Eleven Questions for Velikovskyans

1. Why are Ramesside strata (those with pottery similar to that of 19th-20th Dynasty Egyptian forts)  far below those of the later Judean Monarchy in Palestine, far below even Assyrian era strata?

2. Why does Radiocarbon dating support the conventional chronology in Egypt?

3. Why do we not find similar varieties of pottery in both 19th and 26th Dynasty forts on the Way of Horus?

4. Why does the placement of 19th Dynasty forts on the Way of Horus contradict the existence of Pelusium, known to exist in the 26th Dynasty?

5. Why do Pharaohs you claim to identify with each other have entirely different cartouches?

6. Why does Radiocarbon dating in Palestine support the conventional chronology?

7. What do you identify the Iron I with, if not the days of the Judges through David?

8. What do you identify the Iron IIa with, if not the days of Shishak through Hazael, as demonstrated by radiocarbon dating?

9. Where do the Philistines (whose archaeological history is linked with that of Assyria) fit in the archaeological record, and why do they only begin to appear after Ramesside strata?

10. Why is Samaria not settled until Iron I?

11. Why does Naukratis show no sign of being inhabited during the Ramesside period?

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

23 thoughts on “Eleven Questions for Velikovskyans”

  1. Okay, I’m probably (or definitely) not the best qualified person to attempt this but the questions are interesting and deserve a response. So you know where I’m coming from, I think that Velikovsky’s chronology (but not his cosmology) is probably broadly correct, but that there are still plenty of problems and unfinished business. I hope I’m open-minded enough to be persuadable otherwise, but since I certainly see plenty of problems with the conventional chronology too, this will not happen if the argument begins “The standard chronology is correct, therefore…”.

    First, a general point about radiocarbon dating (questions 2 and 6). I have no problem with the science as such. I’m aware, however, that the results have to be calibrated, and that in the early days that meant calibration against objects of known date, the known dates being those of the standard Egyptian chronology. I’m not convinced that this original circularity has disappeared – that would probably mean convincing me by archaeological, and to a lesser extent textual, evidences.

    So, I’m going to start with question 10, partly for reasons of logical progression, and partly because at first sight the question seems odd, and gave me a mental picture of Omri at the ground-breaking ceremony saying something like “Of course, this project was intended to start much earlier, but it was postponed because….” But that doesn’t seem to be the kind of answer you were looking for. Then I wondered if you meant “Why is Samaria Iron I, when according to the chronology it should be Iron IIa?” (See questions 7 and 8), but that seems more like a question for standard chronologists. Given that Samaria is our most reliably datable site, and it’s Iron I, logically Iron I should extend through at least the first half of the 9th century, and probably well into the second half. It would begin at the end of the Middle Bronze III, around 1050-1000 BC. Iron II would obviously have to be down-dated too. But then I realised you must mean, “Why isn’t Samaria Late Bronze?” Omri again. “But now we’re here I’m going to start by laying this scarab of Tuthmosis III under the foundations. It’s actually an heirloom handed down through my family since before the days of the exodus, but it’ll confuse the hell out of the archaeologists.” According to the Cambridge Ancient History, scarabs and other datable objects (meaning Egyptian objects) of the Late Bronze Age are generally unreliable for dating the strata where they are found, because it’s obvious that they are heirlooms or later copies. We have, of course, no independent evidence for this assertion, so whether it’s ultimately true or false, it’s a “just-so” story – and not a very believable one in my judgement. In any case, for Velikovsky the Late Bronze would be roughly 1000-600 BC, and this is the time scale where we see it’s datable objects in Palestine.

    This is already getting long, so I’m going to split it into two (or in the best Velikovskian tradition, probably three) comments.

    1. I’m aware, however, that the results have to be calibrated, and that in the early days that meant calibration against objects of known date, the known dates being those of the standard Egyptian chronology.

      -Apparently tree rings are the main organic remains used to create calibration curves these days.
      http://c14.arch.ox.ac.uk/embed.php?File=calibration.html

      It would begin at the end of the Middle Bronze III, around 1050-1000 BC.

      -What happens to Megiddo strata IX to VIIA (i.e., the entire Late Bronze Age)? You are correct that a scarab of Thutmose III was found at Samaria, but, as scarabs are durable, portable, valuable, and small items, they are easy to leave behind as heirlooms. Not so for large Iron I collar-rimmed pithoi (which are also found at Samaria). The Iron I remains presumably belong to the Shemer estate.

      In any case, for Velikovsky the Late Bronze would be roughly 1000-600 BC, and this is the time scale where we see it’s datable objects in Palestine.

      -So Megiddo VIII and Megiddo VIB existed simultaneously? I’m confused.

      Questions 3 and 4 I can’t answer, or even find any relevant information for on the net.

      For the Way of Horus forts, see
      http://books.google.com/books?id=PUcs-FQv4uIC&pg=PA110
      and
      http://www.academia.edu/2118910/Tell_el-Borg_on_Egypts_Eastern_Frontier_A_Preliminary_Report_on_the_2002_and_2004_Seasons

      the paucity of native Egyptian records for dynasties 26, 29 and 30 is very strange.

      -By the Conventional Chronology, Egypt had existed as a kingdom largely unthreatened by foreigners for ~250 years prior to the Ramesside era. Also by the CC, during the 26th Dynasty, Egypt had existed without being occupied by foreigners for under 50 years.

      Petrie did find the foundations of a Rameses II temple at Daphnae, the other Greek colony associated with Psammetichus.

      -By the CC, this would only mean Tahpanhes had been occupied for over six hundred years.

  2. So on to question 5, probably the easiest and most completely answered by Velikovsky himself. The people who wrote their names in cartouches as Psamshek, Nekau-Wehimbre, Nekt-Nebef and Nekt-Hor-Heb are not the pharaohs known to the Greeks as Psammetichus, Necho, Nectanebo I and Nectanebo II. Velikovsky was often accused of making identifications based on similarity of names, but here the boot is on the other foot. All these identifications are based on nothing else, and not very close similarities either. None of them left any record of their extensive foreign entanglements or other achievements, and three of the four can be identified as top level Egyptian officials under the Persians. Velikovsky is at least right that the standard identifications are shaky, and the paucity of native Egyptian records for dynasties 26, 29 and 30 is very strange.

    Questions 3 and 4 I can’t answer, or even find any relevant information for on the net. As a possibility, the 26d forts have been misidentified, but that’s a guess. 11 I can’t really answer either, though Petrie did find the foundations of a Rameses II temple at Daphnae, the other Greek colony associated with Psammetichus.

    Question 1 will require a long answer and a further comment, as predicted.

  3. “By the Conventional Chronology, Egypt had existed as a kingdom largely unthreatened by foreigners for ~250 years prior to the Ramesside era. Also by the CC, during the 26th Dynasty, Egypt had existed without being occupied by foreigners for under 50 years.”

    True, but as far as I can see, non-explanatory.

    Okay, Megiddo. I freely confess that I have neither the time or expertise to do an in depth reanalysis of the site, so the following is a provisional outline of how Megiddo might look to a Velikovskyan.

    As a general point we have Tuthmosis III at 925BC and after, so all levels must be reduced in date. Level VIII is the Solomonic strata. Level VII, which has seals of TIII starts from 925BC. The Megiddo ivories are contemporary with the Samaria ivories of the 9th century. The destruction layer, which according to Ussishkin is confined to the palace area, looks like a possible coup d’état, and probably should be attributed to Jehu. The level VI collar rim jars would then be late 9th century and contemporary with the Level VI jars at Beth-Shean. Level V is Jeroboam (seal of Shema), and the destruction layer is Assyrian. Level IV would then be late 8th/7th century. Iron I and Late Bronze would be contemporary (c1000-800BC), and would reflect different cultures rather than different times, and this would also explain why there’s not much Late Bronze material in many parts of Canaan.

    1. True, but as far as I can see, non-explanatory.

      -Why build vast monuments if you’re pretty sure there’s a large chance your plans for their construction will be interrupted by invasion or war? This is a rhetorical question.

      The Megiddo ivories are contemporary with the Samaria ivories of the 9th century. The destruction layer, which according to Ussishkin is confined to the palace area, looks like a possible coup d’état, and probably should be attributed to Jehu.

      -So the Amarna period and its King Biridiya would belong to the early 9th century BC. So, by this interpretation, would Omri have been responsible for the destruction of Megiddo VIIB? Who would Labaya have been?

      Level IV would then be late 8th/7th century.

      -That would be the level with the massive stables. What of Level III, the one ascribed to most scholars to the Assyrian era?

      When would the Philistines have invaded? Megiddo VIB is contemporary with Philistine Bichrome pottery.

      Also, Labor Day counts as part of the weekends.

  4. Pithom,

    I’ve been reading your blog and found some interesting topics. You introduce yourself as an atheist and a skeptic but when reading your comment on Velikovsky I wonder if you are. Please don’t take this as an offence and allow me to explain myself:

    Velikovsky introduced the idea of catastrophism versus uniformitarism concerning the cosmos and our solar system in particular. Whether he’s wright or wrong is really besides the point. You must acknowledge that religion is deeply inbedded in our civilisation and human behaviour. A uniformitarian cosmos gives God a place in our scientific search. Moreover, the human mind abhorres the chaotic idea offered by Velikovsky and any scientific proof offered is simply ignored or given a correct place in man’s mind. A good example is the Big Bang theory -brought into life by a priest- which gives God a place in the scientific developments of the late 20 century-. The atheist should therefore be vigilant and truly skeptic -especially of the established dogmas-.
    Google for ‘the Big Bang broken and can’t be fixed’.
    However, we can’t ignore the lessons from humanity’s biggest genius sir Isaac Newton. What the critics of Velikovsky should know is that Velikovsky’s statement can be proven with Newtonian mathematics: Anyone who challenges the catastophic approach must have found a solution for the ‘n-body problem’. The greatest mathematical minds have tried to find a solution and the conclusion today is simple: the planets will and have jumped their orbits. Off course, to adress our fear of chaos, we add that this has or will only happen in the very far past or future.
    Think about this.

    The same reflection can be made with regard to Velikovsky and his proposed chronology. Whether he’s wright or wrong is besides the point. We need him to be wrong because he takes God out of the equation – and out of the Bible-. After all, the conventional chronology (CC) for Egypt and the whole of the Middle east has been established through a fundamentalistic approach of the Bible. A couple of presumed synchronicities between the Egypt and the Bible were ‘identified’ and the beginning of civilisation was retro calculated. All the rest was stretched to fit.
    This alone should trigger the atheistic skepticus to be very weary of the CC.
    Of course one may say that there’s scientific proof to substantiate the CC.
    But is there really?

    C14 carbon dating can be dismissed by both sides (CC vs New Chronology -NC)
    NC = chronology by E.Sweeney, and Sweeny = corrected Velikovsky chronology.
    This for 2 reasons:
    1. Carbon dating has been calibrated with the CC.
    2. Any C14 measurement that doesn’t fit the thesis (CC or NC) is dismissed as a ‘contaminated sample’.

    We see the same reasoning in all other scientific approaches, especially if the CC is put in to question: the scribe was lying, the pharao was boastfull, the strata was contaminated, the archeologist was simply wrong, the linguist is wrong etc.
    But this is a knife that cuts both ways. Why should a Petrie be correcter than a Velikovsky? We need to remain objective towards both views.
    What we fail to see is the massive amount of proof that contradicts the CC and supports the NC offered by Velikovsky and corrected by Sweeney. Very few remarks for the NC of Sweeney can be found…he’s simply ignored.
    Maybe he’ll go away too.
    The most important remark -still unanswered and ignored by the establisment- is the total contradiction for the Dark ages of Greece. The archeological proof contradicts this gap.

    The discussion on your blog with Sweeney on the location of Punt is a good example. You state that Punt had to be in Yemen or Eritrea because of the prevailing winds. However this argument works both ways. Sailing from Mersa Gawasis to the Horn of Africa poses exactly the same difficulties as sailing to Eilat in the Gulf of Aqaba with ships of those days. Remember that one has to sail back from Eritrea.
    The core of this discussion is that we can not allow Punt to be in modern day Israël.
    In such a case the Holy land would be as as holy for the Egyptians as it is to the Jews and Christians. Simply unacceptable for the religious mind.
    So Eritrea or Yemen it is.

    A good question you ask concerns the names of the pharaohs and the hieroglyphs.
    A very good point.
    Note that today we know the pharaohs by their nomen or pre-nomen because these names are in a cartouche and the cartouches were the first to be deciphered.
    Also be weary for a religious approach with the equation Pi-Ramses = city of Ramses therefore Ramses = pharaoh of the Exodus. Why not pharaoh Thom from Pi-Thom? It’s the same argument isn’t it?
    The proof offered by Velikovsky and Sweeney shows that the pharaos were known by their Golden Horus names and for each of the Pharaohs mentioned in Greek or Hebrew sources an explanation is offered through the hieroglyphs of their Golden Horus’ names.
    Today our knowledge of hieroglyphs has vastly improved over that of the pioneers, and it only supports the NC thesis.

    You’re not convinced of the equation SHSHK – Shisherkau because of your anglo-saxon background. If ones studies the same subject in German, French or Dutch you would get a completely different view, believe me.
    In any case, the conventional SHSHK -Soshenq is not correct because Soshenq is not his Golden Horus name. Moreover the R of Shisherkau kan be omitted, the N from Soshenq can’t (from a pure linguistic point of view).

    The equation Necho with Wahibre is wrong because Nekau is his nomen. Just have a look at his Golden Horus.

    The same goes for the Psamtik hieroglyph. The few that have been found are not about the Psammetichus of Herodotus. The Psamtik hieroglyphs in question are spelled out. That was only done for foreign names and only during the Persian and Ptolemean era. This point gives extra proof that Sweeney is correct.

    I hope I have not offended you and If I have please accept my apologies for this was not my intention,

    Velikovsky, whatever his comedy of errors has at given reason for being skeptical towards the CC and a cause to reconstruct the chronology for the Middle East. The challenge is to remain objective but keep an open mind.

    Many thanks for your time,

    Jean Baptiste.

    1. Whether he’s wright or wrong is really besides the point.

      -No, it isn’t. It pretty much is the point. I’m not a physicist, but the Big Bang Theory is derived from math and physics, not religion.
      http://dealingwithcreationisminastronomy.blogspot.com/2013/01/is-big-bang-cosmology-creationist-model.html
      Obviously, most scientific discoveries have been discovered by religious people, but this is only because there are far more religious people than non-religious people.

      We need him to be wrong because he takes God out of the equation – and out of the Bible-.

      -Outside of religious fundamentalism, this is the most blatant example of motivated reasoning I have ever seen in my life.

      After all, the conventional chronology (CC) for Egypt and the whole of the Middle east has been established through a fundamentalistic approach of the Bible.

      -Nonsense. Have you looked at my Chronology page? In any case, Young-Earther Christian fundamentalists are far more likely to accept a Middle Eastern chronology based on Velikovsky than the conventional chronology:
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v8/n2/ice-age-biblical-history

      Any C14 measurement that doesn’t fit the thesis (CC or NC) is dismissed as a ‘contaminated sample’.

      -[citation needed]. I shouldn’t have to say this, but internally inconsistent and vague C-14 results (such as several early 2000s results from Tel Dor) are much more likely to be dismissed than internally consistent and specific C-14 results (as from ‘Atar Haroa).

      scribe was lying, the pharao was boastfull, the strata was contaminated, the archeologist was simply wrong, the linguist is wrong etc.

      -Scribes lie, pharaohs are boastful, strata are contaminated, archaeologists (e.g., Petrie on Tell el-Hesi) are simply wrong, and linguists are sometimes wrong. These are not far-fetched excuses, they are perfectly reasonable justifications for quite a bit of weak evidence inconsistent with prior conclusions.

      What we fail to see is the massive amount of proof that contradicts the CC and supports the NC offered by Velikovsky and corrected by Sweeney.

      -I have seen a “massive amount” of weak evidence and questionable assertions. “Proof” it ain’t.

      Very few remarks for the NC of Sweeney can be found…he’s simply ignored.

      -I haven’t ignored him on Punt; I’ve ignored him on much else due to dissection of his views being pointless, as hardly anyone agrees with them.

      The archeological proof contradicts this gap.

      -[citation needed].

      You state that Punt had to be in Yemen or Eritrea because of the prevailing winds.

      -No, I don’t; this is what I said:

      Why not use the well-tested Way of Horus instead of risking some vessels on the Straits of Tiran and going through two land journeys nevertheless?

      New Kingdom Egyptians are known to have sailed up the Red Sea; some of them managed to sail up to Jezirat Faraun.

      Also be weary for a religious approach with the equation Pi-Ramses = city of Ramses therefore Ramses = pharaoh of the Exodus.

      -No scholar in the United States except Kitchen, Hoffmeier, and at most a dozen other scholars use that argument. This does not mean it is unsound, though it does mean it is not the typical “religious approach” to Exodus 1:11.

      Why not pharaoh Thom from Pi-Thom? It’s the same argument isn’t it?

      Pithom stele.

      Shisherkau

      -Who is this?

      The equation Necho with Wahibre is wrong because Nekau is his nomen. Just have a look at his Golden Horus.

      -This is circular reasoning.

      The few that have been found are not about the Psammetichus of Herodotus.

      -So who is the Psammetichus of Herodotus?

      My favorite under-appreciated chronological revisionist is Peter James. At least his arguments relating to downdating Hazor even further than Finkelstein has downdated it sound somewhat plausible.

      1. “-Scribes lie, pharaohs are boastful, strata are contaminated, archaeologists (e.g., Petrie on Tell el-Hesi) are simply wrong, and linguists are sometimes wrong.”

        Well, yes, no doubt such things could and have happened (and no doubt such explanations are sometimes necessary, given that we often have less evidence than we would like). The question is to what extent they are “reasonable justifications for quite a bit of weak evidence inconsistent with prior conclusions.” This is obviously going to be a variable, and “reasonableness” a criteria that is to some extent subject to personal biases and judgement (all this applies to revisionists too, of course).

        This being so, we should remember that, because there’s no supporting evidence for them, such explanations never *prove* anything. Their function is to mitigate the force of objections to a particular interpretation of the evidence.

        More generally, if there is a problem with a chronological schema, it’s likely to show itself in the need for such explanations. It’s at least possible that resort to “just-so” stories could conceal serious problems (it’s also a good example of confirmation bias).

        1. This being so, we should remember that, because there’s no supporting evidence for them, such explanations never *prove* anything. Their function is to mitigate the force of objections to a particular interpretation of the evidence.

          -I agree.

      2. “Also be wary for a religious approach with the equation Pi-Ramses = city of Ramses therefore Ramses = pharaoh of the Exodus.”

        “-No scholar in the United States except Kitchen, Hoffmeier, and at most a dozen other scholars use that argument. This does not mean it is unsound, though it does mean it is not the typical “religious approach” to Exodus 1:11.”

        I have to admit that I’ve never seen this argument stated explicitly, though it’s certainly implicit in some discussions I’ve read. Fairly recently, no lesser a person than Finkelstein is on record as saying that “the Israelites were never in Egypt.” He also says (correctly IMO) that the early Israelites are not archaeologically distinguishable from the Canaanites. This would imply that Canaanites were never in Egypt. But Finkelstein surely knows of the Canaanite city of 12th/13th dynasty Avaris/Pi-Ramses, which shows that his objection is false. He may, of course, be right that this city has nothing to do with the exodus, but if so he should argue the case – not simply ignore it.

        If the case against is that this is too early, and creates a gap (a “dark age”) in the history of the Israelites, it should be remembered that this is what we expect to happen when we adjust other countries’ chronologies to the Egyptian one – Mykenae, Hittites, now Israelites. I think I can hear the whirring sound of William of Occam spinning in his grave

  5. Haven’t been around for a while, but this exchange raises some interesting points.

    I’m going to start by breaking with tradition and agreeing with you (Pithom).

    Yes, whether someone is right or wrong is the point. But the problem is that we don’t know whose arguments are right unless we examine them with an open mind. Of course, not all arguments are equal when it comes to taking up our valuable time. So I agree with you about creationism (though the subject wasn’t mentioned by Jean Baptiste), for example. I’ve already done the examining, and anything more is a waste. Velikovskyan cosmology fares slightly better (at least we’re not invoking magic), but my science isn’t good enough to argue with the scientists. The three-body problem does introduce an element of doubt, though I’m not competent to pursue it. There are valid interesting questions, such as why the ancients looked to the skies to foretell the future, but I don’t have an answer for them.

    The chronology is a little different. Although we may use scientific tools neither the conventional or new chronologies could be said to derive from maths and physics. But here again I’m going to agree with you. Fundamentalists are more likely to agree with Velikovsky than the population at large, but I suspect that this is mostly psychological, a cocking-a-snook at liberal rationalism, than the result of any logical necessity, and therefore has a touch of the ad hominem about it. In any case, the risk of religious bias comes with the territory, and neither camp is completely free of it, although as far as I can see support for a long (conventional) chronology, or a short (revisionist) chronology, isn’t logically connected to any particular religious belief.

    Jean Baptiste’s reasoning is therefore faulty, but does connect to a valid point about the origins of the conventional chronology. The dispute between long and short chronologists goes back a long way (eg Isaac Newton), and the conventional chronology was already in place before any real archaeology, or the translation of Egyptian texts. So, for example, when the translators read the name P-r-s-t at Medinet Habu, they translated it as Philistine, rather than Persian (P-r-s in the Canopus decree is undoubtedly Persia). Why? Because the Philistine reading gave them a link to the bible, and seemed to fit with the accepted, but ungrounded, 12th century date for Ramesses III. So when a palace of Rameses III at Tel el Yehudiyah was found to be linked archaeologically to the 4th century, the evidence was ignored. When Mykenean pottery (previously thought to be about 8th century), was found at Akhet Aten the Greek chronology was redated, creating a dark age. The same thing happened to the Hittites, again with the creation of a dark age. Egyptian new kingdom scarabs and other objects are almost always in Iron Age strata in Palestine.

    Okay, that’s enough for now.

    1. Note that I find nothing to disapprove of in the rest of your comment. I think that even if the Peleset/Pereset of Ramesses III were, in some hypothetical universe, originally identified with the Persians, archaeology would still vindicate the conventional chronology.

      1. On the assumption that such an identification resulted in something broadly like a Velikovskyan “standard” chronology, what, to you, are the clues that would show the new “revisionist” chronology was roughly right (or at least show that there was something seriously amiss with the accepted picture)?

        Bear in mind that some of the traditional synchronisms would no longer hold, and would have to be argued for from scratch, and that those pesky academics can be pretty tenacious in holding on to their erroneous theories.

        1. To begin rebutting the Velikovskyan chronology, first, I’d look at the Persian-era material from Tell el-Hesi, see that it’s later than the Assyrian period at the site, and decide that, archaeologically, the Assyrian period must have come before the Persian period. Then I’d establish some definite chronological anchors with the Assyrian records to the Iron IIB and Iron IIC via Lachish III’s destruction layer and Ekron I’s Akish inscription. I’d then show that the Iron IIa, as represented by Lachish IV, Rehov VI to IV, and parts of Beth-Shean V, must have come before the Iron IIB. Then I’d point to the Ramesses III cartouche and scarab at Beth-Shean VI (p. 177) and argue that it was an utter impossibility that this cartouche could fall so many strata when Beth-Shean wasn’t even occupied during the Persian period! This would cause great confusion, at the very least, among Velikovskyan academics.

          1. Thanks. Lots for me to look at there. Just to note, Velikovsky has the Assyrian period before the Persian period already, so step one is probably redundant.

            1. Please note that the following isn’t intended to be a proof or disproof of anything (though it should provide food for thought), but rather to illustrate the kind of reaction our putative anti-Velikovskyan revisionist might expect from established academia (but toned down obviously).

              You say, “Then I’d establish some definite chronological anchors with the Assyrian records to the Iron IIB and Iron IIC via Lachish III’s destruction layer…” But this is absurd and quite without any possible foundation. Lachish III is from the Persian period http://yehoshuaetzion.com/pages/english/lost_bible/Lachish.html , as is Beth-Shean IV, when the statue of Rameses III was erected. The scarab of his found in level VI was in debris from a previous dig, and is therefore not reliable.

              Besides, a 4th century date for Rameses III is conclusively proved by the archaeology of Tell el Yahudiyeh, with its 4th century Persian tiles, Greek letters and Ptolemaic style tombs containing his scarabs, as well as the inscriptions at Medinet Habu. Are you saying that there is no Egyptian record of the 4th century war and no non-Egyptian record of the 12th century war? There weren’t even any Persians back then.

              And so on…

              Not confused at all, so far.

            2. My reply:
              “Are you really willing to place Sennacherib in the Middle Bronze Age? And the entirety of the Iron Age II in the Persian period? So, what of Iron Age Jerusalem? Was it, with its Rosette handles, destroyed sometime in the latter part of the Persian period as well? And what of Tell el-Hesi? Containing (admittedly, poorly stratified) remains from the Persian period that are manifestly from Bliss’s cities VII-VIII (not V!), the finds from there are in clear contradiction to the idea the Iron IIa took place sometime in the 6th century BC. Also, what of Ekron I and its 7th century BC inscription? Does it date to the Persian period as well?

              The statue of Ramesses III was found in Beth-Shean Lower V, not IV! The lintel with his cartouche at Beth-Shean can, as Mazar said on the page I referenced earlier, “safely be attributed to Level VI”!

              Are you saying that there is no Egyptian record of the 4th century war and no non-Egyptian record of the 12th century war? There weren’t even any Persians back then.

              -There is no non-Egyptian record of the 12th century war. The Egyptian records of the 4th century war are existent, but few and vague.

              The tiles at Tell el-Yahudieh date to the time of Ramesses III, who, as shown by the evidence from Palestine, was a 12th century BC king. Any resemblance between the marks on the tiles and Greek letters is completely coincidental.”

            3. Ha! That’ll teach me to read more of a site before posting a link. So, no I wouldn’t put Sennacherib in the Middle Bronze Age, or even the Late Bronze Age, as the site actually says (though I don’t blame you for only skimming it). The logic of Beth-Shean level V being the real time of Seti and Rameses (Psammetichus and Necho II) would make the transition from Iron I to Iron II sometime in the mid-sixth century, and Level IV would be Persian period (with Rameses III/Nectanebo) being of this period.

              The statue of Rameses III was found erected in front of the Level V/IV temple, but the precise time of its erection can’t be pinpointed from this. For both of us that depends on other considerations.

              The tiles at Tell el-Yahudieh are indeed from the time of Rameses III. The likelihood of there being no fewer than 9 different marks identified by experts at the time as Greek letters, but no sanskrit, arabic, runes etc can be given to a close approximation (zero). And you made no attempt to explain the Persian style tiles they were on the reverse of, or the 20th dynasty scarabs in graves of a Ptolemaic style. Or the fact that Rameses III fought a war against the P-r-s-t on the borders of Egypt, just like Nectanebo I. And a link to a religious building of a late 5th century official with no reference to a war seems more than just vague.

              Perhaps I should ask, Are you really prepared to put the Persian empire in the 12th century? That’s rhetorical, of course, it’s just meant to give you a feel of what you could expect if Velikovsky’s was the standard chronology. Your evidence for putting Rameses III there would need to be good.

  6. Cambridge Ancient History

    “Datable objects such as royal scarabs in the Palestinian towns of the late Bronze Age are regrettably unreliable…Even when the find spot is reasonably precise, it is often clear that either the scarab was an heirloom, or was a later copy of a scarab of a powerful king.”

    Okay, the quote doesn’t mention the Iron Age, but it’s clear that these objects fairly consistently appear later than expected. And it need hardly be said that there is no evidence, other than their being in the “wrong” strata, that these objects are either heirlooms or copies. It’s an ad hoc argument.

    If, on the other hand, I’m asked to show special reasons why they’re in the “right” place, then the very purpose and usefulness of archaeology is called into question.

    1. Okay, the quote doesn’t mention the Iron Age, but it’s clear that these objects fairly consistently appear later than expected.

      -Yeah, I agree with that. Scarabs, like coins, don’t break, and, thus, often get reused into later contexts. This is why archaeologists use pottery, not scarabs, as their main tool for dating-pottery breaks after a few decades.
      In the past seven years, I’ve found two wheat cents from the 1940s and 1950s, hundreds upon hundreds of 90+% Cu pre-1982 cents, and dozens of 1976 quarters. Obviously, these coins should not be re-dated forward by thirty or forty years. In earlier times, when the growth of the scarab and currency supplies was low, we should expect at least some scarabs to be found very much outside of context.

      1. I’m going to try and explain why I find this explanation unconvincing.

        First, I agree that since scarabs (and some other objects) are small and durable, they are more likely to be found out of context than some other things, but not to the extent that the entire corpus of material can be more or less dismissed.

        Scarabs that are actually found unstratified, on dumps or whatever, can simply be disregarded for dating purposes. We also have some scarabs that appear out of sequence, but as far as I can discover these are a minority, and show up fairly clearly. The majority, however, are in sequence, but displaced. This is not the statistical distribution that we might expect from a rather random process.

        Are those coins you have the majority of coins that pass through your possession? At the present time I have no coins older than 2002, when we had a currency change. Scarabs with cartouches would probably have been the “legal tender” of their day, the official authorisation of the Pharaoh, with no real value after his death. There would have been no reason for people to keep them, certainly not for centuries.

        Like any uncorroborated explanation, this one should be considered vulnerable to an alternative explanation (in this case that the majority of scarabs are found in their correct places) that does not require such special pleading.

        1. Are those coins you have the majority of coins that pass through your possession?

          -Most are from the 1980s and 21st century.
          According to
          http://books.google.com/books?id=khR0apPid8gC&lpg=PA218&pg=PA218#v=onepage&q&f=false
          scarabs were mainly used as amulets and jewelry by ancient Canaanites. So far as I know, these don’t have an expiration date! I find it doubtful that many Canaanite scarab owners were able to read Egyptian. The further away from its date of manufacture a scarab was, the more likely it was to be out of use.

          The majority, however, are in sequence, but displaced.

          -I don’t think the majority are displaced. What is your evidence for this?

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