Rohl conjectures (long)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Wed Sep 29 00:36:29 EDT 1999

Dear Peter,

After asking for some hard evidence to support the Rohl conjecture, I'm
beginning to think it might be better that you stop giving me more ammunition!

>PK: I am happy to read mainline Egyptological material. What do you 
>recommend? Bear in mind that I also have to buy almost everything I read, 
>and that (as I freely admit) this is not my main area of expertise but a 
>side interest.

For me, a must would be Donald Redford's "Egypt, Israel & Canaan (in
ancient times)", Princeton, 1992. I've already cited Nicholas Grimal's
"History of Ancient Egypt" (90+ pages of bibliography). (Two I'm using.) I
don't know of other equivalent works at a university level that you can
get. But you could contact someone at your nearest uni that has Egyptology
and get a few recommendations for in depth analysis. C.A.H. vol II?
Kitchen's "Pharaoh Triumphant" on Ramses II.

>>PK: You don't have to read the book if you don't want to...
>You are putting forward (as it seemed Dave was) support for this 
>neo-ages-in-chaos position...
>PK: No name calling please.

This is not name calling. It is simply classifying the position. It is not
a new position, merely repackaged from the basic Velikovskian original.
"Ages in Chaos" is about claimed errors in chronologies between Egypt and
other civilisations. The logic seems to be exactly the same, though the
motivations may be different.

>[..] I have shown you some of the modern indications that 
>indicate relatively safe correspondences of dating that tie Amenhotep III to 
>the same period as Ashur-uballit, Akhnaten to Burnaburiash, Ramses II with 
>Shalmaneser I, Shattuara II of Khanigalbat and Hattusilis III of Hatti, all 
>based principally on Assyrian data and compared with other cultures.[..]
>PK: Since you won't read Rohl's book, I can hardly expect you to know 
>that he is far from oblivious to these data (though he admits that 
>Assyria is outside his main area of expertise). In his Appendix E he 
>makes the following correspondences:
>Amenhotep III not to Ashur-uballit son of Eriba-Adad (1362-1327) but 
>to another Ashur-uballit (son of Ashur-nadin-ahhe, according to the 
>Amarna letter) who is Ashur[u]ba[lit] in the limmum for 1007 in the 
>Eponym List.

When someone has to invent a new king in order to make his conjecture fit,
you should start to question. When one goes to conjecture to support
conjecture (he doesn't know anything about this Ashur[]ba[] and only hopes
that the reconstruction is correct), you have to doubt his seriousness. The
status quo only knows of two Assyrian kings called Ashur-uballit. The
second reigned from 611 BCE. Amenhotep III simply does not deal with anyone
below the royal level.

>Tudhaliyas IV not to Shalmaneser I (1272-1243) but to Shalmaneser III 

This is very interesting. Tudkhaliya IV was still on the throne when
Tukulti-Ninurta ascended to the Assyrian throne, as there is a letter from
Tudkhaliya to mark the occasion. The letter was written "with a tone of one
who wanted to give good counsel to his young colleague" (my translation of
Liverani). Tukulti-Ninurta I was the son of Shalmaneser I, whereas
Tukulti-Ninurta II was grandfather of Shalmaneser III. The problem is made
even worse when you realise that, though Tudkhalya (contemporary with
Shalmaneser) is the son of Hattusilis III (contemporary with Adad-Nirari),
there is a gap of over thirty years between the reign of the end of the
reign of Adad-Nirari II and Shalmaneser III. This simply *falsifies* Rohl's
attributions here. Naturally, if this goes it all goes. When the
tightrope-walker loses his footing he's dead.

Status quo:
Adad-Nirari I       1305 - 1274   Hattusilis III  1275 - 1260
Shalmaneser I       1273 - 1244   Tudkhaliya IV  1260 - 1220
Tukulti-Ninurta I   1243 - 1207


Adad-Nirari II       911 -  891   Hattusilis III
Tukulti-Ninurta II   890 -  884
Assur-Nasipal II     883 -  859
Shalmaneser III      858 -  824   Tudkhaliya IV 

>(but no mention of Rameses II, whom Rohl dates slightly 
>earlier, c.932-866), also not to Tukulti-Ninurta I (1242-1206) but to 
>Tukulti-Ninurta II (890-884).
>Hattusilis III not to Adad-nirari I (1304-1273) but to Adad-nirari II 

The problem here is that Hattusilis III was also the Hittite king at the
time of Shalmaneser I's destruction of Khanigalbat, so obviously the
Adad-Nirari was Shalmaneser's father not great grandfather.

>Akhenaten to Burnaburiash,

Shame. Liverani tells us that the son of Burnaburiash was married to the
daughter of Ashur-uballit, therefore making it clear which Adad-Nirari.

>Shattuara II to Hattusilis III are not 
>dealt with.

Shame. Liverani gives a synchronised attestation for Shalmaneser I and
Shattuara II as well as for their predecessors. His father was a
contemporary with Adad-Nirari (ie A.-N. I, father, not great grandfather,
of Shalmaneser I). Again falsifying the Rohl chronology.

     Babylon               Assyria            Mitanni/Khanigalbat
1300 Nazi-Marutash      *  Adad-Nirari *+$    Wasashatta   $
1280 Khadashman-Turgu   +
1260 Kadashman-Enlil II @  Shalmaneser @£     Shattuara II £

     The symbols show the synchronised attestations

I think Rohl should continue his career in the tour business and keep out
of Mesopotamia.

>Think about it. You want to pit some popular work aimed specifically at 
>selling to a religious readership, ie in no sense facing a critical peer 
>analysis, that shows no interest in the physical culture of the nations 
>whose centuries are to be cancelled.
>PK: I am not trying to pit Rohl's work against anything. 

You should. You accept his conjectures, yet you haven't pitted his work
against anything. This means that you take his work on belief.

>I am merely 
>asking that its arguments be given the consideration that they deserve 
>rather than ridiculed without being read.

What do they deserve when the writer has not faced his peers?

>>>Your comments make it clear that you're operating from secondary 
>>The majority of my comments are based on Egyptian sources. When you date 
>>Ramses II three hundred years later, what happens to all those internal 
>>Egyptian events on record from the time of Ramses II down to Osorkon II? 
>>PK: For an answer, see Rohl's book.
>Why don't you read Grimal or Redford or Kitchen (on 3rd Int. Period) or any 
>of the scholars in the field and tell me why you prefer Rohl to them. You 
>are simply doing the same lazy trick of Dave. I can't defend myself, but 
>you have to read the book anyway. Golly, Peter, I ask for some evidence for 
>a misrepresentation of the 3rd Intermediate in reflection of the evidence 
>that exists for it in the status quo and you can't do it...
>PK: I have proposed to you a whole book full of evidence (plus lots of 
>other articles referred to). And you refuse to read it! On the other 
>hand I am quite happy to read the books you suggest, time and money 

I am not happy to read just any wafty tome of conjectures. Therefore I was
after some hard facts, before considering it.

>There are too few pages in Rohl's book to justify a serious analysis of the 
>PK: Rohl's book has 425 large pages, 

How much of it is taken up with the serious part of the task he has taken
on. He seems to spend lots of time doing miracles, making Saul into a
Canaanite king, Ramses II into Shishak, and lots and lots more! Other
rabbits pulled out of the hat include the fact that Saul's son, known to us
as Ishbaal and Ish-bosheth (because scribes didn't like the "baal" part),
was really someone known as Mutbaal (arguing on translational lines); gives
us factual information about Moses based on Josephus and Artanpanus; and he
gives you tons of user-friendly things to make you sure that the biblical
accounts are based on fact!!!

How much of the book does he spend on rigging the chronologies, Peter?

>including a 6 page small print 
>bibliography and 8 pages of small print notes and references. That's 
>quite a lot of material to get started on. When you have digested 
>that, come back for more.

If you've had the opportunity to read "The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception", a
potboilingly astounding background to the DSS, you'll find that these
journalists who wrote the book could throw together a 9 page bibliography
as well as copious notes. In comparison with Rohl's subject, theirs is
chicken feed, but I wouldn't recommend that book if it had double the notes
or bib. However, I would expect a writer who is dealing with an
earthshaking, iconoclastic discovery to have done a hellovalot more
leg-work to substantiate his chronological claims than what could be
squeezed into a chapter.

>Would you read the Jesus in India books?...
>PK: Maybe not, but I would not dare to comment on them unless I had 
>done so.

You should be able to comment on the status quo situation though. Given
what we have from the standard texts, Jesus clearly died and there was no
possibility that he was taken down alive, so under the circumstances
anything that claims that Jesus survived the cross is dead in the water.

I also think a Velikovskian position is dead in the water, no matter who
proposes it. It would take a large effort to resurrect ages in chaos --
Egyptology has come a long way since Velikovsky put forward his conjecture.
(Rohl seems to be using the same basic arguments.)


>>the Sea Peoples left archaeological remains that are quite 
>>datable all around the eastern Mediterranean.
>PK: Though Rohl doesn't deal with the questions in detail, I think he 
>also wants to shift the Mycenean period in Greece rather later 

He has to.

>and cut 
>down the length of the Dark Age linked with the Sea Peoples very 
>considerably. Are these Sea Peoples archaeological remains datable 
>absolutely, or only relative to one another? And can we be sure that 
>the same style found in two very different places indicates close 
>synchronism rather than migration?

Material culture is pretty easily datable when you find the same styles and
forms around the same general area.

>Destruction of MB Jericho was by Joshua c.1410
>(cf. end of Hyksos rule in Avaris c.1183 - Rohl seems to make the 
>Hyksos Canaanites driven out of Palestine by Joshua)
>No walled city of Jericho during LB
>LB IIA building at Jericho is from David's reign cf. 2 Samuel 10
>LB IIB village built by Hiel of Bethel c.850 (1 Kings 16:34)
>Rohl considers Megiddo data only from Late Bronze and Iron Age. 
>Thutmose I-III would all be in 12th century, late Judges by Rohl's 
>reckoning, and he would probably see no need to find a new culprit.

Thanks for the summary. I know what the archaeologists would think of this:
how on earth can one take the biblical accounts literally and use them as
historical documents to show that all the others are wrong. This is: the
biblical documents say they are wrong; how do you know? because I believe
the biblical documents are right.

In her book "Archaeology in the Holy Land", Benn, 1960/79, Kenyon records a
number of interesting finds regarding late bronze in Palestine, some of
these are from pottery sequences from Mycenae, items from Megiddo, Hazor,
Tell Beit Mirsim classified as Mycenaean IIIA (c.1400), IIIAb & IIIB.
Naturally all the sites share the same basic range of local pottery with
Jericho. Now, in a collection of ivories from a palace at Tell Beit Mirsim
an object with the cartouche of Ramses III was found. In the LB stratum at
Beth-Shan (an Egyptian stronghold in Palestine which didn't suffer a LB
destruction) a statue of Ramses III was found. Kenyon would make the Ramses
III objects at the late end of LBII.

The archaeological remains from the Palestine coast that is attributed to
the Philistines is clearly non-local, ie cannot be Canaanite, "it has been
shown that the closest parallels are in the pottery of Rhodes and Cyprus,
but in almost no case are the Palestinian vessels exact copies... The
originals from which the Palestinian types developed can be dated to the
late 13th century B.C., while new fashions which were coming into use about
1200 B.C. are not represented... The ware of the vessels does not differ
from that of the native Palestinian pots. The conclusion which is thus
suggested is that the newcomers did not bring the pottery with them, but
manufactured it in Palestine in imitation of the vessels to which they were
accustomed in their homeland."

Kenyon knows the full range of pottery sequences from Palestine and is
therefore able to know where ceramics fit into a relative chronology, but
then also where they fit in other relative chronologies. In this process
one can build up a datable chronology based not on historical accounts, but
on diachronic archaeological evidence. She knows that the Philistine
pottery can be compared with early Iron Age Palestinian pottery. Have you
ever wondered how sites certain Palestinian sites are dated to the tenth
century or the eighth? There are sites that have had very long continuous
use, such as Tell Beit Mirsim (excavated by Albright), that display the
fullest ranges of pottery sequences. These sequences can be compared with
others from more distant sites and movement of ceramics can be plotted and
compared with those in other cultures. Strong sequencing is guaranteed.
Destruction levels can therefore be related to both pottery and historical
documents. This physical evidence is very hard to argue against. One might
hope to juggle kinglists, but how does one hide the three hundred years of
pottery sequence?

Kenyon's book, though dated and bearing her religious comments, is well
worth getting hold of.

>OK, let's admit that you show no knowledge of Egyptian, Syrian, Hittite, 
>Babylonian or Assyrian history outside Rohl's potted version.
>PK: I admit that my knowledge is far from complete, but it does come 
>from other potted versions such as Bright's "History of Israel".

Ahlstrom would make a worthy successor.

>>The Egyptian records... 
>>the lengths of the reigns of many kings, royal jubilees, events from 
>>specific years. You can add them up yourself and count backwards. As I said 
>>in the previous post, mindboggling.
>PK: All I have to say is, give Rohl a fair hearing. This is his 
>theory, not mine. He has done the footwork and gives well argued 
>answers to many of your questions.

It would seem to me that the information that you are giving shows more
fudging and data manipulation than you should care to accept.

>[..]Where are the peer group publications?...
>PK: As I said, Rohl gives an extensive bibliography and refers to 
>several other scholars who support parts of his theory e.g. John 
>Bimson re Jericho.

Peer group publication usually means, for an Egyptologist, publication in
an Egyptological journal so that one's peers can criticise the work. As I
understand it, Rohl has avoided this normal process, which would mean to me
that he doesn't think he can argue the point seriously. If the link you
posted ( represents
Kitchen's reaction to Rohl, then one has to think that Rohl is fraudulent
and knowingly avoiding his responsibilities.



There's a site that's supposed to be in England -- ? I
can't get it, but there was supposed to be some exchange between Kitchen
and Rohl there.

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