C, contemporary with Mitannian ware with similar decorations. Dayton found 9-8C glazes from Assyria similar to LBA glazes from the Levant, and suggests 9-8C Phoenicians were trading in the same ores to produce the same glazes. Bimson said a better explanation was to lower the date of the (LBA) glazes to 9-8C. He concluded ‘The facts collected by Dayton can be brought into a logical scheme when Velikovsky’s D18 dates and the GC dates for D19 and D20 are applied to the relevant finds.’In the same Review, Dayton replied to Bimson saying that, since publishing his book, he had done some further work on chronology. He fully supported Bimson’s 500yr downdating, and he made two further points:-
    1. The Phoenicians did not stop making glass c14C, then start again c800BC.
    2. The Etruscans did not leave the Trojan area c1150BC, and turn up again in Tuscany c750BC. ‘Aeneas’ he explained, ‘would have been quite an old man by then.’

    Bimson, after the fall of the GC, added a later Postscript in SISR 7A saying he now preferred to go back to the original view, as suggested by Dayton in his book, that the ‘gap’ was around 300yr. But he accepted that Dayton’s points ‘do reveal certain weaknesses in the new scheme relative to the GC,’ which he hoped would be discussed as the New Chronology was developed.

5. 1982-1990 – P. James, D. Rohl, and G. Heinsohn lead in New Directions.

  • 5.1 The James-Rohl ChronologyDespite the failure of the GC, four leading revisionists, James, Gammon, Bimson, and Newgrosh remained convinced that the CC was seriously flawed. There were simply too many anachronisms to believe otherwise. So they set about building upon the work they had already done to construct a more sustainable revision.The first revision to emerge was published in outline by James and Rohl in Workshop 5.2 (Apr83). This was based upon Shishak being Ramesses II and became known as the ‘James-Rohl’ revision. It derived key support from Ramesses II ‘s monumental evidence for Palestinian campaigns, and from Jewish legends implying that Shishak was also Solomon’s father in law. They argued that Ramesses II was the only king reigning long enough to have sacked Gezer for his daughter’s dowry, and then, much later, to have plundered Solomon’s temple after his death. The famous reference to Israel in Merenptah’s stele was interpreted as a reference to Ramesses II /Shishak’s campaigns to pacify Palestine and Syria, in which his son Merenptah served perhaps as an army General. The Amarna era was placed in the time of Saul, so the marauding armies of the ‘Apiru’ became the Hebrews battling during the Judges period. This revision allowed about 150 years more than that allowed by Velikovsky for the remaining dynasties to be fitted in before the Assyrian invasion of D26, a task which, overall, appeared much more feasible.
  • 5.2 The Formation of ISIS.By 1976, the SIS was firmly established as the first British forum for the further study of Velikovskian Catastrophism. By 1984, James and Rohl recognised that history revisionism would benefit from an increasing and specialist input from academics and researchers. Together they initiated the establishment of a separate Institute for the Study of Interdisciplinary Sciences, divorced from both Velikovsky and catastrophism. This was intended to provide an academic branch organisation under whose auspices funds could be raised to sponsor the necessary research studies, and premises acquired in which to house a revisionist’s library. ISIS was founded in 1985, and went on between 1987 and 1995 to produce seven exceptionally well-produced Journals, entitled The Journal of the Ancient Chronology Forum, JACF. Volume 8, to the same high standard, was issued in late 1999. ISIS now has its own web site [www.newchronology.org/], where more information is available.
  • 5.3 David Rohl and the New Chronology; Will It Stand the Test of Time?Rohl’s New Chronology (NC), as far as it had then been developed, was published in 1995 in his splendid and well-publicised book ‘A Test of Time‘ [25]. A supporting TV documentary brought examples of the flawed Egyptian chronology to the attention of millions of viewers around the world. His book and TV series have done the revisionist cause an immense service in achieving a wide public awareness of the lack of credibility of the conventional chronology. However, the NC has failed to find majority support among revisionists, and has been almost ignored by the Establishment. Much discussed in SIS publications, its main weaknesses appear to be (i) the lack of convincing evidence for an equivalent to Shishak’s campaign against the fenced cities of Judah and Jerusalem; (ii) the placement of the wars of Seti I in Palestine and Syria in the middle of Solomon’s age of peace and prosperity; (iii) identifying the Habiru with the conquering Hebrews, which finds little archaeological support; and (iv) no convincing resolution to the dates for the kings of D20 – D22. Rohl has, however, as the latest JACF shows, retained the support of some leading revisionists, who are working with him to develop the NC in more detail.
  • 5.4 Peter James, Centuries of Darkness, and an Alternative New Chronology.In 1987 James ceased to support Rohl’s revision, and came out in support of Ramesses III as Shishak. In ‘Centuries of Darkness‘ (COD) [26] published in 1991, James and four other scholars (I J Thorpe, N Kokkinos, R Morkot, and J Frankish), concluded that the BC Dark Ages were the direct product of a faulty Egyptian chronology. Its main purpose was to expose the archaeological problems of the Dark Ages as largely fictitious, imposed on archaeologists by the CC. It contains a particularly valuable chapter entitled ‘Exaggeration of Antiquity’ which gives a broad sweep across ancient history, relating mistakes made by early kings in their inscriptions, and exposing a general desire to exaggerate antiquity. Inconsistencies in the early Mesopotamian king lists are pointed out, which make their use in chronological arguments highly suspect. James also looked closely at key historical synchronisms between the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Elam, and the Hittites, and exposed most of those currently accepted as ‘fact’ to be highly dubious. He then suggested ‘a provisional alternative (chronological) scheme’ in a chart covering the period from c1100-600BC. An explanatory note tells us ‘The result is a substantial lowering in time of the New Kingdom, and with it the Late Bronze Age of the Eastern Mediterranean.’ His overall view, stated in 1999 on the Internet, is that up to 250yr may be deducted from the conventional chronology of Egypt ‘but not a day more’. This, it must be admitted, did cause some surprise among those who found within his book probably the largest collection of evidence for Dark Ages of over 250yr that has yet been published.Establishment criticisms of COD appeared in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal in 1991 from several archaeologists. To these James et al offered a robust defence in the same Journal in 1992, which ended by putting the onus back on the critics ‘to provide between them a better general strategy for resolving the abysmally muddled state of LBA to Iron Age archaeology’. Five years after COD first appeared, in April 1996, British Archaeology published a short article by James. In it he drew attention to a number of recent archaeological finds that have seriously challenged the conventional dating of Israelite stratigraphy. The resulting controversy, along with informal comments from other Egyptologists, permitted James et al to claim ‘the debate may be coming round their way’. He reported that two conventional scholars, John Ray of Cambridge University and Aidan Dodson have ‘both stated in print that the Egyptian chronology could be lowered by some 50 years.’ Neither have, however, been brave enough to propose an alternative to Shishak = Shoshenq I.
  • 5.5 G Heinsohn and the Evidence of StratigraphyHeinsohn has made a very important contribution to the revisionist debate by focussing attention on the evidence of stratigraphy outside Egypt. Dayton had uncovered many examples in museums around the world where near identical ancient artefacts of very similar styles and manufacturing techniques were given dates which varied sometimes by as much as 1000-1500 years. Heinsohn, from an extensive study of archaeological reports from most of the better known sites across Asia Minor, showed how these anachronisms had arisen. At site after site, archaeologists had artificially increased the age of the lower strata by inserting, without supporting evidence, ‘occupation gaps’ of many centuries. They did this in order to meet the expectations of excessive antiquity among historians, who had used Biblically derived dates for Abraham (c. 2100), initially seen as broadly contemporary with the great Assyrian king Hammurabi. Using this elongated time frame, great empires of the past such as the Sumerians, Akkadians and Old Babylonians were invented by late 19th C and early 20th C scholars to fill the historical voids. The ancient Greek and Roman historians, not surprisingly, knew nothing of these ancient peoples. Sumerian, said Heinsohn, ‘is the language of the well known Kassite/Chaldeans, whose literacy deserves its fame’.He showed that the Bronze Age started in China and Mesoamerica some 1500 years later than in the Near East and proposed this gap be largely closed by lowering the ages of the Mediterranean civilisations. He cited the Indus Valley where the early period civilisations, dated from Mesopotamian seals to c. 2400BC, sit right underneath the Buddhist strata of 7-6C. Seals from Mesopotamia are found in the Indus valley and in Mesopotamia there are seals from the Indus Valley. So the excavators have to say they have an occupation gap of some 1700 years. Thus some sites only about 30km apart have chronologies some 1500 years apart. But in the same strata, supposedly 1500 years apart, they frequently find the same pottery.C&CR had insufficient space to provide a full forum for Heinsohn’s work, but a volume entitled Ghost Empires of the Past was published in C&CR format in 1988, thanks to help from SIS stalwarts Birgit Liesching and Derek Shelley-Pearce. In this, Heinsohn set out many chronological ‘problems’ and ‘riddles’, and argued persuasively for equating, among others, the Mittani with the Medes (as did Velikovsky) and the Empire Hittites with the Late Chaldeans.

    His excellent paper on the archaeology of Hazor (C&CR 1996:1) revealed some important anachronisms. For example, two cuneiform tablets written in Old-Babylonian Akkadian and two more written in the Akaddian of the Amarna era were found in the upper layers of the site. Heinsohn asks ‘How did tablets from the early second millennium end up in a stratum reaching its peak in the period of the Persian Empire (550-330 BC)?’. The tablets were, of course, immediately labelled ‘heirlooms’ by their finders. But, as Heinsohn pointed out, it seems strange that the later Hazoreans kept tablets for over 1000yr as heirlooms from the MBA or LBA, yet were apparently incapable of producing any texts of their own. Also, a clay jar inscribed in 23C Old-Akkadian was found in the Hyksos layer c17C. Yes, you’ve guessed – this was explained as yet another boring old ‘heirloom’. Heinsohn makes a plea to archaeologists to ‘set textbooks aside and allow oneself the liberty of following reason and hard stratigraphical evidence’. The textbook schemes ‘separate by enormous time spans what is found in parallel stratigraphical locations, exhibiting very similar material cultures.’ Unfortunately for archaeologists, the writers of the textbooks are often the ‘Guardians of the Dogma’ who control the funding for archaeological research. As a result, an archaeologist brave enough to confront conventional thinking may quickly find himself both professionally discredited and out of a job.

    Heinsohn has presented many well-researched papers exposing stratigraphical problems, and suggesting much lower chronologies for Near Eastern civilisations. His stratigraphy and stylistic-based chronologies and, more recently his explanation for the ‘lost’ Persian layer throughout the Persian Empire have generated much debate and some unanswered controversy among revisionists.

6. The 1990’s – Open Season for Revisionists.

  • 6.1 An OverviewThe last decade has seen no clear winner emerge for ‘The Most Favoured Revision’ award. While our leading scholars tend to agree that Shishak must have been Ramesses II or III, a number of other schemes have been proposed by contributors to the SIS. For the sake of brevity I have tried below to give just a flavour of some of the various alternative revisions on offer. They are grouped into three categories based on the identification of Shishak.In my view the correct identification of Shishak constitutes a first step towards getting the chronology right. This will lead to a revised Egyptian chronology from D18 down to the Ptolemaic era, along with a reclassification of the archaeological ages used outside Egypt. Step 2 will be to agree, if this is deemed possible, an identification for the Pharaoh of the Famine at the time of Joseph. Both Dayton and Heinsohn have shown that a major downdating is required of the earliest eras. As Dayton pointed out, the corpus of material from the grave of Hetepheres, mother of Cheops, who built the Great Pyramid, belongs clearly to the MBA. There is also very strong evidence, both historical and linguistic, for an early Hebrew sojourn in Egypt. Step 2 will lead to a revised length for the Second Intermediate Period (SIP), and further downdating of the earlier historical epochs, including the era of the pyramid builders, in both Egypt and throughout Mesopotamia.Apologies are offered in advance to those not mentioned in this section, as well as to those who are, and to those whose opinions have changed since their work was published. Unfortunately space here does not permit either more extensive coverage, or a recognition of the full value of their contributions to the revisionist debate. Any readers interested in this subject can find out more, including how to access previous SIS publications, from the addresses provided in the SIS Web site at www.sis-group.org.uk

    6.2 Mainstream Revisionists.

  • This group are working on revisions based around Shishak = Ramesses II, III, or V1. It includes scholars such as Rohl, James, Bimson, and Newgrosh, along with others who have contributed extensively to the SIS over the last 25yr. Among these, the following are briefly mentioned: –Martin Sieff was a SIS founder member and valuable contributor in the early days up until around 1982. He continued to contribute to the revisionist debate in Catastrophism and Ancient History, a journal no longer in production. In 1993 in ‘The Velikovskian’ Vol. 2:3, published by that great Velikovskian stalwart Charles Ginenthal, he gave his own personal view of the history of the revisionist debate. He was impressed with Courville’s work, along with that of Heinsohn and Tom Chetwynd. *He made the important point that Courville’s placement of the Exodus at the end of the EBA ‘has been endorsed by two of the world’s leading mainstream archaeologists, Rudolf Cohen of Israel, Director of Antiquities of the Negev (Desert) and Prof. Emmanuel Anati of Brescia, Italy, the world’s leading expert on ancient rock art’. Neither of these mainstream scholars, however, attempted a chronological revision, but Anati concluded that the ‘gap’ caused by pushing back the Exodus date could have been filled by one or two ‘lost’ OT books from the Judges era. The SIS rather neglected these scholars, since at that time it was more focussed on developing the NC. Sieff also criticised both Velikovsky and the main SIS revisionists for their acceptance of Thiele’s OT chronology.Tony Rees has also been absent from SIS pages for some time, but was a fierce critic of Rohl’s NC. He has produced a number of unpublished revisions that tend to support downdating of around 250-200yr. These will stand or fall depending upon the reliability of dates derived from astronomical retrocalculations of ancient reports of events that are assumed to be eclipses. One of his best known contributions was a short series of papers drawing attention to the monumental evidence. This showed how reused blocks of stone throughout Egyptian history impose a limit on the degree to which Egyptian chronology can be shortened. His paper on ‘Artificially Structured Biblical Chronologies’ (C&CR16, 1994), explaining the cabalistic meaning behind some of those unbelievable Bible numbers, may also prove very significant. He has also given us the ‘Rees Axiom’, a useful analytical approach when reviewing various alternative revisions. This states ‘It is not what is in a revision that will ultimately cause it to fail, but what is left out’. Revisionists have been warned!

    Bob Porter is a scholar developing his own revision. In this he places the Exodus at the end of the Old Kingdom, the Conquest at the end of the EBA thus largely eliminating the SIP, then follows Rohl more or less for the New Kingdom onwards. He is perhaps most valued for his unofficial role as SIS ‘archaeological consultant’. His regular and excellent articles keep the readership up to date about what is happening in the real world of Middle Eastern archaeology. In a paper (C&CR 13, 1991) on the archaeology of Shiloh – once the home of the Ark of the Covenant – he ably demonstrated a number of ways in which it is possible to misinterpret the pottery dating systems now in use. He asks a very pertinent question: Surely early pottery centres made a range of pottery of different qualities and styles to suit the requirements and pockets of different customers. If so, why does each different type tend to be given different archaeological ages? He reminds us from time to time that professional archaeologists as well as revisionists can disagree widely on questions of identification of strata and dating. He also comments regularly on the use of scientific dating methods, and points out that the English and Irish oak tree rings sequences cannot be used for dating early events with any confidence until they have been fully published and independently audited.

    Geoffrey Barnard (GB) has recently published his own revision, called the Absolute Chronology. This was presented with a minimalist supporting argument, and appears to propose Ramesses VI as Shishak. An informed critique of it from other revisionists is awaited with interest.

  • 6.3 Ages in Chaos Revisionists.Revisionists in this group are those working on the basis that Tuthmoses III was Shishak (T3=S). This was the basis of the revisions of Velikovsky and Courville, and the T3=S equation retains significant support among others.Tony Chavasse has completed a revision based on T3=S, in part by preferring Josephus and Whiston’s Biblical dates to those of Thiele. By dating Solomon to 1050-1010 his revised chronology retains Manetho’s dynastic sequence, with overlaps in places, from D18 through to D26. He has then gone on to use this chronology to identify in detail a number of catastrophe cycles of 30yr and upward duration. These cycles point to another major event in the ‘Typhon series’, caused by impacts with extraterrestrial material, occurring again in 2011. He is now devoting much effort to creating an awareness of this, so steps may be taken to mitigate the effect of the pending impact.Michael Reade, after his ground-breaking, and as yet largely unchallenged analysis of the Ninsianna (Venus) Tablets and ‘Star Ceilings’ found in Egyptian tombs, has identified an ‘Era of Disturbances’ around the approximate dates 880-740BC. He continues to work on historical synchronisms around this era, and is quietly confident a solution will gradually emerge which confirms the T3=S equation, although he accepts this may take some time to achieve.

    Jan Sammer was at one time a researcher for Velikovsky, and like Eddie Schorr amassed a lot of evidence against the myth of the Greek Dark Ages. He has recently made a huge contribution to the revisionist’s cause by helping to make much of Velikovsky’s unpublished work available in 1999 via the Internet. In a note near the end of Velikovsky’s paper on applying radiocarbon dating, he has drawn to our attention to the publication, in a Canadian Medical Journal, of the first known independent radiocarbon dating of the linen wrapping of a mummy firmly dated to the reign of Setnakht. The date obtained was 345BCE +/- 75yr.[27]

    Dale Murphie is an Australian, and a long time scholar of ancient history. While his revision has not yet been published, his papers so far clearly show support for the T3=S equation. In a recent paper in AEON, he has also shown that the archaeological evidence from Timna can be interpreted as offering support to Velikovsky’s placement of Ramesses III. In a paper in C&CR 1998:1 he suggests that it is wrong to assume that Manetho’s dynasties should automatically be read as being in chronological order. He promises soon to rekindle belief in Ramesses II = the Biblical Necho, and Ramesses III = the Nectanebos of Diodorus, as first proposed by Velikovsky in Rameses II and His Time and Peoples of the Sea. While hoping this may not prove ‘a bridge too far’, we all look forward to his next publications.

  • 6.4. More Radical Revisionists.For this group, either Shishak, as dated broadly by the Thiele chronology, is identified with Egyptian kings before Tuthmoses III or after Ramesses VI, or both the Egyptian and OT chronologies are revised downwards, which in turn redefines the Shishak placement.Emmett Sweeney, a contributor to many early Workshops, must be congratulated for achieving the distinction of now having had two revisionist books published; ‘The Genesis of Israel and Egypt‘ [28] and ‘The Pyramid Age‘ [29]. The latter in particular contains much well argued evidence in favour of a much lower Egyptian chronology, including the elimination of both the FIP and SIP. Although his conclusion that the three Giza pyramids were built c870-770BC have not found much support, the real value of his books lies in the very wide range of evidence he introduces in support of many of his proposed synchronisms.Eric Aitchison has been one of the most prolific revisionists in recent years, producing a revision in outline book format entitled ‘Concerto for History’, underpinned by a huge computer spreadsheet of synchronisms and interlocking dates. While a number of articles and sections from this revision have been published, unfortunately the whole was too lengthy for the Review. His work shows much familiarity in such areas as Calendars and Assyrian texts. In his revision, he identifies Ahmose as Shishak. This was driven by an awareness that the links involving Ahmose, Saul and Avaris were not in sympathy to the other links involving Hadad the Edomite, Solomon and Ahmose’s wife’s sister. If both sets rely on Ahmose then his reign was extra-ordinarily long. Working from the base of an Exodus in 1447 BC, 480 years before Solomon, and allowing the Hyksos period in excess of five hundred years, he placed the expulsion of the Hyksos in 936 BC.

    He has also offered new evidence in support of a placement of the Amarna synchronisms in the 8C, over a century later than the dates proposed by Velikovsky. His spreadsheet has unfortunately led to the identification of what he referred to as a ‘black hole’ in his revision. This suggests that some of the assumptions built into his spreadsheet may need to be revised, and hopefully further work will resolve these problems.

    Jesse Lasken has made some interesting contributions recently, including taking a fresh approach to interpreting the dynastic sequences as defined by Manetho. But his recent claim that some D18 pharaohs find their alter egos as rulers in the Ptolemaic era has disturbed those SIS readers who are aware that D18 is archaeologically proven to be contemporary with the Mycenaean Age. How he intends to overcome this apparently insurmountable hurdle remains to be seen.

    H Illig and AT Fomenko have not had details of their recent work published in C&CR, but the reader is referred to the 1998 Reviews for further information about these two radical revisionist’s theories. Our Chairman, Trevor Palmer has taken the trouble to prepare some detailed responses that oppose the radical reductions in British AD history suggested by these authors. This was published in C&CR 1999:2.

  • 6.5 ‘Significant Others’There have been many other valuable contributors who, if they are not working on their own revisions, are certainly interested and well informed participants in the chronological debate. These include the following:Phillip Clapham is better known today for his articles on mythology and catastrophism, but deserves recognition for his innovative first detailed revisionist study, in W4:3 1981, of the difficult TIP. Although inevitably faulty, his revision was influential in its day, and his initiative led the way by providing a methodology for others to follow. His most recently stated view is that the CC is probably extended by not more than about 50 years.Carl Olof Jonsson contributed two very important papers to the chronology debate. One, in SISR:4 1979, argued against Velikovsky’s interpretation of the archaeology of the Palace of Esagila at Babylon as offering support for a revised order of Neo-Babylonian kings. He concluded instead that the conventional order of these kings, with Nebuchadnezzar preceding Nergilissar and Labash-Marduk, was correct. In his other paper, in C&CR9, 1987, he set out in detail the several independent lines of supporting evidence, including many thousands of business documents, underpinning the conventional Mesopotamian chronology back to around 930BC. Revisionists ignore this evidence at their peril.

    Many others, including Steven Robinson, Brad Aaronson, Eva Danelius, and Jeremy Goldberg in the past, and Lynn Rose and Damien Mackey at present have made, and continue to make, valuable contributions to an on-going and lively debate in the revisionist arena.

7. The Revisionist Outlook for the New Millennium.

  • 7.1 Revisionists Are Still Needed.Ancient history as taught today is no less wrong now than it was 25 years ago. The history of the origins of many cultural and technological developments is seriously misunderstood. Discontinuities abound. Unresolved anachronisms continue to accumulate with each passing year. Just one consequence of this is that archaeological evidence for the United Monarchy era is conspicuous by its absence. The credibility of the Bible in general and of Old Testament history in particular is being undermined quite unfairly. We are very likely being misinformed by a teaching establishment, the leaders of which seem to us to be more concerned with their vested interests in perpetuating the existing dogma than with uncovering new truths. Their shameful unscholarly responses to the work of Velikovsky, Schorr, Dayton, and more recently to James and Rohl show just how vulnerable they believe their house of cards to be. A blinkered Establishment has failed to acknowledge the major problems caused by their chronology. Prof. K Kitchen, in October 1999, told an audience at a meeting of the Egyptian Exploration Society that the Egyptian chronology is correct to within not more than 10 years. They seem a very long way from admitting within academic institutions any serious study of possible alternative chronologies that might, overall, fit the broader collective evidence rather more convincingly.Remembering Kitchen’s 10 years, it is sobering to read a comment by H Jacquet-Gordon, in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology (1967) [30]. She showed clearly that Petrie had misread a stele of Osorkon I, crediting him with a reign that is some 20yr too long. She wrote ‘The text here has preserved for us…the season name ‘prt’…the words ‘day 26′, the year date having completely disappeared…’ due to the edge of the stele having been broken off. Yet thanks to this misreading, Petrie had allotted him a 36yr rule, 24 years beyond that shown by his latest monument. This stele had lain in University College London but ignored for over half a century. A 36yr reign has been quoted in error in all the 20th century reference works by the leading Egyptologists, including Sir Alan Gardiner. That such a text could remain unchecked for so long shows the stunning complacency of the Egyptology establishment concerning the accuracy of their chronology. A revision of Ancient History is still needed, and so are revisionists.
  • 7.2 Archaeology to the Rescue?Is it only a matter of time before the truth emerges from the ground? Sadly, this cannot be guaranteed. Archaeologists are required to interpret their finds strictly within the chronological timeframe laid down by the Establishment dogma. Since this timeframe is wrong, archaeologists have had to write for themselves a ‘Book of Excuses’ with which to explain away finds which do not fit conventional chronology. If a recovered object is too early, it is called an heirloom. If too late, it is dismissed as ‘intrusive’, or by saying the tomb it was found in was ‘reused’. If these can’t explain the offending anachronism, they have as a fallback a ‘Book of Very Daft Excuses’. A few of these have already been quoted, but here is another entertaining example.At Nimrud, that military stronghold of the great Assyrian warrior king Shalmaneser III, three large rooms full of ivories were found. Many of these were clearly made in Egypt in the Amarna era, the time of the famous heretic pharaoh Akhenaten in the 14th century BC. Unfortunately, Shalmaneser III is firmly dated by Assyrian chronology to the 8th century BC. The explanation for this anachronism, given by the British archaeologist David Oates, was published in the New York Times of 26th November 1961. The report was headlined ‘Ancient Swindle is Dug Up in Iraq’. It said ‘…the archaeologists had dug into an ancient Assyrian antique shop. The ‘Egyptian’ carvings had been cut by local craftsmen…to satisfy their rich clients’ demand for foreign ‘antiquities”. Yet the only evidence to support this claim was the conventional chronology. No explanations were given to such obvious questions as (a) why should fake ivories have been made in such quantities? (b) why were so many craftsmen employed at a military base on making fakes, rather than on making and repairing weapons of war? and (c) why were so many ivories later left abandoned there as worthless, undistributed and unsold. I am minded to ask was the ‘swindle’ ancient or modern, and who was the swindler?There remains one awkward fact that no archaeologist or Egyptologist has as yet been prepared to face. That is that the laws of archaeology and stratigraphy that are used to justify the Egyptian chronology have to be abandoned, or reversed, when it comes to justifying the existence of the Dark Ages. For in Greece during this period, similarity in style and material no longer means the items are near contemporary. Furthermore, one strata above another, with no evidence of abandonment, can still be interpreted as meaning that a 500yr gap existed between them. The same reverse of the general rule applies to the art historian’s principles concerning the gradual development of artistic styles, architectural traditions and technological advances. That Petrie should have been allowed to get away, for over a century, with claiming that the art of glazing emerged full developed at the start of the Egyptian Old Kingdom, simply beggars belief. And the Dark Age controversies do not go away. As the distinguished professor of archaeology A M Snodgrass [31] wrote of the Dark Ages some thirty years ago, ‘the whole matter remains a sorely vexed question, but it cannot be shirked.’ Yet Egyptologists continue to turn a blind eye to these problems. Nothing to do with them.

    The tide of archaeological problems continues to rise. Bimson, in JACF 8, discussed the finding in 1993 of the ‘House of David’ inscription on a stele at Tel Dan. As well as mentioning the ‘House of David’, Bimson says ‘We can now be fairly certain that the inscription gives a propagandistic account of the defeat of Jehoram (king of Israel) and Ahaziah (king of Judah) at Ramoth-Gilead and their subsequent deaths.’ He concludes that the king whose victory it celebrates is therefore Hazael. The stratum in which it was found, however, has been the subject of dispute. It suggests that a reinterpretation and lowering of Iron Age stratigraphy right across Palestine may be required. Bimson writes ‘In short, the full implications of the Tel Dan inscription for Iron Age stratigraphy and chronology have yet to be faced. When they are, its significance as a chronological anchor may turn out to be even more far reaching than its reference to the ‘House of David’.’

    Equally encouraging is that James et al continue to publish in academic journals, bringing their wide collective expertise to the attention of local archaeologists in different countries. They continue to promote a revision of Egyptian chronology as the best, if not the only way to explain and resolve the continuing crises in stratigraphic and palaeographic dating which is evident in recent archaeological reports for the period from c1200-650BC. Some conventional scholars are now debating the need for downdating the Israelite stratigraphy, a proposal welcomed by some archaeologists.

  • 7.3 Scientific and Astronomical Dating MethodsOver the last 25 years many SIS contributors, experts in their own fields, have produced a wealth of evidence all leading to the conclusion that scientific and astronomic dating methods are fundamentally flawed.

    Radiocarbon Dating – The basic assumptions upon which Libby based his claims for the reliability of C14 dating have now been shown to be incorrect. Partly because of this, and partly because of the faulty chronology, C14 dates are now used in the same way as is archaeological evidence. If the method does not give the expected answers, the samples, like the ceramic samples of Blegen at Troy, are said to be ‘contaminated’. Thus they are discarded unpublished. An example of this was the C14 dating by the British Museum of short life samples from the tomb of Tutankhamun. These gave dates roughly in line with those predicted by Velikovsky. Needless to say they were never published, which could be interpreted as the deliberate suppression of evidence. Due to the confusion C14 dates have caused, many mainstream archaeologists now refuse to use them.Ice cores – These may give better results, but they depend upon the theory that in a core, one sequence of ‘rings’ represents one year. This has recently been queried. As the snow falls, it traps within it small bubbles of air, along with any impurities, such as might derive from volcanic explosions forcing dust high enough into the upper atmosphere for it to be circulated round the globe. These snow layers then compact to form layers of ice. Dayton, in his paper to the 1995 Braziers Conference said there were only two ‘events’ which showed in both ice cores and tree rings that could be attributed to the Thera volcanic explosion – 1628BC and 1159BC. He explained the archaeological significance if the 1159 date turned out to be correct. Porter, in C&CR 98:1, reported the advent of micron-particle analysis from ice cores, and said this had showed that the 1628BC Thera date was now ruled out, since volcanic rock samples from Thera did not match the particles in the ice core. If the rings are correctly dated, and the process yields a positive match for the 1159BC event, this would lower the dates of Late Minoan pottery by Velikovskian proportions. The Mycenaean era and its links with the New Kingdom would also fall.

    Astronomical Dating – With Sothic dating now totally discredited except among a few Guardians of the Dogma, much of ancient history now hangs upon the threads of retrocalculated dates derived from ancient references to the sun or moon becoming obscured, which are taken to be eclipses. Faith in these depends partly upon the correctness of what is called the ‘astronomers dogma’. This is that the moon and earth have never, in human times, strayed from their present orbits. There is no evidence to support this dogma. However, there is a large body of evidence in ancient texts recording irregular and unexpected astronomical events. Early retrocalculated dates are therefore likely to be incorrect, and should never be used for primary dating purposes.

  • 7.4 Catastrophic Dating.Some have tried to develop their chronologies around global catastrophes. But, since the Exodus, no really widespread catastrophe across many nations has been mentioned in any ancient texts. My own view is that the term catastrophe is used far too loosely, with little evidence to explain the relationship between cause and event. In an earthquake zone like the Middle East, it may be better to sort out the chronology before deciding which of the ‘catastrophes’ might have some common cause. However, others argue that without synchronism of catastrophic events the chronology cannot be resolved. The many changes in alignments seen at temple sites around the world may arguably be linked to what Reade (C&CR 1997:2) calls a ‘period of disturbances’ during 9-8C. These, according to Reade, (C&CR 1996:2) could relate to an era when the earth appears to have suffered changes to its angle of axial tilt. Also, some historic sources do seem to suggest that small asteroid impact ‘events’, perhaps similar to that which occurred at Tunguska in Siberia in 1908, may have occurred previously in parts of the Middle East. And so the catastrophist debate continues.
  • 7.5 Israelor Greece as the Flash Points?In Israel, archaeologists are deeply divided over their historical heritage. Some, like Prof. Herzog according to an article in a recent Spectator [32], are denying the historical truth of the OT history, including the Sojourn, Conquest, and Solomonic eras, on the grounds that these, despite the Tel Dan stele, are not seen in the archaeological record. In contrast, Prof. Anati and R. Cohen have shown that the archaeological evidence at the end of the EBA can be interpreted to reflect very accurately the activities of Joshua during the Conquest as recorded in detail in the OT. To explain this early date Anati prefers to postulate one or two missing ‘Books of the Judges Era’ rather than propose a revision of the world’s ancient chronology – a choice both prudent and understandable. Ironically, by denying the existence of Solomon, Herzog is also denying the existence of Pharaoh Shishak, which is the primary pillar of the conventional Egyptian chronology that led to the ‘absence’ of the United Monarchy kings in the first place. It was this Egyptian chronology, based on the Biblical date for Shishak, which Petrie bequeathed Palestine, along with his faulty pottery dating sequence, when he first worked for the Palestine Exploration Fund on Lachish in 1891. No wonder the Israeli archaeologists are in such disarray. They should have realised that once the Dark Ages of Greece were imposed upon the ancient world, at a stroke they would effectively wipe out all history outside Egypt for the period from 12C to 8C – including Israel’s now missing Golden Age. There are good grounds, therefore, for Israel’s archaeologists to back their own historical records, and declare their chronological independence. They could rescue their country’s rightful heritage and historical soul by identifying a more likely Shishak for themselves, and leave the Egyptologists to sort out their own chronology problems.Greece could also do the same. For over a hundred years they have meekly accepted Egyptian dates, along with a Dark Age that goes totally against their own archaeology and their magnificently documented classical ancient history. Athens was never conquered by the Dorians, and has its own tradition of continuous kingship. Archaeology has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the Dark Ages did not exist. It is now time the Greek Establishment abandoned its exaggerated antiquity in favour of a continuous culture. It would, of course, require considerable courage to make a unilateral declaration of chronological independence, but courage is not a quality lacking in the historical traditions of either Greece or Israel.
  • 7.6The Deaf Establishment and Vested Interest.As said in the Introduction, the control exerted by today’s Establishment over what is taught, what is researched, and what is published in academic journals has never been greater. Innovators from outside academia have made many of our greatest breakthroughs in science in the past. Nowadays, however, it is much harder for outsiders to buck conventional wisdom and make real advances in our understanding of the world in which we live. The often anonymous ‘peer review system’ serves to maintain the status quo, but, as Dr. Thomas Gold wrote in 1989 [33], a jury system for major decisions in science would serve the public much better.Today, judging from the ever-increasing numbers of books and TV programmes, interest in matters ancient and Egyptological has never been greater. But publishing a book on chronology problems does not mean the Establishment will take any notice of it. Turning a deaf ear is a very effective response. Can anything make them sit up and take notice? Rohl’s TV programmes were the most effective yet in this area. His NC was briefly mentioned as ‘trial by television’ by Kitchen, and dismissed as nonsense in the latest edition of his TIP [34]. Kitchen also wrote a somewhat petulant letter to all his Establishment colleagues, in which he refers to Rohl’s work as ‘98% rubbish.’ Rohl, in JACF 8, has provided a well argued response to this letter, showing many of the arguments Kitchen used in his letter were fundamentally flawed.James et al, using conventional archaeological interpretations as far as possible, have undoubtedly made some impact on the thinking of some mainstream archaeologists, which is a major achievement. Perhaps the beginnings of an acceptance that a 50 years reduction in Egyptian chronology may be needed means that the Establishment has started to accept that their chronology is not invincible. Could this be the start of a negotiating process that will eventually lead to a reduction acceptable to both parties?

    But let no one be in any doubt as to the magnitude of the vested interest working against the revisionist. The careers, and reputations of the great and the good in the professions are on the line, and the consequences of accepting a major revision are enormous. Once a revised chronology is accepted, most current ancient history books and Egyptology books will have to be rewritten. So too will those that examine the early history of art, writing, literature, religion, and cultural and technological developments of every kind. New school textbooks will be needed. The history of early civilisations will have to be re-thought. Every archaeological report on every ancient site throughout the Mediterranean area and the Middle East will have to be re-examined and reinterpreted. Pottery sequence dating will require a radical overhaul. Every scientific dating method would need a fundamental reappraisal. At every ancient site, thousands of information leaflets, guidebooks, and notice boards will have to be revised. In hundreds of museums and universities around the world, and in countless private collections, hundreds of thousands of labels identifying ancient treasures and artefacts will have to be redated. And within the academia countless lecture notes, overheads, and other teaching aids will need correcting.

    There will therefore be a big price tag associated with the sweeping away of nearly two centuries of erroneous Manetho-inspired dogma. Vested interests will be a powerful force for maintaining the status quo. But hopefully they will eventually be opposed by public opinion when, as taxpayers, the public and their representatives, the politicians, realise these establishments are misleading present and future generations, and are not delivering good value for money. Sheer weight of public opinion may yet win the day.

  • 7.7 Proof Beyond All Reasonable DoubtThe near impossibility of forcing Establishments to accept new theories has troubled many scholars recently. In cosmology, another scientific world with which Velikovsky collided, the brilliant American astronomer Halton Arp [35] has now, by applying probability theory to his observations, proved beyond reasonable doubt that the underlying assumptions behind the concepts of the Big Bang and the Expanding Universe are wrong. The universe is not expanding. Yet the vested interest in the Big Bang, the huge research funding, and all that goes with it, is so great that still the Establishment will not accept Arp’s findings. But how could the theories and dogma of both Establishments, Cosmology and Ancient History, be so wrong for so long?Perhaps part of the answer lies in the similarities between the two. It is interesting to compare them, to see if ancient history revisionists can learn from their counterparts in cosmology.
    1. The cosmologist develops his theories mainly from observations discovered by astronomers, while the ancient historian develops his mainly from observations, including artefacts and texts, discovered by archaeologists.
    2. Astronomers and archaeologists both make ‘observations’ of past events. But they are required to interpret them so they do not offend the current dogmas of cosmology and ancient history.
    3. Astronomers find observations which don’t fit, and for which the current cosmology dogma provides no convincing explanation, which they call ‘singularities’. Archaeologists also find evidence that does not fit the chronological dogma, which they call ‘anachronisms’.
    4. Revisionists of cosmology have their mythical ‘Dark Matter’ to contend with, an invention of a flawed mathematical model. The astronomers can find no evidence for its existence. Revisionists of ancient history are likewise confronted with the modern myth of the Dark Ages in many countries, an invention of a flawed chronological theory. Archaeologists can find no evidence for their existence.
    5. In both astronomy and archaeology, one ‘singularity’ or anachronism can easily be explained away as an improbable coincidence of events, such as due to some type of observational or procedural error or misinterpretation. Often such explanations overstretch credulity.
    6. In cosmology, revisionists have for some time used the power of statistics to give a measure of probability that their new explanations of individual ‘singularities’ are correct. From the increasingly large numbers of such observations now being reported, they have proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the dogma of conventional cosmology is wrong. Ancient history revisionists have yet to apply any statistical analysis to the hundreds of anachronisms now reported. Statistics could be harnessed either to quantify the degree of improbability of the explanations offered by the Establishment, or the probability that the revisionist explanations are correct. This omission needs urgent rectification. The application of probability theory, and perhaps Bayesian statistics, to the hundreds of so-called ‘anachronisms should enable the revisionists to advance to a position where they, too, can demonstrate that the Establishment’s chronology is wrong beyond all reasonable doubt.

8. Concluding Comments.

  • 8.1 Velikovsky’s Pillars Supporting the Conventional Chronology have Changed.Velikovsky ended People of the Sea with an observation that the unduly high early conventional dates were supported primarily by three ‘Pillars’. These were (i) Sothic dating; (ii) that the Menophres of Theon, as mentioned by Censorinus (139AD), was Ramesses I, and dated c1321 BC. even though he was apparently not mentioned by Manetho; and (iii) the interpretation of Manetho’s king lists as a sequential list of rulers.Revisiting these ‘Pillars’ today, we note from the Establishment response to Centuries of Darkness and Test of Time that they did not mention Sothic Dating. In SISR4:1 1979 it was reported that Dr James Mellaart, London Institute of Archaeology, said ‘the astronomical date of 1872BC for Sesostris III yr7 cannot be upheld any longer, it must somehow be wrong astronomically, or refer to some D13 king’. And Porter (C&CR 13 p28) reported ‘the increasing abandonment of the Ebers Papyrus Sothic date in the early D18’ in 1991.At a meeting in 1998 of the Thames Valley Ancient Egyptian Society, a British Museum assistant curator from the Egyptology Department, who came to talk to us, replied to my two questions about Sothic dating as follows:
    1. ‘Does the Ebers Papyrus give a Sothic date?’ Answer, ‘It definitely has nothing to do with Sothic dating.’
    2. ‘Then why is the Sothic Date from the Ilahun Papyrus for the end of the MK still used?’ Answer – with a smile as he left the room at the tea break – ‘Because it fits.’

    This is a classical example of pure circular reasoning. Since the Establishment has been making it fit for over a hundred years, of course it ‘fits’. I think we can conclude that the younger members of the Establishment seem to accept that Sothic Dating has been discredited, but it will take a further generation before it ceases to constrain thinking at the highest and most influential levels.

    Most Egyptologists now shy away from what they often call the ‘thorny subject’ of chronology. However, recent articles suggest that three ‘pillars’ still remain for the high conventional chronology. Sothic dating has been replaced, in the minds of some, by a new ‘pillar’, the occasional reference to the corpus of carbon 14 dates. This ‘pillar’, however, is but an illusion; the inevitable consequence of including in archaeological reports only those carbon 14 results that fit the preconceived conventional dates. From reports in C&CR, this has been blatantly admitted by one or two archaeologists. Were all the analysed results published, C14 dating would be well and truly discredited.

    Behind the smokescreens, the truth is now that it is now only the two most important pillars of faith; a) the Manetho inspired Shishak = Shoshenk I equation, and b) faith in a sequential Manetho, that keep the early Egyptian dates artificially high. Thus, as James has pointed out, the Egyptian chronology for the New Kingdom is dependent upon a belief in Solomon and Biblical chronology. Once these pillars are demolished, and after the dust has settled, the fun will really start. The Establishment must then, with or without assistance from revisionists, find a convincing alternative Shishak. Once one is identified and agreed, we can start, with the help of evidence provided by the OT, Courville, Dayton, Heinsohn and others to attack the earlier dates. But that will be another story.

  • 8.2 The Shishak = Shoshenk I Pillar in Focus – Manetho revisitedThe first assumption concerning Manetho to be challenged must be the underlying belief that he knew all the names of all the Egyptian kings back to the earliest times. Can we really assume the Egyptians had complete and continuous records of all their kings? As Isaac Newton noted, some 80 years before Manetho complied his history of Egypt, the ancient Egyptian temple records were taken away by the Persian king Artaxerxes (III) Ochus [7], when he re-conquered Egypt after defeating a pharaoh whom both Manetho and Diodorus Siculus called Nectanebos, c340. Diodorus informs us that these records were later returned to Egypt on payment of a huge sum of money, and we have no reason to doubt him. But conquered countries not infrequently had their temple records removed. Cambyses had removed the Egyptian temple records when the Persians first conquered Egypt in 525, and there is no evidence these were later returned. It is also quite possible that the Egyptian records were largely destroyed during the long Hyksos era, and then again during the conquest by the Assyrians. They certainly smashed and looted temples and tombs in their search for silver and gold. We are therefore entitled seriously to doubt whether any of the records available to Manetho were either complete or reliable.If the Book of Sothis derives from Manetho, the second assumption to be queried is Manetho’s identity of Sheshonq as the Biblical pharaoh Shishak (Susakim or Sesac in other versions). Was this merely because the names were similar? With his penchant for exaggerating Egyptian antiquity, this would have served Manetho well. It may also explain why the name was interpolated into the Septuagint as Susakim. This, to the discomfort of the Establishment who claim D22 is Libyan, can be interpreted as ‘people, or men of Susa’. Manetho perhaps was unaware that the Hebrews sometimes liked to give nicknames to ancient foreign rulers. In the early Judges era for example, an Assyrian (Cushite) overlord who oppressed them was named as ‘Chushanrishathaim’ [Judges 3:8], which may be translated as ‘Cushite of double wickedness’. Jewish legends tell us the Pharaoh who slew Josiah on his way north to fight the Assyrians (or Babylonians), was nicknamed ‘Neco’, which means ‘hobbler’. He was so called because, when trying to mount Solomon’s golden throne he did not know the secret mechanism, and was struck on the leg and lamed by it [36]. SIS contributors have pointed out that according to Jewish legends the name ‘Shishak’ was also a nickname. They cite some ancient Hebrew words, such as shashak – meaning ‘assaulter’, and shikshak — meaning conqueror of Syria, from which root the name could have been derived. One legend says the name comes from the word ‘shuk’ – meaning ‘desire’ because of his great desire for Solomon’s death and the chance to recover the treasure [37]. It seems that these coincidences of names and nicknames could be the key unlikely chance occurrences that are the main original causes of the disaster we now know as the conventional chronology of Ancient Egypt.Whether or not the synchronism quoted by Syncellus in the ‘Book of Sothis’ was derived from Manetho, undoubtedly all the great Egyptologists of the 19th century were well versed in classical history, and knew of the ‘Susakeim’ appendage concerning Jerusalem. Champollion was, of course, delighted to claim confirmation of this synchronism. Although his reading of the monument in 1828 was later shown to be wrong in places, and Shoshenk’s list of cities were mainly in Israel, and contained none of the ‘fenced cities of Judah’, the synchronism has always been tenaciously defended. Why an Egyptian king should conquer cites in an Israel ruled by Jeroboam, effectively an Egyptian vassal, is never explained. And there is no evidence whatsoever to support their assumption that it must have been the ‘king’ Siamun, the last of D21, who took Gezer and presented it to the young Solomon as a dowry when he married Siamun’s daughter. It seems all the early Egyptologists, without ever setting foot in Egypt, were irreparably contaminated with a dogma, inherited from the early historians, which subsequently both guided and impaired their powers of deductive reasoning.

    Yet again we are drawn inexorably back to the credibility of Manetho, upon which so much of the conventional chronology hangs by the slimmest of threads. The Establishment chooses to pin all their faith on his synchronism of Shishak = Sheshonq. Yet amazingly, Manetho did not even know the identity of perhaps Egypt’s most important pharaoh, the one who expelled the Hyksos. Egyptian texts found some 50 years ago name him as Ahmose, the founder of D18, and describe the war against the Hyksos that led to their expulsion. But Manetho as quoted by Josephus thought this was achieved by ‘Tethmosis’, elsewhere called ‘Misphragmuthosis’, better known to us as Tuthmoses III. We will probably never know whether he got this wrong because the reconstructed temple records were so poor, because he simply did not know and was just guessing, or because he was deliberately trying to mislead his readers.

    Another assumption to be challenged, as Dale Murphy has pointed out in C&C R 1998:1, is the convention that Manetho’s dynasties are listed in chronological order. With the Egyptians well-known distaste for the mention of foreigners, what would be more natural than for Manetho, from the end of the Hyksos era onward, to list the Egyptian ruling dynasties and their acolytes first, before mentioning the foreign invaders and their appointees? This would explain why Dynasty 20 and 21 are the last of the Egyptian elite ruling up to the time of Manetho, and why he named no kings of D20, preferring to leave it blank and incomplete. It would explain why he then went on to list the Assyrian rulers of D22, starting with Osorkon, followed by later dynasties of well-attested foreign rulers and appointees. The great 19th century Egyptologists all believed D22 was not Libyan but Assyrian. Is it a coincidence that the name Osorkon in hieroglyphs transliterates to Sargon, the great Assyrian king who claimed to have brought Egypt under his control?

    As for D21, which lasted nearly 150yr, the main features were (a) the country was divided, (b) no so-called king was indisputably sole ruler of Egypt, (c) Temple priests acted as local military governors, ruled their local areas and maintained the temples, (d) references to an anonymous ‘Great King of the North’ are found on the monuments, (e) a mysterious ‘renaissance era’ of double dating starts to appear, and (f) no national armies, foreign campaigns, or attempts at reunification are reported. Surely even a child would not find it difficult to guess that during this era Egypt was ruled by a foreign power.

    All these obvious mistakes, weaknesses, and unsupported assumptions concerning Manetho’s version of Egyptian history must make an impartial reader wonder why anything, let alone the edifice of the conventional chronology, was built upon the distorted echoes of his words. Yet many within today’s Establishment seem to believe that if only they knew what Manetho actually wrote, they would know the true history of Egypt. Thus we find Kitchen [38] slavishly trying to bend his chronology of the Third Intermediate Period to the tune of Manetho. To borrow a phrase from Manuel [39], it is likely that both the conventional chronology, and Kitchen’s TIP, both founded largely upon name games and speculation, are but ‘magnificent rationalist delusions’.

  • 8.4. Which of the Competing Revisions will Win?With the big guns among the revisionists firmly behind the ‘mainstream’ movement of James or Rohl, i.e. a 250 or 350yr. downdating, it would be a brave man who would bet against them winning in the end. Yet no clear favourite has emerged between them as yet after some 15 years.Meanwhile, the AIC supporters, bidding for a 500yr reduction for D18 dates, refuse to lie down. Our leading revisionists, now fighting on a different front, have left them, as a legacy from the late 1970’s, a treasure trove of still valid supporting evidence from the days when they, too, believed in those seductive AIC synchronisms. Dayton, Schorr, and Sammer have shown that those ubiquitous 500-year gaps still keep rearing their Velikovskian heads. Neither the Establishment nor the mainstream revisionists have managed to explain any of them away with any conviction. Even Snodgrass seems to be on their side when he said, referring to the objects from the Mycenaean graves, that he saw a pattern emerging wherein ‘they belonged either to the 13-12C or the 8-7C, but not between’.And finally there is always that Karnak depiction of temple treasure to haunt us. Nowhere throughout ancient history has a temple been furnished with a treasure like that lovingly made for Solomon’s temple, only to be yielded up without a fight to a more powerful neighbour. And nowhere, among the records of any of the kings of any of the great ancient empires, has booty matching that described in the Hebrew records been seen or heard of, except in the depictions of offerings made to Amun by Tuthmoses III on an inner temple wall at Karnak. And Schliemann [40] noted that in tomb paintings of the time of Tuthmoses III, foreigners are shown bringing Geometric pottery to Egypt. Did Velikovsky really get it all wrong?

    In conclusion, only time can tell what the outcome will be. Perhaps one day we will have the PJCR – the Perfectly Justified Chronological Revision, but I think we will have to go right back to basics, especially in the re-reading of ancient cuneiform names and the reinterpretation of ancient king lists, to find it. Among our leading scholars the favourite revision for academic acceptance remains the New Chronologies of either James or Rohl. But those who instinctively support the underdog will draw some comfort from the observation Michael Reade made in a reply to Bimson in C&CR1998:2. Perhaps, he suggested mildly, those who once supported the Glasgow Chronology may have ‘thrown in the sponge’ a little too soon.

    New contributors to the chronological debate are always welcome, and are invited to join the SIS.

P John Crowe. Copyright March 15th 2001 Amended 09.08.07


Thanks are due to the many contributors to the pages of SIS publications, and particularly to Michael Reade for his much valued friendship and continuing support and encouragement of my efforts to achieve a better understanding of the ideas of Immanuel Velikovsky and their historical consequences.


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  • 3. Woolley, Sir Leonard. Urof the Chaldees, Penguin Books 1930
  • 4. Newton, Sir Isaac. The original of Monarchies. Published for the first time by Manuel F.E. in his book ‘Isaac Newton Historian’ Cambridge University Press, 1963.
  • 5. Herodotus. The Histories, Penguin Books 1972
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  • 15. Velikovsky, I Theses for the Reconstruction of Ancient History, 1945. Access via the SIS Web site.
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  • 30. H Jacquet-Gordon, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 1967
  • 31. Snodgrass A. M. The Dark Age of Greece [Edinburgh, 1971] p389.
  • 32. Manyon, J. ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’. The Spectator, 6th November 1999
  • 33. T Gold, New Ideas in Science, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 3, No. 2. pp. 103-112 1989.
  • 34. Kitchen, K. The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100-650 B.C.) 2nd Rev. ed., Aris & Phillips Ltd, Warminster, England. 1995.
  • 35. Arp, Halton ‘Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science‘ Aperion, Montreal 1998
  • 36. Ginsberg A. Legends of the Jews, Philadelphia, 1925-38. Vol.IV, p283]
  • 37. Ginsberg. A. Ibid VI p307.
  • 38. Kitchen. K. ibid
  • 39. Manuel F.E. Ibid.
  • 40. Schliemann, Tiryns (New York, 1895) p.39.


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