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“Trying to understand what happened in human history to lead people to establish this sort of polity we felt was a gap in understanding that needed to be filled.”1 Before the mid-twentieth century, Egyptologists came up with dates for Egyptian unification ranging from 5500 BC to 2000 BC.
Since then, the average date assigned has been around 3100 BC.2 Dee’s study fits with this trend.
The team also undertook research on environmental samples from Oxford University Herbaria and found minor differences in radiocarbon levels in the region - important information for future dating studies.
Professor Christopher Ramsey said: ‘For the first time, radiocarbon dating has become precise enough to constrain the history of ancient Egypt to very specific dates.
Many bits of organic material carbon-dated in the latest study of Egypt’s First Dynasty originally came from these tombs.
Egypt’s ancient timeline has long been a subject of debate.
Archaeologists have depended mostly on fragmentary historical records and pottery types. Classification schemes are subjective, and variations among dig sites may not reflect progress through time.
No result for the Pre-Dynastic periods older than 6500 BC or more recent than 2000 BC was included.
Ignoring Egypt’s unifier Menes (aka Narmer, possibly), Aha—the first “official” pharaoh—acceded to the throne, the investigators concluded, around 3100 BC.