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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:18 AM
Original message
On the Subject of 3 Phantom Centuries . . .
This thread is inspired by the recent DU thread about a scholar who claims that there are 300 years too many in conventional accounts of medieval history:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Strangely enough, there are claims that 300 years of standard Egyptian history don't exist either. The scholar making the claim, David Rohl, argues that Egyptian dynasties and kings are presented chronologically, but in periods of upheaval the country was split and two dynasties ruled concurrently in upper and lower Egypt. The 21st and 22nd dynasties are normally counted as consecutive, but he believes they were parallel.

Some of Rohl's arguments are extremely detailed. He shows, for example, how a 22nd-dynasty tomb was modified in order to accommodate a 21st-dynasty burial. He uses records of a solar eclipse to redate the reign of Akhenaten by three centuries.

One reason the theory has generated so much excitement is that it turns the archeology of the Bible on its head. If you redate the kings and prophets by 300 years, suddenly everything matches and synchs up.

Unfortunately, Rohl seems to have taken down his personal website. But here are some links:

http://craigr.com/books/pharaohs.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Rohl

His first book:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry...

And a discussion group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NewChronology /

Unlike the medieval theory, I personally found David Rohl's arguments to be at least as convincing as those of his detractors. And regardless of the truth, these kinds of controversies fascinate me.

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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
1. Kick
Maybe this is old hat for some people, but I thought the title might get a nibble. This is really great stuff.
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Jesus H. Christ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
2. What a joke.
Can we go back to talking about how tsunamis are caused by nuclear bombs?

My favorite line is:

"Rohl began working on his doctorate in 1990; it is unclear if he was ever rewarded this advanced degree."
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Read Some of His Stuff
Then tell me it's a joke. He's a very careful researcher.

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Jesus H. Christ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Read some of this guy.
www.timecube.com

He's careful too.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. No, He's a Lunatic
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Jesus H. Christ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. And?
Rohl isn't?
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. The People at the Discovery Channel Didn't Think So
They gave him a three-part series.

I doubt your friend has the same arrangement.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. Being on a tv network is not evidence of credibility.
Sorry, but the discovery channel giving someone special is a commentary on whether or not they think people will want to watch it, not a commentary on the quality of the work.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. You Compared Him To a Street Lunatic
What I'm saying is he has a well researched position that he can defend in detail. The evidence of credibility is whether fair-minded educated people from outside the field people can be convinced in reasonably large numbers. On that count, he qualifies easily.

It not proof of the theory. It's just a demonstration of credibility.
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Jesus H. Christ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. I'll have you know Gene Ray has lectured at MIT.
I'm sure that his credentials are just as clear as Rohl's.
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Jesus H. Christ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. Yes, and the people at the History Channel
have a series on UFOs.

MIT once let Gene Ray lecture.

No tell me, is that not proof that Gene Ray's on to something?
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. dupe
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 01:09 PM by ribofunk
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #5
14. Whoa! Lizard Man!
The way this guy talks about humans you'd think he was an alien lizard... really psycho reptile. :scared:

"Humans are the only educated stupid
animal and too dumb to even know it.
Interracial marriage is stupid and evil
for it creates a child not of either race,
betraying the child and both the races.
Educators don't know black from white."

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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
3. There are serious problems with late Bronze Age chronology
It isn't just about Egypt. It's even more obvious when dealing with Greece, Italy, and central Europe. To make the current dating work, you have to be willing to believe that there was a period of about 400 years (1200-800 BC) during which (1) those areas were almost entirely depopulated (since hardly any sites can be dated to that timespan) and (2) cultural change almost ceased, since pottery and art objects from the end of the period are almost identical to those from the start.

This absence of cultural change is true of Israel, as well, while for Egypt we are told that there was a wave of nostalgia about 800 BC that led to the revival of many of the old Bronze Age styles.

You also have to believe that, despite the almost total collapse of society in certain places and the cessation of cultural change almost everywhere, this period managed to give rise to such radical innovations as iron-working and the alphabet. Frankly, I can't handle that degree of cognitive dissonance.

On the other hand, the only thing needed for the archaeology of the late Bronze Age/early Iron Age to make sense is to assume that there was just a single century of modest decline, beginning about 900 BC when the climate turned extremely cold and many of the old empires crumbled, followed by an exuberant revival. But you have to get rid of the three "ghost" centuries from 1200 to 900, which means a lot of redating and reinterpretation, and the best way to do that is a matter of some contention.

The real problem, in large part, is that the first person to point out the chronological anomalies was Velikovsky, and he linked it to a lot of eccentric catastrophe theories. In recent years, both chronological revisionism and a more plausible version of catastrophism (involving meteor impacts and major volcanic explosions) have made a comeback. But mainstream archaeologists are still wary of being associated with them, so much of the work has been done by more marginal figures like Rohl.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. I Hadn't Heard Some of Those Arguments
but they're very interesting.

The thing that makes me take Rohl seriously is primarily the specificity of some of his arguments. It's very different from the Eric vonDaniken approach. More like "Here's a 22d century burial vault. Here's where it was modified after the fact to accommodate a 21st century burial structure."

The area that's completely revolutionized by Rohl's chronology is Old Testament archeology. Up to now, the record of excavated cities just doesn't match the descriptions at all. But if you make the adjustment, everything falls into place. The kings are mentioned in Hebrew texts. The palaces were occupied during the right centuries. Jericho was destroyed at the right time. Buildings at Meggido are laid out the way Solomon's buildings were described. Everything's there -- it's just in the wrong century.

Velikovsky saw some of the problems. But his explanations were crank explanations that haven't held up. It's an indication that an alternate explanation was needed.

I do agree with you that most academics do not want to commit professional suicide by being associated with a revisionist theory which tomorrow may be disproven. That's not a very persuasive argument for existing theories.


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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #3
19. "Lack of cultural change"
Bronze Age people didn't live in the land of 24-hour advertising. Japan had very little cultural change between 10,000 B.C. and 200 B.C., when new population groups started coming in.

Is this the same guy who is trying to say that a whole bunch of extra years were added to human history around 1200 C.E. and that all the Greek and Roman literature is later forgeries?

There's a word for people like that: schizoceramics.
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. Pottery styles back then changed every 50-100 years
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 04:23 PM by starroute
Before C14 dating, the main method of establishing chronologies was by tracing the subtle evolution of pottery styles and using them to establish statigraphies for various sites and regions. It proved possible to define 50-100 year chunks of history very clearly on the basis of pottery alone -- everywhere except during this one anomalous period.

For example, in Greece, the entire Late Bronze Age is broken down into roughly 75-year phases, up until Late Helladic IIIC, which is considered to start about 1200 BC and last until the emergence of the Geometric style about 900 BC. Archaeologists have attempted to insert a Submycenean (1075-25) and Proto-Geometric (1025-900) phase into the sequence, but neither of those is well-defined and both styles coexist with continuing LH IIIC.

It's the same in Italy, where imported LH IIIC ware is found throughout the 1200-900 period and is contemporary with poorly defined local cultures labeled Sub-Apennine and Proto-Villanovan. (Whenever archaeologists resort to "sub" and "proto," it's a clue that something doesn't fit.)

In central Europe, most cultural phases cover about a century. For example, Bronze Age B and C run from 1500-1300 and Bronze Age D from 1300-1200. But Hallstatt A and B cover a much longer span, from 1200-700. Then Hallstatt C and D revert to the earlier pattern, running from 700-500. In other words, Hallstatt A-B lasts about 500 years, where on the basis of the phases before and after it, you'd expect more like 200.

So every one of these areas (as well as others, like Sicily and Malta) has a strange chronological anomaly at exactly the same time. And it isn't sufficient to blame this on some sort of simultaneous cultural collapse, because Hallstatt A-B was flourishing, expanding, and technologically innovative.

In dealing with Egypt or Assyria, it's easy for archaeologists to be beguiled by king lists and other written records and think they've derived hard dates from them when they haven't. But in Europe, where there are no written records for the period, archaeology is entirely dependent on the testimony of the spade (and, to a lesser degree on C14 dating) -- and that testimony shows something is wrong.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
9. I write stories in those Bronze Age centuries mainly because
I can be inventive as there aren't that many pesky facts to worry about. However my opinion is that, until someone can find an untouched site that can be dated chronologically from earliest remains to historical times, those years will always be elusive and in the mists of time and ripe for fanstasy.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. I Actually Think There's Plenty of Material
and more is continually being discovered. It doesn't have to be undisturbed -- you just need some kind of anchor to date at least one level. And serious scholarship has only been going on for a little over a hundred years.

But controversies like this make it clear how much of history "is like a brontasaur -- six leg bones and two tons of plaster of paris" (as Mark Twain said about Shakespeare's biography).
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #9
18. Oooo! I want to read some of your stories!
:)

There's about 300 years where one could create any mythology... Hell, I create my own mythology now! :D

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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. I haven't done it for awhile while I was nursing my husband.
I lost many of them in a computer crash I had, so I will have to reconstruct them from hard copies and memory. But I'll let you read the first one I recoup. :-)
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Great!
:)

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