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KRONOS Vol. I, Issue 3

– as proclaimed by Immanuel Velikovsky – In the Light of New Archaeological Discoveries


Over twenty years have passed since Immanuel Velikovsky published his most provocative book, Ages in Chaos I, in which he suggested that the accepted reconstruction of Egyptian history seemed to be based on a wrong conception of chronology and that this chronology should be revised, (1)

Velikovsky not only challenged the so-called "Sothic" theory – others had done this before him – but suggested a substitute which would shorten the history of the so-called Egyptian New Empire down to the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C., by several hundred years.

As far as could be observed, this challenge has never been taken up by Egyptologists or students of ancillary disciplines: Velikovsky's approach to the problem was considered unsatisfactory and not complying with the rules of strictly scientific procedure.

This cause for objection has been finally removed thanks to the publication of a paper* in which Velikovsky discloses the fundamental error which lies at the bottom of the so-called "Sothic" theory: the "star of Isis," mentioned in the Canopus decree, is not the star Sothis= Sirius – which is a fixed star – but the planet Venus. Like many other peoples around the Mediterranean, the Egyptians observed a Venus Year.(2)

[* See Reference No. 2.]

After thus having been provided with a scientifically sound base, there should be no objective argument against an attempt to take up the challenge and test the so-called "revised" chronology of Velikovsky by applying it to a specific historic event.

The average student of the archaeology and/or ancient history of the Middle East, when told that Thutmose III, the most famous Pharaoh of the XVIIIth Egyptian Dynasty, started his first Asiatic campaign crossing the Egyptian frontier "about the 19th of April, 1479 B.C...." and " . . . went into camp on the plain by Megiddo on the 14th of May,"(3) does not ask how these dates were fixed. If he did, he would be in for a surprise. These dates were fixed about 70 years ago by a kind of common consent and have won final acceptance by all only after World War I.

Until the year 1904, when Eduard Meyer fixed the difference between the end of the XIIth Egyptian Dynasty and the rise of the XVIIIth Dynasty at 210 years, thereby establishing the beginning of their rule at 1580 B.C., Egyptologists varied widely in their dating. The following table should give some idea as to the differences in chronology suggested by 14 well-known Egyptologists during the 65 years from 1839 1904. (4)

Name of Egyptologist Year of publication Total interval between XIIth & XVIIIth Dynasty Absolute date for the beginning of the XVIIIth Dynasty
Champollion-Figeac 1839 1595 years 1822 B.C.
Wilkinson 1842 1595 years 1575 B.C.
Boeckh 1845 1589 years 1655 B.C.
Bunsen 1845 1009 years 1625 B.C.
Lepsius 1858 676 years 1591 B.C.
Brugsch 1859 893 years 1706 B.C.
Unger 1867 1359 years 1796 B.C.
Lieblein 1873 618 years 1490 B.C.
Mariette 1876 695 years 1703 B.C.
Brugsch 1877 533 years 1700 B.C.
Lauth 1879 600 years 1585 B.C.
Wiedemann 1884 1500 years (?) 1750 B.C.
Maspero 1897 1306 years ? B.C.
v. Bissing 1904 1299 years ? B.C.
Eduard Meyer 1904 210 years
Lieblein (see above) 1910 618 years 1490 B.C.

Meyer's so-called "Sothic" theory,(5) however, was the object of much controversy. Among those Egyptologists who never accepted it were e.g. Maspero, von Bissing, and "that rare genius," Sir Flinders Petrie.(6) Its chief promoter seems to have been James Breasted who used the figure suggested by Meyer in his History of Egypt (1905), which became the standard work for a whole generation of Egyptologists. In an annex, the "Chronological Table of Kings," the dates for the Pharaohs of the XIIth Dynasty and part of those of the XVIIIth Dynasty – including dates for Hatshepsut and Thutmose III – have asterisks added to them to show that they "are astronomically fixed".(7) But the problem continued to haunt scientists.

Weill (1926) was followed by Neugebauer (1938), who published an important and provocative study of the Egyptian calendar,(8) and Winlock (1940), who seriously doubted the validity of the Sothic theory. "The ancient Egyptians, from the Old Kingdom to the Roman period, have not left a single trace of such a fixed calendar. Out of the thousands which have survived from dynastic Egypt not one document gives equivalent dates in the known 'wandering' year and the hypothetical 'fixed' year. Furthermore, by the time that relations with the outside world were such as to result in unprejudiced foreign evidence on the customs of Egypt, we find the Egyptians both ignorant of, and unreceptive to, the idea." (9)

Discussions stopped during World War II, to be renewed 10 years later when Parker published a very detailed study (1950) in which he stated categorically: "The civil calendar of 365 days was not tied to Sothis at its introduction but was tied rather to some yearly occurrence which was variable so that the gradual shift forward of the civil calendar would not be immediately apparent." (10)

Weill uttered a similar idea in a study published 3 years later (1953). He thought it possible that "the calendar may have been displaced for reasons which are quite obscure" between the XIIth and the XVIIIth Dynasty. He suggested lowering the date for the XIIth Dynasty by 200 years and claimed that "the 'Sothis-Theory' is ruined for the ancient periods," i.e., the Old and Middle Kingdoms; though it remained applicable for the five centuries of Greek and Roman chronology and, in all probability, for the New Kingdom.(11)

In the meantime, it had become obvious to Egyptologists that Breasted's great History of Egypt was largely out of date. Looking around for somebody to replace it by a more up-to-date version, their choice fell on Sir Alan Gardiner. Gardiner was most reluctant to accept the task, though he yielded at the end. His book, which appeared in 1961, was dedicated "To the Memory of James Henry Breasted".(12)

Gardiner was first and foremost a linguist. His greatest work is his Egyptian Grammar. His approach is strictly scientific and highly critical as to every detail. Nowhere is there found the flight of phantasy which carried Breasted to an anticipated goal by boldly filling gaps in the written records in the ways best suited to the imagined end. Contrary to Breasted, Gardiner comes to the conclusion that "what is proudly advertised as Egyptian history is merely a collection of rags and tatters."(13) As to the crucial so-called "Intermediate period" between the XIIth and the XVIIIth Egyptian Dynasties, Gardiner stresses the "formidable difficulty" of limiting it to 200 years, since there are over 100 kings to be squeezed into that short space.(14) And he concludes that " . . . when all is said and done the results have been of a hypothetical character ill calculated to commend itself to any but the most venturesome scholars."(15)

Gardiner's chapter on chronology is full of remarks like those quoted: "It will be seen how sadly . . . we are reduced to guessing."(16)

Nevertheless, when Gardiner decides, in the end, to use the accepted chronology, it is done for purely practical reasons: "To abandon 1786 B.C. as the year when Dynasty XII ended, would be to cast adrift from our only firm anchor, a course that would have serious consequences for the history, not of Egypt alone, but for the entire Middle East."(17)

To summarize: 60 years after the publication of Eduard Meyer's chronology, the probability and reliability of the "astronomically fixed" dates by Breasted were still disputed by renowned scholars who devoted much time and thought to the problem without, however, succeeding in solving it. The most important result of their research was the realization that the "Egyptian calendar . . . was tied to some yearly occurrence which was variable" (Parker), and that it "may have been displaced for some obscure reason" between the XIIth and XVIIIth Dynasty (Weill). – The stage was set for a scholarly discussion of any publication which would answer one of these questions, if not both.

Those were the very years when Velikovsky published his revolutionary theories. In Worlds in Collision (1950), he dedicates a short paragraph to the synodical year of Venus, adding: "As I shall show in more detail in my reconstruction of ancient history, the Egyptians of the second part of the first pre-Christian millennium observed the Venus year."(18) Velikovsky repeated his promise in Ages in Chaos ( 1952): "At the end of this work we shall examine the validity of the notion that references to the star Sothis or Sirius may provide a basis for a chronological scheme."(19) The avid reader who looks for this examination at the end of Ages in Chaos I, however, is in for a disappointment: there is none.

It seems that it had been the intention of the author to publish his version of Egyptian chronology* only at the end of the planned last volume of the Ages in Chaos series, when he had completed his historical reconstruction down to the period of Alexander the Macedonian, who entered Egypt in 332 B.C. (The first volume covers the time period from the middle of the second millennium down to-the 9th century B.C.) At that time (1952), Velikovsky nurtured the hope of being able to publish the final volume shortly, and with it his answer to a problem which had vexed Egyptologists and historians alike for such a long time.

[* This was the chapter "Astronomy and Chronology" – later published separately (See Reference No. 2) – which primarily deals with the invalidity of astronomical chronology £or structuring Egyptian history and the dependent histories of the ancient world. – The Ed.]

Unfortunately, however, this hope did not materialize. No second volume to Ages in Chaos I has yet appeared in print. In the end, Velikovsky decided to publish the promised paper separately.(20) In this paper, Velikovsky proves that the Egyptians, in the first millennium before Christ, observed the so-called Venus calendar – as did the contemporary Greeks. Velikovsky, therewith, provided a firm base from which a critical investigation of his so-called "revised chronology" and its application to Middle East history may be started.

After having freed Egyptian chronology from the straightjacket of the "Sothic theory" and that of the "astronomically fixed" dates,* Velikovsky started to rebuild Egyptian history from the so-called Second Intermediate period between the XIIth and the XVIIIth Dynasty, by juxtaposing Egyptian and Biblical records. Like many scholars had done before, he looked first and foremost for an Egyptian document which would reflect the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt – an event which played such a decisive role in the history of Israel.

[* See I. Velikovsky, "Theses for the Reconstruction of Ancient History," Scripta Academica Hierosolymitana (Jerusalem, 1945), Theses No. 283 and No. 284. – The Ed.]

Contrary to his predecessors, however, Velikovsky was not looking for a story about the flight of a horde of slaves. While working on the problem, Velikovsky had come to realize that the so-called Ten Plagues reflected a series of dreadful disturbances of a global nature. By systematic research, Velikovsky succeeded in tracing documents preserved by ancient peoples around the world – in Mexico, Peru, China and India – where memories of these events had been registered.(21) He felt sure that similar records must have existed in Egypt. His efforts were crowned with success; he found what he considers to be an eyewitness account in the so-called Papyrus Ipuwer, from the time after the end of the XIIth Dynasty.(32) Comparing its content with descriptions in Exodus and other Biblical books referring to that phenomenon convinced Velikovsky that both documents described the same event, and that he had found the looked-for occurrence from which he could start re-building Egyptian history in relation to Biblical tradition.

From the moment that the Children of Israel had left Egypt till the time of King Solomon, i.e., for a period of 480 years, no contact between Israel and Egypt is ever reported in the Bible. The books of Joshua, Judges, and the 2 Books of Samuel, are filled with stories of encounters of a friendly and/or unfriendly nature with its neighbours; Egypt is never mentioned among them. According to Velikovsky's "revised chronology" – as it is now called - – the 400 odd years filled with Israel's wandering in the desert, the conquest of the Land under Joshua, and its settlement under the Judges, correspond to the period between the XIIth and the XVIIIth Egyptian Dynasties. Velikovsky thus doubled the length of time of 210 years allowed by Meyer, but questioned by many Egyptologists who thought that 210 years were much too short a time for including the many Pharaohs of the XIIIth, XIVth, XVth, XVIth, and XVIIth Dynasties and had asked for a minimum of 400 years for that period – a figure which agrees perfectly with Velikovsky's new chronology.

According to Velikovsky's reconstruction, the rise of the famous XVIIIth Dynasty would start about the same time as the introduction of kingdom in Israel. The Pharaohs Ahmose, Amenhotep I, and Thutmose I, whose combined years of rule, according to Breasted's chronology, were about 60 years, would thus be contemporaries of the Israelite Kings Saul and David. During their reigns, no contact seems to have existed between the two countries; Egypt is not mentioned in the Books of Samuel, nor Israel – under any name whatsoever – in Egyptian records.

Thutmose I was followed by his daughter Hatshepsut, King David by his son Solomon, who renewed contact with the Land of the Nile after a break of over 480 years.(23) Both rulers were unusually colourful and impressive personalities; we know of no other queen of Egypt who would fit Josephus' description of her as "thoroughly trained in wisdom and remarkable in other ways" who wanted to visit King Solomon because of "his virtue and understanding". (24) And this is why Velikovsky, after having reached this period in the course of his reconstruction, decided to dedicate an entire chapter – more than 40 pages – to a detailed investigation of the records of the two sovereigns.(25)

More than twenty years have passed since Velikovsky's recreation of events which might have occurred nearly 3000 years ago. During those years, archaeological activities in the south of Israel, the so-called Negev, i.e., that area which the queen would have had to pass through on her way to Jerusalem – according to Velikovsky's story – have changed and enriched our concept of that region's history. In the following pages, these activities will be reported in detail in order to find out whether they help to confirm the proposed reconstruction, or whether they disprove it.


The story – as told by Velikovsky – of the visit by Egypt's Queen Hatshepsut to the Land of Punt, and her identification with me Queen of Sheba who visited King Solomon, was the result of careful studies of Jewish, Egyptian, and Ethiopian traditions. In Part III of this paper, the literary sources used by Velikovsky will be made the object of renewed investigation and possible re-interpretation, based on a more modern and more accurate translation of the Egyptian texts, in combination with recent archaeological discoveries along the route taken by the queen. These discoveries must be dealt with first, and in detail, in order to make the reader familiar with the objective finds and to enable him to draw his own conclusions as to the possibility and/or validity of Velikovsky's reconstruction.

"The shortest route from Thebes to Jerusalem is not along the Nile and the coast of the Mediterranean; the Red Sea route is only a little more than half its distance: from Thebes to Coptos, a short distance up the Nile, and then to el-Qoseir, a harbor on the Red Sea, then by ship across the Red Sea and along the Aqaba Gulf, and from Aqaba overland to Jerusalem."(26)

The distance between the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and Jerusalem is about 350 kilometers; more than 200 kilometers run through waterless desert. The following description of the country was given by Nelson Glueck, as he found it during the years when he was travelling up and down these surroundings up to the year 1940. Speaking of the Wadi Arabah, along which the queen would have to travel, he writes: ". . . a great rift between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, it forms a dividing line between southern Palestine and southern Transjordan. It is part of the tremendous geological fault which continues southwards to the Gulf of Aqaba, the eastern arm of the Red Sea, and northwards by the Jordan River Valley . . . it is in every sense of the word a waste land which for all practical purposes remains completely unoccupied today. One may travel throughout its entire area for long periods on end without meeting more than a few Bedouins . . . The only group of people in the past that cultivated the soil at fairly many places even in the Wadi Arabah were the Nabataeans."(27)

At that time (1940), Glueck could scarcely have dreamt that it would fall to him to correct this picture as a result of his repeated archaeological surveys of Transjordan, the Jordan Valley, and especially the Negev – which went on for almost 25 years from 1932 to 1947 – only to be halted by the Israeli-Arab war – and from 1951 to 1959. In a critical essay on Glueck's achievements, a fellow archaeologist judged that it could be "stated without hesitation that Glueck's work is to be rated as one of the two most important individual contributions to the field of Palestinian archaeology in our generation."(28)

In this article, we will concentrate on Glueck's work during the years 1951-1959, during which he was pre-occupied with an archaeological survey of the Israeli Negev, including the Arabah. The results of these expeditions, which were organised year after year, were published at the end of each season in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research which sponsored Glueck's work and partly financed it. It is far more instructive to follow these yearly reports than rely solely on the final publication.

Already after the fourth season of exploration in the Negev, Glueck was amazed to find that "Our continued exploration in the Negeb adds up to a conclusion almost new, namely that there was an extensive sedentary settlement in the Negeb . . . during Iron II and apparently to a lesser degree in Iron I."(29) This, however, relates to the Northern Negev.

During his fifth season, Glueck went farther south, exploring also the Wadi Arabah. He found "a very large Iron II fortress on top of a high hill commanding 'Ain Ghadjan, overlooking the west side of the Wadi 'Arabah . . . and numerous Iron II sherds" which "included the crude hand-made types characteristic of Iron II sites in the southern Negev and Wadi 'Arabah."(30) There were also many fragments of copper ore, and slag, indicating that smelting or "roasting" operations had been carried out at Mene'iych(31) "and other sites in the Wadi 'Arabah."(32)

Glueck had been a pupil of W. F. Albright, from whom he had learned how to identify and to use ancient pottery fragments in surface surveys. Time and again he stresses the fact that his dating was based on such pottery finds.

After completion of his seventh, and last, season of explorations in the Negev, Glueck wrote that "The general picture of historical occupation of the Negeb is now clear. We have discovered ancient sites in various parts of the Negeb which could be dated by pottery remains to the following periods of settlement: (a) Late Chalcolithic . . .; (b) Middle Bronze I, between the 21st and 19th centuries B.C....; (c) Iron II, between the tenth and the sixth centuries B.C....; (d) Nabataean, particularly between the second century B.C. and the second century A.D."(33)

And he states later on, in the same report: "Wherever we turned in the Negeb, but particularly in the northern and western parts as well as in the Wadi 'Arabah, we found evidence of the extensiveness of military and agricultural occupation during the period of the Judaean Kingdom. The Negeb in the Iron II period was strongly fortified, intensively farmed, and also frequented by caravans of the types ranging from those of Solomon en route to Ezion-geber to those of the Queen of Sheba en route to Jerusalem." . . . "In general it may be said that the Nabataean-Byzantine occupation in the Negeb was the most extensive in the area. The next period in numbers of sites and density of population was that of the Judaean Kingdom of the tenth to the sixth centuries B.C."(34)

Two years later, Glueck could state with satisfaction that "additional finds further substantiated but in no way changed" his general conclusion. "Now that more than 450 ancient historical sites have been discovered in the Negeb, dated primarily by fragments of pottery found on the surface, it would seem that the possibility of error in determining the various periods of civilized occupation has been reduced to a bare minimum."(35) In the pictures published together with this report, Glueck shows the "Iron II copper and smelting site in Wadi 'Amrani" (figure 4); "Iron II sherds, bits of copper and slag and stone tools" of the same site (figure 5); and "Iron II sherds from [the same] site together with one from Mene'îyeh [Timna]" (figure 6).

A three-hour aerial reconnaissance over part of the Negev in March, 1959, confirmed the overall picture. Glueck noted "many more mining and smelting sites . . . to judge from our previous discoveries in the Wadi 'Arabah, most of the sherds associated with them will belong to Early Iron II."(36) On this flight, Glueck paid special attention to the way in which water conservation had been practiced, which alone would make cultivation possible in a region where rainwater was as scarce as in most parts of the Nile Valley.

"We could see from the plane how sterile hilltops and slopes had been pressed into service as catchment areas to help collect as many drops of rainwater as possible," observed Glueck, who believed that "the art of terracing wadi-boxes was extensively practiced at least as early as the time of the Judaean kingdom between the 10th and the 6th centuries B.C." To this, Glueck added: "The fact remains that we can pinpoint in the Negev the existence of Judaean terraces and cisterns, of Judaean fortresses and agricultural villages and mining camps." He could even observe, from his seat in the piper plane, that "the water-tight construction of some of the Iron II cisterns has lasted down to that same day, some of them being filled with water from the rains of late February and early March, 1959."(37)

In addition to his surface survey, Glueck did some excavating. The best known is that at Tell Kheleife, "about 500 m. from the shore and about half way between the eastern and western ends of the head of the Gulf of Aqaba." This excavation lasted from March to May, 1938, and April to May, 1939. "When the expedition . . . was able to examine the pottery on the site, it was seen immediately that it was the same as the pottery at the mining sites in the rest of the Wadi Arabah to the north, and that the main period of occupation of Tell Kheleife must be assigned to and after the time of King Solomon." Fortification wall and gateway rested on virgin soil. The gateway was similar to that of stratum IV at Megiddo, and a tenth century gateway at Lachish, also attributed to King Solomon. The discovery of this building made it possible to say that the shoreline has experienced no great change since the tenth century B.C. (38)

To summarize: the picture of the Negev as reconstructed and dated on pottery finds by Nelson Glueck, provides a perfect illustration to the description of Josephus, who reports that King David, after his victory over the Edomites, "occupied the whole of Idumaea [Edom] with garrisons" and that prince Hadad, who had to flee the country when it was conquered by David, and who wanted, years later, to stir the country to revolt against Solomon, was unable to do so "for it was occupied by many garrisons." (39)

Dating by pottery seemed confirmed by additional finds of objects bearing inscriptions. Among these was a signet ring, published by Glueck and Albright. "The seal itself, enclosed in a copper casting, had incised on it in retrograde, in the clearest possible ancient Hebrew characters, the following inscription: LYTM, 'belonging to Jotham'. Below the inscription is a beautifully carved horned ram, which seems to be Syrian in style. In front of the ram seems to be the figure of a man."(40) Glueck and Albright identified the owner of the seal tentatively as Jotham, King of Judah, who ruled in the 8th century B.C.

The interpretation of the seal was taken up again by N. Avigad in 1961.(41) He recognized that the item formerly described as "the figure of a man" showed a striking similarity to two objects depicted on the well known wall painting in the tomb of Khnum-hotep III at Beni Hasan, dated to me 19th century B.C., and identified by Albright as "portable bellows for use in working copper."(42) Similar bellows in use by metalworkers are shown in Egyptian representations from the New Kingdom. Avigad came to the conclusion that the object on the seal represents a conventional sign for metalworking and that the owner of the seal, Jomam, was the officer in charge of the royal copper mining and smelting operation in the Arabah. It seems that when King Uzziah-Azariah rebuilt Elam and restored it to Judah,(43) he revived the ancient copper industry, "which was of such vital economic importance to Judah .... Dating to about the middle of the 8th century B.C., the Jotham seal is in support of the opinion that copper exploitation in this area continued to be an important factor long after the Solomonic period."(44)

In addition to the signet ring, several ostraca had turned up during excavations at Tell el-Kheleife and were published by Glueck in 1940. Two of them were made the objects of re-interpretation based on the more refined knowledge of today, thanks to many more finds during the last 25 years.(45) In a very detailed analysis, Joseph Naveh suggested that one ostracon seems to have been written in Phoenician script and that "Phoenicians lived in Elath in the Persian Period [5th century B.C.] or, at least, Phoenician merchants passed through this port." Naveh mentioned that similar inscriptions have been found in Egypt.

The second ostracon is a fragment of an Iron II cooking pot with an inscription which Naveh judges to be Edomite of the 7th to 6th century B.C., though he does not exclude the possibility that it belongs "to the last third of the eighth century B.C., when the political influence of Israel and Judah on Moab and Edom came to an end."(45)

However this may be, these relics would confirm Glueck's datings based on his pottery finds. They would also provide an adequate background to Velikovsky's suggestion that Solomon's visitor was the highly sophisticated ruler described by Josephus, a queen who came from a country with a flourishing industry as shown in the contemporary Egyptian paintings, and a personality able to appreciate the achievements of Solomon – his copper mining and smelting installations, and the agricultural accomplishments in a country where rain was almost non-existent.

Unfortunately, however, Glueck's chronology did not remain unchallenged. The decade following publication of his finds was filled with heated discussions concerning the dating of the very same pottery seen and described by him. And this is why, in this paper, so much space has been dedicated to the survey carried out by Nelson Glueck: to show how fallacious it is to assume that archaeological chronology is foolproof and can, therefore, be used with absolute certainty in the fight against Velikovsky's "revised" chronology. It is a regrettable fact that the monumental and beautifully illustrated volumes containing reports on excavations rarely if ever mention any dissident opinion, but rather leave the reader under the impression that everything there stated was as unequivocally clear as described in the textbooks, and all definitions unanimously agreed upon.

Among the staff of Glueck's expeditions was a young man, Beno Rothenberg, who served as the expedition's photographer from 19521957. Rothenberg was intrigued by the rich finds of copper and copper installations in the Arabah. He decided to investigate the procedures by which copper was won and worked in ancient times. In 1959, Rothenberg started his Arabah-expedition, which grew from a one-man enterprise to an international team and, for the first time, threw light on the variety of techniques used over a space of several thousand years to obtain the precious metal.

In 1962, Rothenberg published the first results of his patient and painstaking work.(47) In it, he dedicated a special chapter to Tell el-Kheleife/ Ezion Geber. (Fig. I) Glueck's definition of the building excavated by him in Tell el-Kheleife (there were other buildings, too) as a copper smelting refinery could not be upheld in the face of the new discoveries of copper smelting installations made by Rothenberg. The latter suggested that the structure might have been designed and used as a storehouse and/ or granary – a view which was finally accepted by Glueck. (48) Rothenberg did not question the dating of the building, however, and conceded that it might be Solomonic.

Far more serious for the problem dealt with in this paper, however, was the dispute concerning dating of the pottery which Glueck had declared to belong to the Iron II period, i.e., the 10th to 6th centuries B.C. Rothenberg, who is not an archaeologist, left this side of the problem to Yohanan Aharoni, "that most excellent archaeologist," as Glueck had called him in one of his reports.(49) Aharoni showed a special interest in the sherds, part of which he had never encountered before during his excavations in northern and central Israel.

After having concluded his archaeological survey of the Arabah from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea during the years 1959-1962, Rothenberg decided to excavate one of the smelting camps, which he called Site 2, in order to investigate several problems, among them the question of a more precise dating of the mines and smelting sites. The excavations were carried out in May, 1964, and from March 10 to April 20, 1966.(50) Aharoni, who had been in charge of pottery since 1959, continued in this capacity during these excavations also.

Before concentrating on the pottery finds, however, a chance discovery made during this excavation should be mentioned, as it seems to warrant special interest in the light of Velikovsky's reconstruction. A shallow pit dug into the red sand contained "a stone structure, 2.30 by 2.0 m. and about 1 m. high . . . Clearing out the inside a skeleton was found at its bottom . . . The tomb contained no other objects . . . Examination of the bones by Dr. Haas of Tel Aviv University showed that, in fact, 'there were skeletal remains of two individuals. The first one, almost complete, is an adult male, 25-30 years old, with peculiar proto-negroid features. The second one, found without calvarium, was an adult of 18-22 years. No racial diagnosis of these remains was possible'. According to Dr. Haas, the Timna skull, with its peculiar anthropological typological features, could not in any way belong to a population originating from the Syria-Palestine area, but an African origin is strongly indicated. It is similar to the proto-boscopoid type found in ancient Ethiopia and at Nagada in Egypt."(51) No explanation for this unexpected find was offered by the excavator.

Returning now to pottery: In his preliminary report, published in 1967, Rothenberg confirmed the conclusion, already "reached in 1964," "that the very latest date of the copper works in the Arabah was the 11th century B.C. – there being no traces of industrial activities from the time of the United Monarchy or the Judean Kings." And later: "From the chronological viewpoint there is only one stratum at Camp No. 2 . . . Iron Age I." In an explanatory note, Rothenberg adds: "We reached this conclusion in 1964 chiefly on the basis of the pottery finds. The pottery from Timna is being studied by Prof. Aharoni; and the above date is in keeping with his findings."(52)

Nelson Glueck, who had been ready to revise his interpretation of the Solomonic building at Tell el-Kheleife in view of Rothenberg's finds, was adamant in his refusal to accept Aharoni's dating of the sherds. In an article published in 1965, Glueck reported on continued explorations which raised the number of sites visited to 500.(53) Among these, he "took occasion to examine some additional mining and smelting sites in the Wadi Arabah" which had been visited by Rothenberg. "Clearly datable sherds of predominantly the same coarse handmade Kenite or Rechabite type . . . were picked up. They confirmed our original dating of the major number of Wadi Arabah mining and smelting sites to King Solomon." (54)

In 1969, however, Glueck openly contested Aharoni's dates: (55) "Most of the copper-mining and smelting sites in Wadi Arabah that we were able to bring into the framework of history through surface pottery finds were marked to the seventh-sixth century B.C. as well as earlier ones going back to the 10th century B.C." Minean-Edomite pottery was found "together with pottery having datable inscriptions . . . Among them are numerous examples . . . which evidence strong Assyrian influence and indeed are hardly distinguishable, if at all, from Assyrian parallels of the same period. Both the shape and hard metallic ware of many of them are in clear imitation of contemporary 7th /6th century B.C. Assyrian metal and pottery vessels."

Glueck continues: "The statements by Aharoni-Rothenberg first that the Iron Age pottery found at the copper mining and smelting sites in the Wadi Arabah belonged exclusively to the tenth century B.C., and then that this same pottery belonged exclusively to the 12th and 11th century B.C. with absolutely no other Iron Age pottery occurring in Wadi Arabah are equally in error. The pottery on these sites that can be assigned to the Iron Age is to be dated from the tenth to the fifth century B.C., that is, to the period of Iron II and the beginning of Iron III."

In a footnote, Glueck quotes from a then-unpublished article by W.F. Albright: "Kheleife has exactly the archaeological history which biblical tradition requires for Ezion-geber. The lowest occupation remains certainly date from the age of Solomon . . . Nelson Glueck's exploration of the copper-mining sites in the Arabah . . . was decisive in fixing . . . chronology of the ancient metallurgic operations south of the Dead Sea . . . the early Iron Age pottery which has been found at many of these sites is . . . definitely 10th century and thus probably Solomonic . . . Every new discovery of pottery convinces me that Nelson Glueck is right in his chronology and that Aharoni and Rothenberg are wrong."(55)

The printing ink was not yet dry on these statements, however, when Rothenberg discovered, in March, 1969, an Egyptian temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Hathor right in the middle of the ancient Timna copper mining and smelting installations. (Fig. 2) Excavation brought to light a number of inscriptions and cartouches of Pharaohs of the XIXth and XXth Dynasties, who ruled from the end of the 14th to the middle of the 12th century B.C. – according to the accepted chronology – i.e., from the Late Bronze Age to Iron Age I.

Already in his preliminary report Rothenberg proclaimed: "Now, we have fixed and final dates for the copper mines at Timna, which puts an end to the prolonged disputes as to their dating, and working. Now it is clear that it was the Egyptian kings of the 19th-20th dynasties [14th-12th centuries B.C.] and not the kings of Israel and Judah from the 10th to 6th centuries B.C. who sent mining expeditions to the Arabah. The Egyptians worked the copper mines and the installations."(57)

Two years later, Rothenberg published the final report on his activities at Timna, a beautifully illustrated book which leaves the reader full of admiration for the perseverance and patience with which the author pursued his goal for over 12 years.(58) The general editor, Sir Mortimer Wheeler, prefaced the book. Based on the dating of the Hathor temple, he stated that "in spite of traditional associations of King Solomon with the mines and the landscape, the great king is probably the most eminent absentee from the archaeological sequence."(59)

In chapter VI, Rothenberg stressed again that "the discovery at Timna of a temple dedicated to Hathor and dated by inscriptions to the XIXth and XXth Dynasties of Egypt, together with the fact that the pottery found in this temple is the same as the pottery found in the excavation of Site 2 and on the surface of all Late Bronze-Early Iron Age sites in the Arabah, finally ended the protracted discussions about the date and originators of the Timna copper industries. We know today that . . . all . . . belong to the period between the end of the 14th century B.C. and the middle of the 12th century B.C., and were operated by Pharaonic expeditions of the XIXth to XXth Dynasties." "There is no evidence whatsoever of any copper mining or smelting activities in the western Arabah later than the 12th century B.C. until the renewal of the industry in the Roman period. There is no factual and, as a matter fact, no ancient written literary evidence of 'King Solomon's Mines'."(60) And Rothenberg quotes I Chron. 18:8 as proof that the copper used for the Temple was brought to King David from an entirely different region.

"The Egyptian Kings represented by inscriptions in the Timna Temple are:

Sethos I (1318-1304 B.C.)
Ramses II (1304-1237 B.C.)
Merneptah (1236-1223 B.C.)
Sethos II (1216-1210 B.C.)
Queen Twoseret (1209-1200? B.C.), all of the XIXth Dynasty. And:
Ramses III (1198-1166 B.C.)
Ramses IV (1166-1160 B.C.) and
Ramses V (1160-1156 B.C.) of the XXth Dynasty."(61)

And thus it was decided that pottery which had been ascribed by Nelson Glueck and W.F. Albright to the 10th to 6th century B.C., and by Y. Aharoni and B. Rothenberg to the 12th, 11th, and eventually 10th century B.C., was to be

suddenly removed to the 14th to 12th century B.C. – by applying the very Egyptian chronology, the base of which had been repeatedly questioned, as shown in Part I of this paper.

It must have come as quite a shock to Nelson Glueck. But as neither he nor Albright had ever doubted Egyptian chronology, they had no choice but to accept the dates "proved" by the inscriptions found in the Egyptian temple at Timna. (62) And the onlooker wonders: how to explain the fact that a man like W. F. Albright, the undisputed authority for dating Palestinian pottery for two scores of years, and Glueck, who had handled Negev pottery for over three decades, had erred as widely as that in their dating? May this experience have been in the back of Prof. Albright's mind, when he suddenly, and unexpectedly, came to Velikovsky's lectures and, in the words of the latter, "writes of the 'extreme brilliancy' of my efforts, a term he does not use usually toward his opponents."(63) The question has never been asked, and the answer will never be known: the voices of both men, William Foxwell Albright and Nelson Glueck, are heard no longer, having been silenced by death.(64) It remains to the living, therefore, to reopen the case and reconsider the deductions from the archaeological finds in the light of a "revised" chronology. It is this problem which will be dealt with in Part III of this paper.

. . . to be continued.


1. I. Velikovsky, Ages in Chaos I (Garden City, 1952) All quotations in this paper refer to this edition.
2. I. Velikovsky, "Astronomy and Chronology," Pensee IV (Spring-Summer, 1973), pp. 3849, especially pp. 46-48.
3. J. H. Breasted, A History of Egypt, 2nd ed. (London, 1941), pp. 285, 287.
4. R. Weill, Bases Méthodes et Résultats de la Chronologie Egyptienne (Paris, 1926), pp.3-4.
5. As to the Sothic theory, see I. Velikovsky, "Astronomy and Chronology," loc. cit.; Ages in Chaos, pp. 75-76.
6. R. Weill, op. cit., pp. 16ff. As to the personality of Petrie, see J. B. Pritchard, Archaeology and the Old Testament (Princeton, 1958), p. 1.
7. Breasted, op. cit., p. 597.
8. O. Neugebauer, "Die Bedeutungslosigkeit der 'Sothisperiode' fuer die aelteste aegyptische Chronology," Acta Orientalia, XVII (1938), pp. 169-195.
9. H.E. Winlock "The Origin of the Ancient Egyptian Calendar," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, LXXXIII (1940), pp. 447-464.
10. R. A. Parker, The Calendars of Ancient Egypt (The Oriental Institute of the Univ. of Chicago, 1950), para. 260, Quotation underlined in the original! The monumental work of O. Neugebauer and R. Parker: Egyptian Astronomical Texts, the third volume of which was published in 1969, was not accessible to this writer unfortunately. (A lengthy review appeared in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 57 (1971), pp. 215-217,)
11. R. Weill, "XIIe Dynastie, Royauté de Haute-Égypte et Domination Hyksos" IFAO, Tome XXVI
(Le Caire, 1953) where more literature is given, " . . . Ie calendre ait peut être déplacé . . . pour des raisons tout aussi obscures, . . La 'theorie sothiaque' est ruinee pour les periodes anciennes . . ." – p. 157, Ibid.
12. A.H. Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs (Oxford, 1961).
13. Ibid., p. 53.
14. Ibid. p. 66.
15. Ibid. p. 149.
16. Ibid., p. 150.
17. Ibid., p. 148.
18. I. Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, (N.Y., 1950), p. 195.
19. I Velikovsky, A in C, p. 76.
20. I Velikovsky, "Astronomy and Chronology," op. cit. In a footnote, the reader is advised that the paper, first set in type in the early 1950's, will appear as a supplement to Peoples of the Sea by the same author.
21. I. Velikovsky, W in C, op. cit. See Index: China, Chinese, Aztecs, Incas, American Indians, India, Mexico, Peru, a.o.
22. I. Velikovsky, A in C, pp.. 25-31 where passages from both documents, the papyrus and the Old Testament, are compared in detail.
23. I Kings II, I (Solomon's marriage with Pharaoh's daughter); 2 Chron. I, 16/17 (his trade with
Egypt); 1 Kings VI, 1 (480 years after the Exodus, Solomon started to build the Temple).
24. Josephus, Jewish Antiquitles, VIII, vi.5.
25. A in C, Chapter III, pp, 103-141.
26. Ibid., p. 113.
27. N. Glueck, The Other Side of the Jordan (New Haven, 1940), p. 50.
28. G. Ernest Wright, "The Achievement of Nelson Glueck," The Biblical Archaeologist hereafter BA 2 (1959), p. 50.
29. N. Glueck, "The Fourth Season of Explorations in the Negev," Bulletin of the American Schools
ot Oriental Research hereafter BASOR 142 (19561, pp. 17-35. Quotation from p. 17. Iron II in Palestine chronology corresponds roughly to the period from the 10th to the 6th century B.C., including the rule of King Solomon (10th century B.C.).
30. N. Glueck, "The Fifth Season of Explorations in the Negev," BASON 145 (1957), pp. 1125.
Quotations from pp. 23 and 24.
31. The name has now been changed to Timna. The modern copperworks occupy part of the region
today. Its distance from the Gulf of Aqaba is about 25 km., going straight north along the Arabah.
32. Glueck, "The Fifth Season."
33. N. Glueck, "The Seventh Season of Explorations in the Negev," BASOR 152 (1958), pp. 18-38. Quotations from pp. 19 and 36.
34. Ibid., emphasis added.
35. N. Glueck, "Archaeological Exploration of the Negev in 1959," BASOR 159 (1960), pp. 314, Quotation from p. 3; Figures 4-6 on pp. 10-12.
36. N. Glueck, "An Aerial Reconnaissance of the Negev," BASOR 155 (1959), pp, 2-13. Quotation from pp. 4, 7, 12. In the same number, Glueck mentions that a difference in dating of a certain piece of pottery had now been resolved and that one of the archaeologists "the capable Dr. Yohanan Aharoni, acknowledges in a letter to me of May 5, 1959, that the article is definitely not MBI but . . . is to be assigned to Iron II" (p. 10).
37. Ibid.
38. Glueck, The Other Side of the Jordan, op. cit., pp. 91, 92, 99. N. Glueck, "Ezion-Geber," BA 28 (1965), pp. 70-87.
39. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, transl. Thackeray and Marcus, VII v, 4 and VIII, vii, 6.
40. BASOR 79 (1940), pp. 13ff., figs. 8-9: and p. 15, note 9.
41. N. Avigad, "The Jotham Seal and Its Relation to the Copper Industry at Ezion-Geber." Paper read at the Third World Congress of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, 25th July – I August, 1961 (Hebrew). Abridged version in English under the title- "The Jotham Seal from Elath," BASOR 163 (1961), pp. 18-22. Quotation from pp. 20 and 21. Glueck accepted Avigad's interpretation: BA 28 (1965),), p. 86.
42. W.F. Albright, Archaeology and the Religon of Israel (Baltimore, 1946), p. 98.
43. 2 Chron. XXVI, 2.
44. Avigad, "The Jotham Seal," loc. cit.
45. J. Naveh, "The Scripts of Two Ostraca from Elath," BASOR 183 (1966), pp. 27-30. Quotations from pp. 27, 28, 30.
46. Ibid.
47. B. Rothenberg, "Ancient Copper Industries in the Western Araba," Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 94th year (1962), pp. 5-63. Part II: Tell el-Kheleife/Ezion-Geber: Elath, pp. 44-56.
48. N. Glueck, "Ezion Geber," BA 28 (1965), pp. 70-87, especially P- 75.
49. Glueck, "The Fifth Season," op. cit., p. 21. Professor Aharoni is now heading the Archaeological Department, Tel-Aviv University. He concentrates on excavations in the south of Israel and the Negev-Arad and surroundings, and Tell Beer-Sheba.
50. B. Rothenberg and A. Lupu, "Excavations at Timna [Arabah], May, 1964, Preliminary Report," Bulletin of Museum Haarez, No. 7 (June, 1965), pp. 19-28. Idem. "Excavations at Timna. Preliminary Report on the Excavations at Camp No. 2 in Wadi Timna, 19641966," Bull. Museum Haarez, No. 9 (June, 1967), PP. 53-70.
51. B. Rothenberg, Timna, Valley of the Biblical Copper Mines (Thames and Hudson
1972), p. 103.
52. Bull. Museum Haarez, No. 9 (June, 1967), pp. 54-55 and note 5
53. N. Glueck, "Further Explorations in the Negev," BASOR 179 (1965), pp. 6-29 (richly illustrated showing sherds).
54. Ibid., p. 16
55. N. Glueck, "Some Ezion-Geber: Elath Iron II Pottery," Erez Israel 9 (Jerusalem 1969), pp. 51-59. Quotation from PP. 51, 54 and note 16.
56. Ibid.
57. B. Rothenberg. "An Egyptian Temple of the Goddess Hathor in the Southern Arabah," Bull. Museum Haarez, No. 12 (June, 1970), pp. 20-25, (Hebrew edition, English translation by this writer. E.D.)
58. Rothenberg, Timna, op. cit.
59. Ibid., p. 9.
60. Ibid., p. 180.
61. Ibid., pp. 163 and 166.
62. Personal communication contained in a letter from Dr. Rothenberg to this writer.
63. Personal letter from Dr. Velikovsky to this writer, February 22, 1971.
64. Professor Glueck passed away in February, 1971, Prof. Albright in September of the same year,

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