Ancient Egypt Sprang Up Faster Than We Thought
Carbon dating, computer models shorten estimate at least 300 years
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Sep 7, 2013 7:43 AM CDT
Foreign tourists visit the Hatshepsut Temple in the ancient southern city of Luxor, Egypt, in this Feb. 27, 2013, file photo.   (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)

(Newser) – Ancient Egypt wasn't built in a day, but it was built a heck of a lot faster than researchers thought. Based on radiocarbon dating and computer models, a team of researchers has concluded that Egypt's pre-dynastic agricultural period along the Nile began later than previously believed, in 3700 or 3600 BC, the BBC explains. But from there, it was just a few hundred years until Egypt became a united society ruled by a king, around 3100 BC.

That might sound like a long time, but it's "about 300 or 400 years shorter" than previously believed, the lead researcher explains, and it's comparatively fast. "In Mesopotamia, for example, you have agriculture for several thousand years before you have anything like a state." History buffs can now adjust the timelines of Egypt's first eight rulers, starting with King Aha, notes LiveScience, which provides the new dates. (Click to read about an ancient hand-me down sweater found in Norway.)

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Showing 3 of 27 comments
Sep 10, 2013 3:59 AM CDT
Firstly, not every Egyptologist would agree that Aha was the first king of the united Egyptian State. Secondly, carbon dating is notoriously unreliable as is sequence dating when they are employed alone. Using two unreliable systems to reinforce each other in support of a hypothesis does not necessarily imply fact quite the opposite. There are practical difficulties too, one of which are the findings at tomb UJ in Abydos...possibly of king Scorpion. Here we have evidence of writing which according to this hypothesis seemingly began during a period when Egypt consisted of disparate villages with petty chieftains in command (3200BC) (Carbon dating originally suggested 3400BC!). Writing, like any invention, requires a need and that need is a requirement for an administrative tool when a society reaches a stage of development which makes it necessary and indispensable. A petty village society would never attain that stage of development. There are also the findings at Hierakonpolis where it would be impossible to compress the cultural, industrial and societal sequences discovered there into a period some centuries shorter. It has never been in doubt that Egypt developed very rapidly, mainly in response to climate change and population pressure but we should not forget that this is not the first time that archaeology has proposed a new dating system that is all but infallible only for those systems to be debunked in due course. It used to be thought that Ancient Egypt arrived almost overnight as a result of some invading culture from Asia. The first king (in this case Narmer) was given a date by some early scholars of 4500BC! Velikosvsky (and later Rohl) tried to slice away 300 years of Egyptian history in order that it should fit biblical 'history'. All now debunked and rightly so although their evidence was accepted by many as irrefutable. This latest hypothesis could be useful but needs to be treated with caution, especially when, in the absence of written, indisputable and concrete records we resort to dating methods with a record of unreliability, a record of unreliability which gave energy and cause to this research in the first place!
Sep 7, 2013 7:08 PM CDT
We are Egypt. At first I thought we were Rome, and we are fast in the running for it. We are surely a part of Greece considering the collapse from entitlements they cant afford. Rome fell from the same thing and from continually killing off so many people they needed. One sign of impending doom is the infatuation with gladiatorial games and the worship of athletes. When your top paid citizens are people who get paid to bash someone's head, then your nation is headed rip-shod right into ruin.
Sep 7, 2013 5:04 PM CDT
From Wikepedia in re' The Sahara- During the Neolithic Era, before the onset of desertification, around 9500 BC the central Sudan had been a rich environment supporting a large population ranging across what is now barren desert, By 6000 BC predynastic Egyptians in the southwestern corner of Egypt were herding cattle and constructing large buildings and cities By 3400 BC, the Sahara was as dry as it is today, due to reduced precipitation and higher temperatures resulting from a shift in the Earth's orbit,[9] and it became a largely impenetrable barrier to humans, with only scattered settlements around the oases but little trade or commerce through the desert. The one major exception was the Nile Valley or Egypt So credit "Climate Change" for beginnings of Western Civilization wherein man began to modify his way of life to start up agricultural, build cities and began to study the sun to ascertain its effects on mankind and worship the sun as a form of religion (ONE sun "God" the source of ALL life) Judeo-Chritian manifestation of 666 as being the "Mark of the Beast" came from Egyptian Wisemen who were Solar Scientists, studying the sun, counting sunspots and realizing a solar cycle was 22.2 years and connected that with the FACT that every 3 generations (every 3 solar cycles) the economy went to hell in a hand basket, just as today the 1993 Solar Mortality Theory DEFINES Modern History wherein every 3 generations there is global socio-economic upheaval. The years are 1860s, 1930s and NOW PS- 3 gen.x 22.2yrs each = 66.6 years, not 666 as King James scribes translated incorrectly In early 1600s Europeans knew nothing of the decimal system, so they missed the tic marks in translating early Hebrew manuscripts to English. Go to Rev.13, vs 27 and read where it says "It takes a wiseman (Egyptian solar scientist priest) to calculate this number and it is the number of a man's lifespan, or 3 solar cycles, about 3 x 22.2 = 66.6 yrs" a more accurate translation than KJV