Image by Michael Dee, via NBC.10 The investigators statistically compared the results of radiocarbon testing on 74 new and 112 old specimens from Egypt’s Pre-Dynastic periods and First Dynasty with all the other archaeological data collected on those materials.
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The fragmentary dynastic records recorded on the Palermo Stone, combined with other data, are used in an effort to zoom in on the actual dates of Egypt’s founding as a nation.
Image from Petrie Museum, UCL, via NBC.12 The investigators assumed that all (or all but one, as Queen Merneith was possibly co-regent with her son) ruled with non-overlapping reigns.13 This is a major assumption given that much of the difficulty with Egyptian chronology has stemmed from the probability that many rulers presumed to have reigned in sequence actually ruled at the same time, perhaps regionally.
The investigators did radiocarbon testing on a few freshly excavated seeds from the Gaza Strip but primarily tested museum samples.
“A lot of the stuff is not is [sic] particularly beautiful,” Dee said.
“Egypt was a state that emerged quickly—over that time one has immense social change.
This is interesting when one compares it with other places.
Egyptian monarchs didn’t start building pyramids until the Third Dynasty, conventionally dated around 2686 BC.11 Since the focus of the study was the First Dynasty, the researchers obtained most of their regnal results from the Royal Tombs at Umm el-Qaab, the sacred burial site of Abydos.
Abydos had also been Egypt’s capital until a First Dynasty pharaoh moved it north to Memphis.
Though widely acknowledged as the oldest state that fits our modern concept of a unified nation, the actual age of the ancient nation of Egypt remains uncertain.
Radiocarbon dating of artifacts from Egypt’s Pre-dynastic period and First Dynasty, reported September 4th in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A by Michael Dee and colleagues, suggests Egypt is younger than previously thought.
“The formation of Egypt was unique in the ancient world.