Sunday, May 19, 2024

If Joseph's Pharao was Amenhotep III, what would that do to carbon dates?

The Pharaohs of Genesis and Exodus
Joel W Seibright (Australian Catholic University Graduate Student, on Academia)

One of the theses is, Joseph's Pharao was Amenhotep III, Joseph is recorded as Ramose.

I have no carbon date directly linked to Amenhotep III, since I don't count this quote as very reliable:

The dates of Amenhotep III's accession and the end of his reign are estimated to be 1423–1386 calBC and 1385–1348 calBC

Absolute dating of lead carbonates in ancient cosmetics by radiocarbon
Lucile Beck et al. Communications Chemistry volume 1, Article number: 34 (2018)

Wait, the lead carbonate was synthetic? Fresh charcoal was used to give lead the carbonate carbon component? OK, that changes it.

Joseph, living in 1700 BC, when his pharao presumably died, is living under a pharao whose cerussite consumption points to a carbon date of 1385–1348 BC.

1348 - 1700 = -352, when young the cerussite dated 352 years into the future ... presumably, Joel W Seibright doesn't mean this, he has more probably radically shortened the Biblical chronology between Joseph and King David, but we'll proceed as if he had more respect for the text. This would mean a carbon 14 level of 104.35 pmC in 1700 BC.

Meanwhile, as Osgood pointed out, Asason-Tamar is En-Geddi:

The Times of Abraham
By Dr A.J.M. Osgood | This article is from
Journal of Creation 2(1):77–87, April 1986

Genesis 14 is a narrative which begins with a confederation of four Mesopotamian kings:-

  1. Amraphel, king of Shinar
  2. Arioch, king of Ellasar
  3. Chedorlaomer, king of Elam
  4. Tidal, king of Goiim (Genesis 14:1)

This would tend to put the Genesis 14 event into pre-cuneiform times, at least pre-cuneiform narratives.

As is often the case, the positive clue comes from the most insignificant portion of this passage. In Genesis 14:7 we are told that the kings of Mesapotamia attacked ‘the Amorites who dwelt in Hazezon-tamar’. Now 2 Chronicles 20:2 tells us that Hazezon-tamar is En-gedi, the oasis mentioned in Scripture a number of times on the western shore of the Dead Sea. ... Happily for us. En-gedi has been excavated.5,6 The excavations found only three major periods of settlement at En-gedi:-.

  1. The Roman period - not relevant here
  2. During the Kingdom of Israel - not relevant here
  3. During the Chalcolithic of Palestine - the largest and most prolific settlement period.

And as I know from another source, En Gedi's calcholithic has a carbon date:

Wikipedia : Nahal Mishmar hoard

The Nahal Mishmar hoard is the hoard of archaeological artifacts found by a 1961 expedition led by Pessah Bar-Adon in a cave by Nahal Mishmar in the Judaean Desert near the Dead Sea, Israel. The collection wrapped in a straw mat found under debris in a natural crevice contained 442 objects: 429 of copper, six of hematite, one of stone, five of hippopotamus ivory, and one of elephant ivory. Carbon-14 dating of the mat suggests the date at least 3,500 BCE, i.e., it places the hoard into the Chalcolithic period. ... The objects of the hoard seem to be collected in a hurry.[1] There are several theories about the origin of the hoard. Archaeologist David Ussishkin has suggested the hoard may have been the cultic furniture of the abandoned Chalcolithic Temple of Ein Gedi about 7 miles (11 km) south from the site.[6][7] Yosef Garfinkel stated that no proof have been provided for the connection of the hoard with the temple and suggested that this was a burial of cult objects, to prevent their desecration, drawing a parallel with the find in the Nahal Hemar Cave[8] ...

I would say the hurry was from the evacuation of En Gedi. Even without this identification of the hoard ...

The Chalcolithic temple of Ein Gedi is a Ghassulian public building dating from about 3500 BCE. It lies on a scarp above the oasis of Ein Gedi, on the western shore of the Dead Sea, within modern-day Israel. Archaeologist David Ussishkin has described the site as "a monumental edifice in terms of contemporary architecture".

So, Genesis 14 is tied to the carbon date 3500 BC.

3500 - 1935 = 1565 extra years, implying a carbon level of 82.753 pmC.

1935 - 1700 = 235 years. Decay = down to 97.197 % or original content. Normal replacement = 2.803 pmC.

Part of the carbon 14 that was remaining:
82.753 pmC * 97.197 / 100 = 80.433 pmC

Actual replacement:
104.35 pmC - 80.433 pmC = 23.917 pmC

Factor of carbon 14 production:
23.917 pmC / 2.803 pmC = 8.532 times as fast

I'll skip what that kind of rate would mean between Flood and Babel (10.1 times as fast overall, though part just 3.628 times as fast and other part 20.702 times as fast), since the much lower initial values makes for more doubling (the relation between dates and carbon 14 is not to linear or geometric amounts of it, but to logarithmic ones), but this would place Djoser and Senusret III in ...

235 : 5 = 47 years. 99.433 %, remainder after,
0.567 pmC normal replacement,
0.567 pmC * 8.532 = 4.838 pmC actual replacement

1935 BC
82.753 pmC, dated 3500 BC

82.753 * 99.433 / 100 = 82.284 pmC
82.284 + 4.838 = 87.122 pmC
(and so on between remaining rungs)

1888 BC
87.122 pmC, dated 3038 BC

1841 BC
91.466 pmC, dated 2581 BC

1794 BC
95.785 pmC, dated 2154 BC

1747 BC
100.08 pmC, dated 1737 BC

1700 BC
104.35 pmC, dated 1350 BC

(1888 + 1841) / 2 = 1865 BC
(87.122 + 91.466) / 2 = 89.294 pmC
940 + 1865 = 2805 BC

(1794 + 1747 + 1747 + 1747) / 4 = 1759 BC
(95.785 + 100.08 + 100.08 + 100.08) / 4 = 99.00625 pmC
1759 + 80 = 1839 BC

So, on this view, Djoser would be placed in 1865 BC and Senusret III in 1759 BC. 106 years apart. On my view it's 1700 respectively 1588, 112 years apart. Not too big a difference. Except, I'm rearranging only Old and Middle Kingdom reigns this radically, while Joel W Seibright would be placing Senusret III's coffin 59 years prior to Amenhotep III's (or his wife's) lead carbonate make up. I'm placing Amenhotep III and Akhenaten into the Judges period. The carbon date 1348 BC would be between 1319 and 1297 BC, placing up to 270 years (as opposed to 59) from the death of Senusret III to that of Amenhotep III.

But the undergraduate is no doubt not all that interested in Biblical chronology as fact, or he would not have dreamt of placing the Pharao of the Exodus that near the fall of Troy, which is close enough to Setnakhte. He might even consider all of Genesis as mythical.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Pentecost Day

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