“Trying to understand what happened in human history to lead people to establish this sort of polity we felt was a gap in understanding that needed to be filled.”1 Before the mid-twentieth century, Egyptologists came up with dates for Egyptian unification ranging from 5500 BC to 2000 BC.
When Higham eventually got the bones, his team came up with a more likely scenario: they were closer to 33,000 years old and one of the earliest examples of ceremonial burial in Western Europe.
Today secular and biblical experts acknowledge that “traditional” Egyptian chronology is a muddle.
Egyptologist Flinders Petrie (1853–1942) in 1899 developed the system of dating dependent on pottery styles.3 He proposed that Menes (aka Narmer, according to many authorities) ruled over a unified Egypt in 5500 BC.4 Egyptologist James Henry Breasted (1865-1935) dates Egypt’s unification under Menes to 3400 BC.5 In Centuries of Darkness, Peter James calls traditional chronology a “gigantic academic blunder.”6 Popular Egyptologist David Rohl writes, “The only real solution to the archaeological problems which have been created is to pull down the whole structure and start again, reconstructing from the foundations upward.”7 Egyptologists began to realize traditional chronology had serious issues when inconsistencies with Assyrian and Hittite discoveries surfaced.
Though still heavily used, relative dating is now augmented by several modern dating techniques.
Radiocarbon dating involves determining the age of an ancient fossil or specimen by measuring its carbon-14 content.
Carbon-14 is also passed onto the animals that eat those plants.