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Ancient Egypt may have formed its society and culture far more quickly than previously thought

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 4th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Ancient Egypt formed much more quickly than previously thought, in the most precise chronology of Early Egypt produced yet. Archaeologists have determined the chronology of the first weight Egyptian leaders: King Aha, King Djer, King Djet, Queen Merneith, King Den, King Anedjib, King Semerkhet and King Qa'a. The most recent study suggests that the first Egyptian leader, King Aha -- with 68 percent probability) took to the throne between 3111 B.C. and 3045 B.C.
 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Aha's ascension to the throne is often thought to define the start of the Egyptian state.
 
Beginning as a nomadic community along the Nile River to a permanent state are based chiefly on changes in pottery artifacts found at various locations around the country.

These original demarcations proved to be flawed, due to the subjectivity required to distinguish one pottery style from another. The styles might vary from site to site without signifying a change in time period.

Archaeologists based at the University of Oxford have developed the most comprehensive chronological analyses of Early Egypt artifacts yet. Using a computer model of existing and newly measured radiocarbon dates, the new  analyses suggest the rise to statehood occurred between 200 and 300 years faster than previously believed.

Beginning between 3800 B.C. and 3700 B.C., in lieu of the past estimate of 4000 B.C., the discovery also suggests the preceding Neolithic period lasted longer than thought.

The new estimated dates are accurate to within 32 years, and with 68 percent probability, the researchers said.

The dates snow suggest that Djer came to the throne sometime around 3073-3036 B.C.; Djet, 2989-2941 B.C.; Merneith, 2946-2916 B.C.; Den, 2928-2911 B.C.; Anedjib, 2916-2896 B.C.; King Semerkhet, 2912-2891 B.C.; and Qa'a, 2906-2886 B.C.

"We got a whole lot more dates, did the model, and got the computer to work out what this means for when things actually happened," Michael Dee, an archaeologist at the University of Oxford says. "Nobody had ever done that before."

The team analyzed organic material from artifacts obtained from museum collections that were not in good enough shape to go on display. The samples included animal remains, shells, plant material and charcoal.

"A lot of the stuff is not is particularly beautiful," Dee said. "It ends up in crates in storage, but a lot of that is gold dust for radiocarbon dating."

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