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At Abydos, not only rulers but also many royal officials were interred.Bits of bone and hair and plant material associated with several individuals could therefore be expected to come from each monarch’s reign, helping mark out roughly how long each ruled.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.
These samples had been assigned dates based on the usual pottery-based archaeological methods and comparison with other excavated layers (aka horizontal stratigraphy).
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.
“Nobody had ever done that before.” The investigators also concluded that the Pre-Dynastic time preceding Egyptian unification was a few centuries shorter than traditionally thought.
They calculated that 600 to 700 years passed between the development of agriculture in the Nile region and the First Dynasty.14 “The time period is shorter than was previously thought—about 300 or 400 years shorter,” Dee said.
Today secular and biblical experts acknowledge that “traditional” Egyptian chronology is a muddle.