The Continuing Debate:
Replies to Critics and Further Research

Since the publication of CoD, we have steadily continued research into the many fields touched on. Critics have raised various objections, sometimes in rather heated terms, and we have replied in print to all the substantive criticisms raised, though this may not have been appreciated widely. To alleviate this problem, we include below a complete list of our published replies, together with our new publications advancing the model proposed in the book. (For more cut-and-thrust of the debate see our page on Frequently Asked Questions, where we aim to put the record straight.)

The first section below lists in chronological order published writings (in journals, books and periodicals) on a wide variety of topics. Short summaries are given, together with key quotes or comments highlighting important issues in the debate. Where possible, we hope in due course to add full online texts of all published material. Click on the links below to read those presently available. Some material may require an Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be obtained here. The second section, in preparation, will include new material specially written for this website.


  • James, P. J., Thorpe, I. J., Kokkinos, N., Morkot, R., Frankish, J., 1991. "Centuries of Darkness: Context, Methodology and Implications", Cambridge Archaeological Journal 1:2, pp. 228-235.

    An invited paper written to coincide with the publication of Centuries of Darkness. Our paper was published as part of a Review Feature (pp. 227-253) together with these responses: Kenneth Kitchen: "Egyptian Chronology: Problem or Solution? (pp. 235-239); Barry Kemp: "Examining Ancient Crises" (pp. 239-244); Nicholas Postgate: "The Chronology of Assyria - An Insurmountable Obstacle" (pp. 244-246); Anthony Snodgrass: "The Aegean Angle" (pp. 246-247); Andrew and Susan Sherratt: "Urnfield Reflections" (pp. 247-250)

  • James, P. J. & Morkot, R., 1991. Letter [reply to Kitchen 1], Times Literary Supplement June 7, p. 15.

    Deals with Kitchen's ad hominem dismissal of CoD, his hypocritical attitude towards Manetho and his alleged 'dead-reckoning' of the Third Intermediate Period; ends with a challenge to prove his main point that there was no overlap between the 21st and 22nd Dynasties.

  • James, P. 1991. Letter [reply to Kitchen 2], Times Literary Supplement July 12, p. 13.

    A reply to Kitchen's reply - on TIP chronology, Assyrian parallel dynasties and the hapless Takeloth I.

  • James, P. J., Thorpe, I. J., Kokkinos, N., Morkot, R., Frankish, J., 1992. "Centuries of Darkness: A Reply to Critics" [ 642K], Cambridge Archaeological Journal 2:1, pp. 127-130. (PDF available online by kind permission of the publishers.)

    Short replies to the remarks of Kitchen, Kemp, Postgate, Snodgrass and the Sherratts in CAJ 1:2. Included are new arguments on a number of matters, e.g. the identification of the biblical Shishak. In the conclusion we threw down the gauntlet to our critics: "It must be clearly understood that adherents of the status quo cannot have it both ways. Cypriot and Palestinian archaeologists can no longer co-exist in a never-never land in which they 'agree' to differ about the dating of Black-on-Red by as much as two centuries. The situation is absurd. We have done our best to provide the kind of imaginative solution which Kemp, the Sherratts and others feel should be applied to the chronological problems of the Dark Ages. The onus is now on our critics to provide between them a better general strategy for resolving the abysmally muddled state of Late Bronze to Iron Age archaeology."

  • James, P. J. & Kokkinos, N., 1992-3, Letter [reply to Mellaart 1991/2], Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society 12, p. 80.

    A reply to some fantastic claims made by James Mellaart in a review of Centuries of Darkness. (For further detail see Frequently Asked Questions Q12c.)

  • Morkot, R., 1994. "The Nubian Dark Age", in C. Bonnet (ed.), Études Nubiennes II. Actes du VIIe Congrès internationale d'études nubiennes, 3-8 septembre 1990 (Genève), pp. 45-47.

    A brief conference paper highlighting the issues of the Nubian Dark Age and its chronology.

  • James, P. J., 1996. "Updating the Centuries of Darkness", British Archaeology 13 (April), pp. 8-9.

    A short article for a general readership, summarising the case for the Centuries of Darkness model and reviewing some new evidence in support - including the dendrochronological results from Tille Hüyük and the stratigraphy of the Tel Dan stela.

  • James, P., Kokkinos, N., & Thorpe, I. J., 1998: "Mediterranean Chronology in Crisis" [ 1.8M], in M. S. Balmuth & R. H. Tykot (eds), Sardinian and Aegean Chronology: Proceedings of the International Colloquium 'Sardinian Stratigraphy and Mediterranean Chronology', Tufts University, March 17-19, 1995 (Studies in Sardinian Archaeology V - Oxbow Books), pp. 29-43 . (PDF available online by kind permission of the editors.). Corrigenda and Addendum to Postscript (Dec. 1998) [ 102K].

    Paper delivered at a major chronology conference. Topics covered include problems in Phoenician palaeographic dating (with particular respect to Sardinia), the tensions between Aegean and Palestinian archaeological chronologies, the setting of a late 8th to early 7th-century "Cypro-Phoenician horizon" as a solid benchmark for chronology-building (as far as Carthage), the controversies over Black-on-Red Ware and Samaria, problems of the Egyptian Third Intermediate Period (largely focussing on genealogical evidence for a 21st-22nd Dynasty overlap), implications for Central Mediterranean chronology, radiocarbon dating of the Aegean and dendrochronology in Anatolia (with some caveats about the misuses of both). Includes a full answer to Manning and Weninger's 1992 Antiquity article claiming that C14 dates from Greece refute our model. In the postscript (p. 41) we note, with some surprise, that Israel Finkelstein, who had previously argued for raising the dates of the Early Iron Age in Edom, had begun publishing papers arguing in a different direction: "Israel Finkelstein has outlined a radical revision of the Iron Age of Palestine which argues a lowering of Iron IIA ("10th-century") levels to the 9th century, similar to that proposed by the authors although attempting to work within the conventional chronology."

  • Morkot, R. 1999a. "The Origin of the Napatan State", in S. Wenig (ed.), Studien zum antiken Sudan (Akten der 7. Internationalen Tagung für meroitische Forschungen, 14-19 Sep. 1992 in Gosen/bei Berlin), pp. 139-48.

    This paper was presented in response to Timothy Kendall's main paper on "The Origin of the Napatan State" at the Seventh International Conference for Meroitic Studies at Berlin in 1992. It challenges the usual academic method of discussing 'Napatan' origins, which focusses almost exclusively on the chronology of the cemetery of el-Kurru, by taking broader themes of state formation (economic, military capability, ideology etc) and asking where we might look for evidence, and how all of these factors might relate to the period of Egyptian New Kingdom domination.

  • Morkot, R. 1999b. "Kingship and Kinship in the Empire of Kush", in S. Wenig (ed.), Studien zum antiken Sudan (Akten der 7. Internationalen Tagung für meroitische Forschungen, 14-19 Sep. 1992 in Gosen/bei Berlin), pp. 179-229.

    This was one of the principal discussion papers presented at the Seventh International Conference for Meroitic Studies at Berlin in 1992. It discusses the genealogy and succession of the 25th Dynasty kings and the evidence for their reign lengths. It considers these issues within the broader context of ancient 'Nubian' and Kushite states.

  • Morkot, R., 2000. The Black Pharaohs (London: Rubicon Press).

    A highly acclaimed study of the Nubian pharaohs of Egypt (25th Dynasty). See Recent Developments March 2000 and for publication details see Other Books by the Authors. In a general work, Robert Morkot works open-handedly with two dating systems in mind - the conventional and Centuries of Darkness chronologies. From the introduction (p. ix):

    The ideas expressed here are more developed than those in Centuries and if I have not chosen to be dogmatic on chronological revision, it is not because I have abandoned the idea: I still see it as the most convincing explanation of the problems of the Nubian (and other) "Dark Age".

    The volume contains a wealth of material (with copious plans, maps, photographs and drawings) on matters such as the El-Kurru cemetery, the rise of the Napatan dynasty and the chronology of the 25th Dynasty. Much new material is presented for consideration, notably the so-called "Neo-Ramesside" monarchs previously (and arbitrarily) dated to the Hellenistic period. Robert places these rulers at the time of the Libyan domination of Egypt (9th-8th centuries BC). This makes better sense of their "Neo-Ramesside" titularly, especially within the CoD chronology, which would allow the 20th (last Ramesside) Dynasty to end in the 9th century rather than the 11th.

  • James, P., 2002a. Review of I. Finkelstein & N. Silberman: The Bible Unearthed, Minerva [ 1300K] March/April, p. 64.

    A short review of a book in which Finkelstein moves close to the 'minimalist' position. Now arguing (as did Centuries of Darkness) that 10th-century "Solomonic" strata in Israel really belong to the 9th century, Finkelstein plunges kings David and Solomon into a new "dark age" and has to redefine them as local chieftains. As noted in the review, "...matters are not as straightforward as The Bible Unearthed would like us to believe. While Finkelstein stresses the fluidity of the chronology for early Israelite archaeology, his own analysis proceeds within an extremely narrow focus. It is not enough to adjust the dates of one part of Israel's archaeology (the 10th-9th centuries) and then compare the results to the biblical record. There is a need for a complete overhaul of ancient Near Eastern chronology."

  • James, P., 2002b. "The Dendrochronology Debate" [ 691K], Minerva July/August, p. 18.

    A brief update on developments in Peter Kuniholm's "Aegean Dendochronology Project", with caveats regarding its methodology, mistakes and publication record.

  • James, P., 2002c. Review of William Dever: What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It? [ 122K], Palestine Exploration Quarterly 134:2, pp. 176-178.

    Dever is one of the most bitter critics of Centuries of Darkness (see his classic remarks in Quotes from Reviews). Here the favour is not quite returned, as Dever's book - in defence of the historical value of the biblical account during the period of the united and divided monarchies - has much to recommend it. Nevertheless, his attempts to reconstruct historical events from archaeology are deeply flawed. His analysis of the evidence for equating the biblical Shishak with Pharaoh Shoshenq I displays a complete lack of acquaintance with the basic source material. Ultimately Dever falls into much the same traps as the 'minimalists' that he attempts to answer - they have both failed to understand the chronological implications of Egyptologists' reliance on the biblical story of Shishak.

  • Morkot, R., 2003a. "On the Priestly Origin of the Napatan Kings: The Adaptation, Demise and Resurrection of Ideas in Writing Nubian History", in D. Connor (ed.), Ancient Egypt in Africa (London: UCL Press - Encounters with Ancient Egypt series), pp. 151-168.

    Examines the historiography of the 25th Dynasty, especially the idea that the Kushite ruling family were descendants of Theban priests. Discusses alternative relative chronologies of the Kurru cemetery against conventional and revised (CoD) absolute chronology, with a chart illustrating the different models.

  • Morkot, R. 2003b. "Archaism in Egyptian Art from the New Kingdom to the Late Period", in J. Tait (ed.), "Never Had the Like Occurred": Egypt's View of its Past (London: UCL Press - Encounters with Ancient Egypt series), pp. 79-100.

    This paper looks at the 'archaising' style of Kushite and Saite Egypt and its origins in the Libyan period, raising questions about the internal chronology of the Libyan period, and stylistic changes and developments. The paper does not attempt to resolve the specifics of Late Libyan chronology, but highlights some of the generally neglected material (such as that from the Sacred Lake at Tanis) and how interpreting changes in artistic style is reliant upon a sound internal chronology for the period.

  • James, P., 2003. "Naukratis Revisited", [ 493K] Hyperboreus: Studia classica 9:2, pp. 235-264.

    An in-depth article on the chronological significance of Naukratis, the first historically recorded Greek settlement in Egypt, from the leading Russian classics journal Hyperboreus. (PDF available online by kind permission of the editors.) The abstract (translated from that published in Russian) reads as follows:

    Herodotus stated that the Greek settlement at Naukratis in Egypt began during the reign of Pharaoh Amasis (570-526 BC). It is usually maintained that archaeology has proven him wrong, as the presently accepted dating for Archaic Greek pottery places the colony in the late 7th century. A combination of stratigraphic and historical evidence, together with that provided by Egyptian, Cypriot and Phoenician artefacts, suggests that the Greek pottery dating is in error, rather than Herodotus. Naukratis may provide a neglected fixed point for Archaic chronology, now the subject of renewed controversy. The evidence from Naukratis (as well as Selinus and Old Smyrna) suggests that Greek ceramic chronology "c. 600 BC" needs to be lowered by some 25-35 years.

    This is the first of a planned series of articles dealing with the suggestion made in Centuries of Darkness that Archaic Greek pottery chronology c. 600 BC needs lowering by some three to four decades from the conventional model. The wider ramifications for the chronology of the Aegean and Palestine/Israel during the Iron Age will be discussed in further papers.

  • Morkot, R., 2004. "Le origini del regne di Kush", in S. Einaudi & F. Tiradritti (eds), L'Enigma di Harwa (Milan: Anthelios), pp. 19-41

    A summary in Italian of Robert's work on the El-Kurru cemetery, the Nubian "Dark Age" and the origins of the 25th Dynasty.

  • James, P., 2004. "The Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian Periods in Palestine" [ 69K], Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society 22, pp. 47-58. . (PDF available online by kind permission of the editors.)

    A review article based on Ephraim Stern’s Archaeology of the Land of the Bible Vol. II: The Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian Periods 732-332 BCE (New York/London: Doubleday, 2001). In the words of the Editor of the Bulletin (p. 6), “Peter James surveys the strengths and weaknesses of the book, takes Stern to task on the supposed ‘gap’ in the Babylonian period, and provides some interesting insights concerning the chronological problems of that time.” The shaky nature of the dating of the three periods concerned is stressed, and the tension between an Archaic pottery chronology based on Greek history (principally Herodotus) and that presently preferred by excavators in Palestine is briefly explored.

  • James, P., 2005a. "The Date of the Ekron Temple Inscription - a Note" [ 55K], Israel Exploration Journal 55:1, pp. 90-93. (PDF available online by kind permission of the editors.)

    Abstract: The famous inscription from Tel Miqne (Ekron) commemorates the building of the Stratum IC temple by Achish (Ikausu), a figure known from Assyrian records of the second quarter of the 7th century BCE. Thus the belief of the excavators that the temple was built “no later than the first quarter of the seventh century” is a non sequitur. A date c. 675-650 BCE for the construction of the temple is suggested and the implications for the chronology of Stratum IC considered.

  • James, P., 2005b. "Archaic Greek Colonies in Libya: Historical vs. Archaeological Chronologies?" [ 102K], Libyan Studies 36, pp. 1-20. (PDF available online by kind permission of the editors).

    Abstract: The presently accepted ceramic chronology places the earliest episodes of Greek colonisation in Libya some three to four decades earlier than the traditional historical dates. A similar offset between the archaeological and historical chronologies can be seen at Naukratis and other Archaic Greek sites. A review of 'fixed points' for Archaic dating shows that the balance of evidence now strongly favours a reduction of late seventh to early sixth century BC Greek ceramic chronology by three to four decades. Such a reduction would bring harmony between the archaeological and historical pictures for the founding of the Cyrenaican colonies, restoring confidence in the account given by Herodotus.

  • James, P., 2006. "Dating Late Iron Age Ekron (Tel Miqne) " [ 80K], Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 138:2 (2006), pp. 85-97. (PDF available online by kind permission of the editors).

    Abstract: A fresh approach is offered to the tangled arguments that surround the dating of late Iron Age Ekron (Tel Miqne). The only firm historical peg for dating the late Iron strata is provided by the temple inscription of Ikausu, an Ekronite ruler mentioned in Assyrian records in the second quarter of the seventh century BCE. From this evidence, somewhat lower dates than those of the excavators are argued for Strata IC to IA. The lower chronology suggested here should resolve the differences between various scholars regarding the character and historical associations of Ekron’s final Iron Age strata. Ramifications for the related debate over the dating of Greek Archaic pottery are considered.

  • James, P., 2007. Review of D. Ussishkin, The Renewed Archaeological Excavations at Lachish (1973-1994) (2004) [ 54K], Palestine Exploration Quarterly 139:3, 213-217. (PDF available online by kind permission of the editors).

  • James, P. and van der Veen, P., 2008. “Geschichtsbild in Scherben?”, Spektrum der Wissenschaft Dec., pp. 88-93.

    The article summarises the case for a revised ancient Near Eastern chronology, focussing on recent discoveries and developments in the archaeology of Palestine. Published in the popular science magazine Spektrum de Wissenschaft, the German edition of Scientific American. It is accompanied by an article by Egyptologist Leo Depuydt putting the case for the status quo (pp. 78-87). For more detail see this link.

  • James, P., 2008. “The Alleged ‘Anchor Point’ of 732 BC for the Destruction of Hazor V” [ 1.4M], Antiguo Oriente 6, pp. 133-180. (PDF available online by kind permission of the editors.)

    Abstract: All previous discussions of the chronology of Iron Age Hazor assume as an “anchor point” the destruction of Hazor V by Tiglath-pileser III in 732 BC. Re-examination of Yadin’s case for this date shows that it was merely an assumption on his part. A review of the dating evidence – partly historical but principally the input from the independently dateable archaeological chronologies of Cyprus, Phoenicia, Mesopotamia and Egypt – suggests that Hazor V fell much later than 732 BC. Consequently both the Yadin (“high”) and Finkelstein (“low”) models for the chronology of Iron II Hazor are working from an incorrect baseline. A model is offered here which, while arguing a shift of the Iron IIA period from the tenth to ninth century BC, does not unduly compress Strata X-VII, closes the alleged long settlement gap at the site during the Neo-Babylonian to Early Persian period and resolves numerous dating anomalies arising from imported finds.

  • Kokkinos, N., 2009a. "Re-dating the Fall of Sardis", Scripta Classica Israelica 28, pp. 1-23.

    Summary: Claiming to be based on strong Greek tradition, the prevailing view that the Fall of Sardis to the Persians occurred in 546 BC lacks justification. An analysis of all the relevant fragments of ancient Greek chronography shows that while a date of 548 BC is found in the Latin version of Eusebius (the end result of centuries of number juggling), a much lower date was current in the earliest Hellenistic period when chronography began. This was based on a Lydian king list different from that in Herodotus, and evidently that used by the chronographer of the Parian Marble to set the Fall as low as 542/1 BC (or 541/0 BC). The origins of this list may ultimately go back to the Lydian historian Xanthus, an older contemporary of Herodotus. Moreover, alleged support for the standard date from the Nabonidus Chronicle has fallen through – a new reading of the damaged toponym in the entry for Year 9 (547/6 BC) reveals that Cyrus attacked ‘U[rartu]’ not ‘Ly[dia]’. Further, analysis of the Chronicle shows that the Fall of Sardis can only have taken place between 544/3 and 540/39. Given this, it would be unwise not to give credit to the date of the Parian chronographer as restored here.

  • Morkot, R. and James, P., 2009. “Peftjauawybast, King of Nen-nesut: Genealogy, Art History, and the Chronology of Late Libyan Egypt” [ 577K], Antiguo Oriente 7, 13-55. (PDF available online by kind permission of the editors).

    Abstract: The paper argues in detail for the identification of Peftjauawybast, King of Nen-nesut (fl. 728/720 BC), with Peftjauawybast, High Priest of Ptah in Memphis (fl. c. 790-780 BC), known from the Apis stela of year 28 of Shoshenq III. This identification ties in with a significant lowering of the accepted dates for the kings from Shoshenq III, Osorkon III and Takeloth III to Shoshenq V, and the material culture associated with them. Such a shift seems to be supported by stylistic and genealogical evidence. As a consequence, it is further suggested that the Master of Shipping at Nen-nesut, Pediese i, was perhaps related by descent and marriage to the family of the High Priests of Memphis and King Peftjauawybast.

  • Kokkinos, N., 2009b. “Ancient Chronography, Eratosthenes and the Dating of the Fall of Troy”, Ancient West and East 8, 37-56.

    Abstract: Through close scrutiny of the surviving fragments of ancient chronography, it is possible to work out the way Eratosthenes, in his lost Chronographiai (ca. 220 BC), arrived at his date for the Fall of Troy (1183 BC) – a ‘universal’ reference point in antiquity. By combining new information from Manetho, with Timaeus, Ctesias, Herodotus and other sources, he devised a compromise chronology for the Greek past: ‘high’ enough to satisfy Hellenistic cultural interests, and ‘low’ enough to satisfy Alexandrian critical scholarship.What was reckoned originally to be an event of the 10th century BC, and later raised as far as the 14th century BC in competition with the older eastern civilisations, ended ‘appropriately’ being placed half-way in the 12th century BC. Surprisingly, this date, the mechanics of which were previously not fully understood, ultimately played a misleading role in the modern debate of the Greek archaeological ‘Dark Age’.

  • James, P., 2010. Review of A. Mazar, Excavations at Tel Beth-Shean 1989-1996. Volume 1: From the Late Bronze Age IIB to the Medieval Period (2006) [ 40K], Palestine Exploration Quarterly 142:1, 69-71. (PDF available online by kind permission of the editors).

    The review focusses on chronological problems at Beth-Shean and suggests some revisions in Iron Age dating in step with those argued for Hazor in James 2008

  • James, P. and Morkot, R., 2010. “Herihor’s Kingship and the High Priest of Amun Piankh” [ 207K], Journal of Egyptian History 3:2 (2010), pp. 231-260. (PDF available online by kind permission of the editors).

    Abstract: The theory of Jansen-Winkeln, which argues for a reversal of the traditional order of the late 20th-dynasty High Priests of Amun Herihor and Piankh, has provoked considerable controversy. The key to a resolution seems to lie in recognising that Herihor, on his elevation to kingship, was able (like later monarchs of the TIP) to co-opt a colleague/relative as High Priest of Amun.This way Piankh’s pontificate can be placed within the reign of King Herihor, explaining the genealogical and other evidence which might otherwise suggest a reversal of the two but avoiding the pitfalls of Jansen-Winkeln’s case. The evidence suggests a shortening of the high priestly genealogy at this period by one to two generations (from the standard/Kitchen model). A first step is offered here towards a new model involving a short overlap between the 20th and 21st dynasties, as well as between Herihor and Pinudjem I, as Upper Egyptian kings based at Thebes.

  • Kokkinos, N., 2010. “Julius Cassianus, Pseudo-Thallus, and the Identity of ‘Cassius Longinus’ in the Chronographia of Eusebius”, Scripta Judaica Cracoviensia 8, pp. 15-28. 

    The Chronicle of Eusebius of Caesarea (c. AD 260-340), known as the ‘Father of Church History’, has had tremendous influence on our view of ancient chronology. For example, his dates for various events in Archaic Greek history are still followed by some classicists. As part of the CoD Ancient Chronography Review, this article is an interim study for one in preparation on Olympiad dating. It provides an introduction to Eusebius’ work, identifies his sources for the Olympic Victors List, and explores the possible origins of chronography as a subject among Christians.

  • Kokkinos, N., 2012. “A Note on the Date of Philo of Byblus”, Classical Quarterly 62.1, pp. 433-435. 

    An interim study for the author’s forthcoming paper on “The Tyrian Annals and Ancient Greek Chonography”, which investigates the dating of the Hellenized Phoenician writer Philo of Byblus. He is best known for his controversial Phoenician History, claiming to include a Greek translation of a Phoenician document of remote antiquity written by one Sanchuniathon. Philo flourished under Hadrian but there has been confusion regarding the precise span of his life. To settle this, a suggestion is offered by a close reading of the text of the Suda, our main source for Philo’s career.

  • James, P., 2012. “Review Article: Tree-rings, Kings and Old World Archaeology and Environment” (185K), Palestine Exploration Quarterly 144:2, pp. 144-150. . (PDF available online by kind permission of the editors).

    A review of a festschrift for dendrochronologist Peter Kuniholm, on his retirement as Director of the Aegean Dendrochronology Project – S. W. Manning and M. J. Bruce (eds), Tree-Rings, Kings and Old World Archaeology and Environment: Papers Presented in Honor of Peter Ian Kuniholm (Oxford, 2009). The article assesses Kuniholm’s contribution to the chronology of ancient Anatolia and the Aegean and finds it wanting, particularly in his attempts to raise Late Bronze and Early Iron Age chronology. It is concluded that, far from solving the problems of ancient Anatolian chronology, Kuniholm’s poorly published results have “merely thrown it into a quandary”. A special section of the volume discusses (pro and con) attempts to raise the date of the Bronze Age eruption of Thera: this reveals that there is no serious evidence for proxy-dating the event (through ice-cores or tree-rings) while a ‘volcano-effect’ may well have seriously skewed the radiocarbon results from the island.

  • Kokkinos, N., 2013. “The Tyrian Annals and Ancient Greek Chronography”, Scripta Classica Israelica 32, pp. 21-66.

    Summary. The value of the ‘Tyrian Annals’, the fragments of which are preserved primarily in Josephus, has often been doubted. However, an examination of literary evidence from Thales of Miletus to Timaeus of Tauromenium shows that the Greeks were well aware of Phoenician ancient records. One Hieronymus, in the 3rd century BC, followed by Menander of Ephesus, in the 2nd century BC, officially translated the ‘Tyrian Annals’ into Greek. The core of the original archive was a king-list (stating names, ages and reign lengths), covering the 10th to 6th centuries BC, annotated with brief historical notices relating the major acts performed by the kings. The list will have been composed working from local archives in the early Persian period. Surviving fragments concern three ‘floating’ segments which can be pegged in time and augmented by Assyrian and Babylonian synchronisms. The first begins with Hiram I, from 955/4 BC, with the third ending with Hiram III in 533/2 BC. The use of the ‘Tyrian Annals’ by Timaeus explains his extraordinary knowledge in providing a late 9th century date for the founding of Carthage (against current opinion placing it centuries earlier), close to the historical date of 808/7 BC that can now be calculated from the Annals. Timaeus’ bold move changed the entire perspective of ancient Greek chronography, radically shifting the focus from a vague heroic past into a decidedly realistic historical context. The ‘Tyrian Annals’ had also included the date for the fall of Troy, firmly placed in the 10th century BC. Many Greek chronographers found this difficult to swallow in their political desire to claim a higher antiquity for their own cultural past.

  • James, P. and Morkot, R., 2013. “Two Studies in 21st Dynasty Chronology: I. Deconstructing Manetho’s 21st Dynasty; II. The Datelines of High Priest Menkheperre”, Journal of Egyptian History 6:1, pp. 219-256.

    Abstract, Part I: There has never been any consensus on the nature, composition and chronology of the “21st Dynasty”. Recent research has produced an ever-increasing multiplicity of rival models, most still relying on the information given in the surviving epitomes of the Hellenistic scholar Manetho. The claim that the regnal years given by “Manetho” for the 21st Dynasty are corroborated by the monuments is completely unjustified and based on circular reasoning. Progress can only be made by completely abandoning reliance on Manetho (a hangover from early 19th century, predecipherment, scholarship) once and for all.

    Abstract, Part II: This section of the article follows up a model we proposed for the early 21st Dynasty in JEgH (2010), which suggested that Piankh held the pontificate while Herihor was king. Such a model could resolve the recent debate regarding the order of HPAs Herihor and Piankh. Here the next major controversy of 21st Dynasty chronology is addressed – the question of whether the high year dates from the time of HPA Menkheperre belonged to King Psusennes or Amenemope of Tanis. It is argued that they belonged to neither, but to the wḥm-mswt or “Renaissance” era which started late in the reign of Ramesses XI. Allocating the high datelines from the pontificate of Menkheperre to the wḥm-mswt would resolve a number of otherwise intractable problems, and results in a shortening of 21st Dynasty chronology by some four decades, in step with both archaeological and genealogical evidence.


    1. The Uluburun Shipwreck - a Dendrochronological Scandal [ 151K]. The Aegean Dendrochronology Project has asserted that a tree-ring date from the ancient shipwreck off Uluburun vindicates the conventional chronology and refutes the case argued in Centuries of Darkness for a major lowering of the Late Bronze Age. Further investigation has shown that this "tree-ring date" is not all it has been claimed to be.

    2. The Francis and Vickers’ Chronology: A Bibliography [ 102K]. As a research tool for those studying the debate over the dating of Greek Archaic archaeology, we have prepared a bibliography of articles both for and against the chronology of Francis and Vickers.

    3. Radiocarbon and the Eruption of Thera: Archiving and updating an unpublished letter to the journal Science [ 102K]. Has radiocarbon dating and wiggle-matching now dated the Minoan eruption of Thera to the late 17th century BC? As we argued in a letter rejected by the journal Science in 2006, now supported by much recent research, the answer is no.