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Radiocarbon Verification of the Earliest Astro-Chronological Datum

  • Ezra S Marcus (a1), Michael W Dee (a2), Christopher Bronk Ramsey (a2), Thomas F G Higham (a2) and Andrew J Shortland (a3)...


Papyri 10012A and 10012B from Illahun, Egypt, provide the earliest astro-chronological datum in history and, while calculated to various years in the 19th century BCE, have never been independently verified. As this datum enables the Middle Kingdom (MK) section of Egyptian historical chronology to be anchored in absolute time, it establishes the principal calendrical timeline for the eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE. AMS radiocarbon measurements of Papyrus 10012B establish its date range to 1886–1750 BCE, confirming the astronomical calculations and the essential reliability of Egyptian historical chronology for this period. Furthermore, all three leading estimates for the calendar year attribution of the document are supported by this analysis, with the role of a possible growing season effect determining which is most favored.


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