Jericho - Exodus - Santorini

Timo Niroma (
19 Jul 1996 17:13:55 GMT

I was yesterday in sci.archaeology still immersed in the articles of
Peter Kuniholm, Bernd Kromer et al. ("Anatolian tree rings and the
absolute chronology of the eastern Mediterranean, 2220-718 BC") plus
an analysis of it by Colin Renfrew ("Kings, tree rings and the Old
World"). Both in Nature 381/6585 (27 June 1996). In enthusiasm I sent
to both newsgroups a short suggestion that now when the Anatolian
dendrochronology affirms both Baillie dendrochronology in Ireland and
England plus the older Hollstein one from Germany, we have now one
absolute calendar year fixed in the second millennium BC, the Theran
eruption in 1628 BC, and should use this to make the king lists with
all accompanying dates 78 years older.

Then we had the discussion about Hammurabi (in sci.archaeology), where
the mystery of two dates prevailing was solved by two (three)
dendrochronologies (Irish and German (and English)). But whether the
discrepancy was the same that Kuniholm had discovered (actually the
same that Baillie confirmed in 1989 against the German one from 1980),
remained still unsolved as concerns Hammurabi.

But Peter Cherry made a good question in sci.archaeology based on some
BBC news based on the newer Nature article. I have the article right
on the left side of my keyboard and have been reading it several times
and made some calculations. (Nature 382/6588, 18 July 1996 (how rapid
the post can be, yesterday's paper is here in Finland and without any
electronic transmission).) "The Exodus enigma" is written by Hendrik
Bruins (Israel) and Johannes van der Plicht (the Netherlands).

I don't mean the explicit question about the date, which was based on
radiocarbon dating, and got an immediate correction except by me, also
from a few others. I don't see BBC here in Finland, so that I don't
know what was actually said, but because Peter had not seen the
original Nature article, I cite the relevant part of it concerning this
issue, because, according to his description either he or BBC (or both)
had mixed up radiocarbon and dendro.

And besides we are now beginning to have absolute dates for some things
that happened during the second millennium BC, besides Thera/Santorini
also for the destruction of Jericho and the Exodus. Here it goes.

"... the low-chronology option requires unsatisfactory stretching of
the 45-year difference between the Santorini and Jericho 14C dates in
relation to the 1628 BC dendro-event. We prefer the medium high
chronology ... A high-precision wiggle-matched 1503-year dendroch
ronology from Turkey..."

Reference to Kuniholm et al.. Suits with the Baillie one. The
dendrochronology from the first and second millennium BC does not
anymore float. Egyptologists, take this as a challenge. Don't believe
any dates older than 10 years.

"...provides major new evidence for the tree-ring signal of 1628 BC as
the date of the Minoan Santorini eruption. If the latter eruption is
associated with the Exodus plague of darkness, then the 40-year desert

>From figure and simple arithmetics 1628-1588 BC.

"... fits the high chronology of our calibrated 14C date for Jericho's
destruction, calibrated ..."

Now we have the year 1588 BC. The 40 years mentioned in the Genesis are
in accordance with Bruins 45 radiocarbon years.

"... If we consider only the Akrotiri radiocarbon results, the 40-year
desert period fits the Jericho medium high-chronology 14C dates,
calibrated with either curve."

Bruins goes not so far as the suggest the recalibration of the
beginning of the 18th dynasty, but Renfrew indirectly supposes that.
It wouldn't be 1550 BC (or 1540 BC), but 1628 BC. So a correction of
78 years (or maybe 88 years) is needed in the Egyptian king list.