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Assyrian Chronology (was [ANE-2] Re: THE BIBLE UNEARTHED)

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  • Robert M Whiting
    On Wed, 16 Aug 2006, siaxares wrote: ... No, what you do is not science. Basing theories on false assumptions that have no basis in fact and that
    Message 1 of 19 , Aug 18, 2006
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      On Wed, 16 Aug 2006, siaxares wrote:

      <snip>

      > 2) But perhaps more interesting from a scientific

      No, what you do is not science. Basing theories on false assumptions that
      have no basis in fact and that ignore evidence to the contrary is not
      science.

      > point of view is that astrochronologically speaking, since the entire
      > Assyrian Period is based on a single solar eclipse event now dated to
      > June 15, 763BCE, month three, is that this dating is incorrect from a
      > strict astrohistorical point of view.

      False Assumption # 1: The "entire Assyrian Period" is not based solely on
      the eclipse of June 15, 763 BC. It is also based on the Ptolemaic Canon
      which lists rulers of Babylonia from 747 BC until the conquest of
      Alexander. Since the later Assyrian kings (Sargon, Sennacherib,
      Esarhaddon) were also kings of Babylonia, they appear in the Ptolemaic
      Canon and their own texts often give "double dates" (an Assyian-style
      limmu date and a Babylonian-style regnal year date). Thus the "Assyrian
      Period" is based on the eclipse of 763 BC from the eponym chronicle and
      the fixing of the Assyrian kings of Babylonia by the Ptolemaic Canon.
      These dates are tied together by a rock-solid sequence of eponym dates.
      Further, the 763 BC eclipse and and the Ptolemaic Canon are completely
      independent pieces of evidence. Assyrian chronology is made up of
      interlocking pieces that have been put together over the better part of
      the past century and a half. If you try to pull at a piece it doesn't
      move because it is held in place by all the other pieces.

      > That is, the Babylonians and Assyrians followed the "natural" lunisolar
      > pattern, thus observing the natural first month of the year (first NEW
      > MOON after the equinox).

      False Assumption # 2: There is absolutely no evidence that the equinox
      had any significance whatsoever for the beginning of the year in 8th
      century Assyria. To quote Landsberger ("Jahreszeiten im
      Sumerisch-Akkadischen," _Journal of Near Eastern Studies_ 8 [1949],
      253-54): "Das Sonnenjahr mit seinen vier Fixpunkten hatte keine lebendige
      Existenz. Aequinoktien und Solstizien werden zwar von spaeten Astronomen
      in ihren Beobachtungstexten gebucht, haben aber kein Bedeutung im Bauren-
      oder Festkalender, noch auch in der Mythologie."

      Before mathematical astronomy reached a level where it was able to predict
      month lengths and eclipses, the equinoxes and solstices had no effect on
      the Mesopotamian calendar. The "Standard" Mesopotamian calendar was
      luni-solar, consisting of 12 lunar months with an additional lunar month
      intercalated as needed to keep the calendar year in line with the seasons.
      The day began at sunset and the new month began with the first sighting of
      the new crescent moon at sunset. The unit of intercalation was the
      lunation. There is no evidence of days being intercalated in 8th century
      Assyria.

      When the equinox happened was of considerably less importance than when
      the grain was ready for harvest in determining intercalation. As far as
      the "Standard" Mesopotamian calendar and the rest of the culture was
      concerned, the equinoxes were simply irrelevant.

      Actually, it would be useful if the beginning of the year had some
      connection with the equinox since that would make it quite easy to
      determine which years should be intercalary years. However, if you check
      out the known intercalary years from the Assyrian calendar, you will see
      that they have no correlation with the equinox, giving rise to the
      conclusion that the beginning of the year has nothing to do with the
      equinox.

      > In that case, since solar eclipses occur on the last day of the month,

      False Assumption # 3: Solar eclipses occur at the new moon syzygy. The
      new month begins with the first visibility of the crescent at sunset which
      is a day or two later than the syzygy. Thus it is nigh impossible for the
      new crescent to be visible in the evening on the day of a solar eclipse
      (unless you have a really fast sun and a really slow moon).

      > June 15th is misdated to month three, Simanu/Sivan, since it would
      > naturally fall in month two.

      False Assumption # 4: Based on False Assumption # 2.

      > That is, the Julian spring equinox occurring around March 28 at that
      > time, would date the earliest solar eclipse for the first month around
      > April 28, the earliest second month solar eclipse to May 28, and the
      > earliest third month eclipse to June 28.

      False Assumption # 5: This is only true if the year begins exactly on the
      equinox, an extremely unlikely event since the periodicity of the solar
      year and the periodicity of a lunation are not related.

      > Thus the first range for third month eclipses for "Simanu" would be
      > between June 28 and July 28. June 15th falls during the second month
      > range of May 28-June 28. But based upon other critical
      > astrochronological evidence,

      Such as?

      > this limmu reference is more strongly confirmed for the next eclipse in
      > a rare series of eclipses occurring in this region every 54 years and 1
      > month later

      False Assumption # 6: There is nothing rare about this. In fact, it is
      extremely regular and forms the basis of being able to predict eclipses.
      The basis of predicting eclipses is the saros period. This period is 18
      years 10 (or 11) and 1/3 days, or 233 lunations, after which the centers
      of the sun and moon will be back to almost exactly the same relative
      position. After this another eclipse with almost the same geometical
      parameters will occur. However, note that the period is not a full
      number of days. The fact that the saros period contains 1/3 of a day
      means that the next eclipse in the saros family will be 120 degrees
      further to the west. But this fact also means that after 3 saros periods
      the eclipse will be back in the same region again. Three saros periods
      (54 years 31 days) is known as an exeligmos. Even though the longitude
      will be nearly the same after an exeligmos, the latitude will have shifted
      about 600 miles north or south of the previous eclipse in the saros
      family.

      Thus the following is true of the saros family to which the June 15, 763
      BC eclipse belongs for an observer in Nineveh:

      Saros JD Julian Date Greatest Eclipse %

      44/30 1383635.06 9 MAR 925 BC 11 19.4W 27 43.2S 0.0
      44/33 1403391.00 11 APR 871 BC 2 3.9W 4 37.4S 5.1
      44/36 1423146.92 13 MAY 817 BC 24 44.2E 18 48.3N 49.6
      44/39 1442902.84 15 JUN 763 BC 54 5.5E 38 52.4N 99.2
      44/42 1462658.79 17 JUL 709 BC 86 21.8E 50 26.7N 40.9
      44/45 1482414.77 19 AUG 655 BC 106 26.7E 50 14.5N 1.9

      So yes, there were three consecutive (at 54 year intervals) eclipses that
      would have been noticeable at Nineveh (or Assyria in general).

      But there were also several other saros families that produced eclipses
      visible in Assyria at 54 year intervals at roughly the same time:

      36/58 1417596.02 2 MAR 832 BC 9 30.6W 11 3.2N 91.7
      36/61 1437351.92 4 APR 778 BC 17 6.9E 34 34.5N 66.0
      36/64 1457107.77 6 MAY 724 BC 55 40.6E 64 10.1N 55.4

      57/20 1422290.78 8 JAN 819 BC 66 4.0E 53 2.8N 68.3
      57/23 1442046.85 10 FEB 765 BC 31 37.1E 43 28.8N 84.8
      57/26 1461802.87 14 MAR 711 BC 21 53.2E 39 9.5N 65.2

      The following eclipses were also visible there in the same time frame
      (limited to those with 50% visibility or greater):

      Saros JD Julian Date Greatest Eclipse %
      53/27 1426099.83 13 JUN 809 BC 49 58.0E 50 2.8N 72.9
      55/26 1427488.75 2 APR 805 BC 35 27.4E 56 25.9N 78.9
      53/28 1432685.12 24 JUN 791 BC 47 50.6W 46 30.5N 68.9
      59/17 1450019.87 9 DEC 744 BC 48 54.5E 46 37.4N 73.8

      So since there were two other series of three eclipses separated by 54
      years visible in this region at more or less the same time, it's hard to
      consider the phenomenon "rare". And since there are a lot of other
      eclipes in the period keeping the signal to noise ratio down, it's hard
      to make any kind of "astrochronological" case for one or the other being
      the only eclipse recorded in the eponym chronicle. But if one is going to
      pick a puny 40.9% eclipse over a blockbuster 99.2% (with 100% further
      north in Assyria or at higher elevations), one should have some evidence
      that isn't pure speculation for it.

      > and thus June 17, 709BCE

      You mean July 17, but that's all right. It's an easy enough mistake to
      make.

      > would be the corrected reference for the third-month eclipse mentioned
      > in the eponym list.

      False Assumption # 7: Based on False Assumption #4 based on False
      Assumption # 2.

      <snip>

      > Larry Wilson
      > Biblical and Extra-Biblical historical astrochronologist

      Being an "astrochronologist" is not enough. You have to have some idea of
      what is going on on the ground too.


      Bob Whiting
      whiting@...
    • siaxares
      ... Thanks Bob, so much for this info! I find this fascinating and I must step back a bit on my astronomy theories! I basically acquiesce ... Okay. Perhaps
      Message 2 of 19 , Aug 18, 2006
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        --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Robert M Whiting <whiting@...> wrote:
        >
        > On Wed, 16 Aug 2006, siaxares wrote:
        >
        > <snip>

        Thanks Bob, so much for this info! I find this fascinating and I
        must step back a bit on my astronomy theories! I basically acquiesce
        to your specifics with the following brief notes:
        >
        > False Assumption # 1: The "entire Assyrian Period" is not based solely on
        > the eclipse of June 15, 763 BC.
        >
        Okay. Perhaps better stated, since the Assyrian eponym is a
        continuous annual record and only one eclipse is noted in this
        record, the eponym is aligned to match that single eclipse event and
        that alignment is to the eclipse dated June 15, 763BCE. Obviously,
        lots of other "evidence" would correlate with the overall dating of
        this period, but less specifically. The dating for Shishak is linked
        to this eclipse because of an inconsistent Egyptian history for this
        event. Since the invasion is specifically mentioned in year 5 of
        Rehoboam and Ahab is mentioned in the 6th year of Shalmaneser III,
        the chronology of a few kings (72 years) back to Shishak's invasion
        is based specifically on that correlation. Shishak's invasion in
        925BCE is linked to the battle of Karkar in 853BCE, in turn based
        upon the 763BCE eponym eclipse.

        The only other completely independent means of dating to a specific
        year, that is, independent of historical reference would be
        radiocarbon-14 dating. That's why the Rehov radiocarbon-14 dating is
        so interesting since when level IV is associated with the destruction
        level by Shishak, who mentions Rehov in his inscription, it dates
        that event closer to 872BCE. If there were absolutely no Biblical or
        historical refererences for Shishak to correlate, then archaeologists
        could pretty much use the radiocarbon dating "point" as a closest
        best reference to the time of this invasion. So it's interesting
        that the radiocarbon dating seems to date the Shishak event a bit
        closer to the Battle of Karkar than the current historical timeline.
        But I'm sure the Assyriologists will work that out. Anyway, back to
        more fascinating astronomy!

        <snip re Ptolemy's Canon>

        On page 375 of his The Crime of Claudius Ptolemy, Newton also
        wrote: "It follows that Ptolemy's king list is useless in the study
        of chronology, and that it must be ignored. What is worse, much
        Babylonian chronology is based upon Ptolemy's king list. All relevant
        chronology must now be reviewed and all dependence upon Ptolemy's
        list must be removed."

        In 1977, Robert R. Newton published his book The Crime of Claudius
        Ptolemy in which he accused Ptolemy of being the "most successful
        fraud in history".


        It is also based on the Ptolemaic Canon...

        Yes, thanks.

        <snip>
        >
        > False Assumption # 2: There is absolutely no evidence that the equinox
        > had any significance whatsoever for the beginning of the year in
        > 8th century Assyria. To quote Landsberger ("Jahreszeiten im
        > Sumerisch-Akkadischen,"..

        Thanks for this reference! I stand corrected.

        > There is no evidence of days being intercalated in 8th century
        > Assyria.
        >
        Thanks! again for the ancient astronomy details. I didn't mean to
        imply the days were intercalated, only that in relation to whenever
        you begin the year, in relation to that month the equinox would fall
        in either month 12 or 13 and so the solar system sort of intercalates
        itself on its own. But I remain corrected on the specifics and
        presumptions.

        > Actually, it would be useful if the beginning of the year had some
        > connection with the equinox since that would make it quite easy to
        > determine which years should be intercalary years.

        Yes, as I noted, there is sort of a "natural" self-intercalation the
        solar system does on its own.


        However, if you check
        > out the known intercalary years from the Assyrian calendar, you will see
        > that they have no correlation with the equinox, giving rise to the
        > conclusion that the beginning of the year has nothing to do with the
        > equinox.
        >
        Totally accepted and corrected. I'll just note for the record that
        in the case of the 763BC dating, this would be an instance wherein
        the Assyrians did begin the first month of the year before the
        equinox.

        > > In that case, since solar eclipses occur on the last day of the
        month,
        >
        > False Assumption # 3: Solar eclipses occur at the new moon syzygy. The
        > new month begins with the first visibility of the crescent at sunset which
        > is a day or two later than the syzygy. Thus it is nigh impossible for the
        > new crescent to be visible in the evening on the day of a solar eclipse
        > (unless you have a really fast sun and a really slow moon).
        >
        Thanks again! I was generalizing. I stand again, corrected and thank
        you for your specifics. I'll revise my reference to "solar eclipses
        occur near the end of the month," to be more accurate rather than
        the "last day." So thanks for that correction! :>

        > False Assumption # 6: There is nothing rare about this. In fact, it is
        > extremely regular and forms the basis of being able to predict eclipses.

        This is fascinating! I didn't realize but suspected as much. This
        makes a lot more sense, generally, in relation to the Thales eclipse
        prediction based upon this very eclipse pattern! For some reason,
        the experts in the field when discussing the Thales eclipse (i.e.
        Otto Neugebauer, A. Pannekoek) seem not to have been aware of this!

        Neugebauer wrote: "... there exists no cycle for solar eclipses
        visible at a given place: all modern cycles concern the earth as a
        whole. No Babylonian theory for predicting a solar eclipse existed at
        600 BC, as one can see from the very unsatisfactory situation 400
        years later, nor did the Babylonians ever develop any theory which
        took the influence of geographical latitude into account."
        (http://www.phoenicia.org/thales.html)

        So thanks! You are confirming this is not actually the case once you
        actually look at the actual eclipses!!

        > Even though the longitude
        > will be nearly the same after an exeligmos, the latitude will have shifted
        > about 600 miles north or south of the previous eclipse in the saros
        > family.
        >
        Thank you, again! This is absolutely wonderful news info, and what I
        only had personally generally observed when comparing ancient
        eclipses with my astronomy program. So there is a factor of
        predictability there, precisely as you say. Thus the issue came up
        in relation to the Babylonian, Assyrian and Egyptian astronomers
        using this specific pattern to help Thales predict his eclipse! That
        makes sense. Of course, you can check out the 585BCE eclipse to see
        if the matching eclipse in the series occurred in the region of
        observation. That is, it would make a difference if the previous
        eclipse 54 years and 1 month earlier was 600 miles farther north when
        the pattern was occurring from north to south, versus when the
        pattern is reversed going from south to north, as can be seen from
        the 54-year-1-month series the 763BCE eclipse is part of. It's my
        theory that this is precisely how the Egyptians helped Thales predict
        his eclipse by this very pattern. But that's another topic.

        > Thus the following is true of the saros family to which the June 15, 763
        > BC eclipse belongs for an observer in Nineveh:
        >
        > Saros JD Julian Date Greatest Eclipse
        %
        >
        > 44/30 1383635.06 9 MAR 925 BC 11 19.4W 27 43.2S
        0.0
        > 44/33 1403391.00 11 APR 871 BC 2 3.9W 4 37.4S
        5.1
        > 44/36 1423146.92 13 MAY 817 BC 24 44.2E 18 48.3N 49.6
        > 44/39 1442902.84 15 JUN 763 BC 54 5.5E 38 52.4N 99.2
        > 44/42 1462658.79 17 JUL 709 BC 86 21.8E 50 26.7N 40.9
        > 44/45 1482414.77 19 AUG 655 BC 106 26.7E 50 14.5N
        1.9
        >
        > So yes, there were three consecutive (at 54 year intervals) eclipses that
        > would have been noticeable at Nineveh (or Assyria in general).
        >
        Yes! I agree. 817, 763 and 709 BC. Each one consistently about 600
        miles apart, going from south to north! So based upon your
        information, in 817BCE they would have seen at 49.2% eclipse across
        the bottom of the sun, correlating to a total eclipse track about 600
        miles south of them. Then in 763BCE, they had a total eclipse occur
        at 99.2%, where the eclipse crosses over the center of the sun. Then
        in 709 BCE, the third eclipse in the series, 600 miles to the north a
        40.9% eclipse occurred, basically a 40.9% eclipse across the top of
        the sun correlating with the total eclipse track 600 miles above
        them.

        What I would wonder is, since at this time Babylon had not come into
        such great prominence, whether or not this was the first perceived
        pattern by the Assyrian astronomers that finally allowed them to
        figure out where the next total eclipse would be in relation to the
        one they had specifically experienced? That is, given say a few
        astronomers at Nineveh who experienced the total eclipse in 763BCE,
        knowing precisely the point of the eclipse track, whether this
        enabled them to specifically predict the location and time of the
        next eclipse precisely 600 miles to the north 54 years and 1 month
        later and they took advantage of that based upon the total 763BCE
        eclipse and announced this to the public. Maybe a lot of the
        populace went north to experience this eclipse and it was such an
        incredible opportunity and a great event for them, they decided to
        memorialize it in their civic record?


        > But there were also several other saros families that produced eclipses
        > visible in Assyria at 54 year intervals at roughly the same time:
        >
        Thanks for this list. I'll check out the eclipse tracks in relation
        to Nineveh. This seems to be, though, as you said, a rather common
        observation at the time allowing for predictability. Interesting. I
        wonder what made 763BCE so different compared to the other eclipses,
        besides as you note, being total at Nineveh that they would include
        it in their eponym list?

        > to make any kind of "astrochronological" case for one or the other being
        > the only eclipse recorded in the eponym chronicle. But if one is going to
        > pick a puny 40.9% eclipse over a blockbuster 99.2% (with 100% further
        > north in Assyria or at higher elevations), one should have some evidence
        > that isn't pure speculation for it.
        >
        Absolutely. I agree. The total eclipse seems more intense. My
        speculation was that if they were observing this predictable pattern
        that the proximity of the total eclipse to Nineveh in 763BCE would
        have put the astronomers in a position to be quite accurate and
        specific in establishing the precise location of the following
        eclipse. They would have known precisely where to go if they wanted
        to experience the next eclipse based upon the 763BCE event. But
        again, you're right, at this point, that is just speculation.

        > <snip>
        >
        > > Larry Wilson
        > > Biblical and Extra-Biblical historical astrochronologist
        >
        > Being an "astrochronologist" is not enough. You have to have some idea of
        > what is going on on the ground too.
        >
        >
        > Bob Whiting
        > whiting@...
        >
        Thank you, again Bob, for this specific information! I think it's
        important to refine and get things right and I appreciate the
        refinements and corrections! This has been very informative. Again,
        the Thales predicted eclipse issue comes up because he did a 7-year
        astronomy apprenticeship in Egypt and seems to have gotten his
        information from the Egyptians in order to predict his eclipse.
        This eclipse pattern seems to have been common knowledge and fairly
        predictable if passed onto Thales. The 585BCE eclipse, though was in
        a series for this pattern that occurred farther north and over
        Europe, so that eclipse would not have helped Thales in this case.
        But Egypt is precisely about 600 miles south of Ionia (the eclipse
        interval pattern) where Thales ran to warn about that eclipse. In
        other words, for the Egyptians to be able to tell Thales about an
        upcoming eclipse going through Ionia based upon this pattern, the
        matching eclipse they would have known about would have occurred in
        Egypt. Thales apparently became famous for predicting an eclipse in
        that location, so...??

        Again, thanks for the corrections. I certainly will back down from
        my 709BCE astronomy predictable eclipse theory!

        So for now, in quick summary. It appears the 763BCE eclipse is
        absolutely a good eclipse for dating the eponym, astronomy wise, and
        correctly or adequately dated to month three.

        But that eclipse _is_ the basis for the Shishak dating to 925BCE,
        correlated with Biblical chronology for this short period. The Rehov
        radiocarbon-14 dating peaking out around 872BCE dates Shishak 19
        years earlier than the Battle of Karkar in 853BCE. Using radiocarbon
        dating, rather than eclipses to date Shishak's invasion in 872BCE, if
        you introduced the 72-year interval, it would date the Battle of
        Karkar around 799BCE. I suppose it's possible the radiocarbon-14
        dating is not all that perfected yet though.

        Thanks, again, for your info. No more Assyrian re-dating
        speculations for me for a while! Your info was extremely helpful!

        Larry Wilson
      • David Hall
        Thanks to L. Wilson thanks for the eclipse data. My source indicated Ptolemy used data about a partial (half) lunar eclipse during the reign of Merodach
        Message 3 of 19 , Aug 18, 2006
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          Thanks to L. Wilson thanks for the eclipse data.

          My source indicated Ptolemy used data about a partial (half) lunar eclipse during the reign of Merodach Baladan, I have read some web sites about R. Newton's work and am not sure if he used the methodology of observing partial and total eclipses. Evetts, a 19th century British Museum Assyriologist, suggested in his text that the Merodach Baladan eclipse was a half lunar eclipse.

          I found an interesting article suggesting that the Bible recorded a solar eclipse during the reign of Hezekiah and that this full solar eclipse was dated to 701, very close to modern chronology for the times of Hezekiah.

          http://www.bibleandscience.com/bible/books/genesis/genesis1_sunshadow.htm

          I am not astrochronologist and am sure the subject is much deeper than what I have time for.

          David Q. Hall










          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Robert M Whiting
          Sorry this reply has taken so long. I have not been well for the past week. ... Thank you. I am glad that it wasn t a waste of a day to put it all together.
          Message 4 of 19 , Aug 26, 2006
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            Sorry this reply has taken so long. I have not been well for the past
            week.

            On Fri, 18 Aug 2006, siaxares wrote:

            > --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Robert M Whiting <whiting@...> wrote:
            > >
            > > On Wed, 16 Aug 2006, siaxares wrote:
            > >
            > > <snip>
            >
            > Thanks Bob, so much for this info! I find this fascinating and I
            > must step back a bit on my astronomy theories! I basically acquiesce
            > to your specifics with the following brief notes:

            Thank you. I am glad that it wasn't a waste of a day to put it all
            together.

            > > False Assumption # 1: The "entire Assyrian Period" is not based
            > > solely on the eclipse of June 15, 763 BC.
            > >
            > Okay. Perhaps better stated, since the Assyrian eponym is a
            > continuous annual record and only one eclipse is noted in this
            > record, the eponym is aligned to match that single eclipse event and
            > that alignment is to the eclipse dated June 15, 763BCE. Obviously,
            > lots of other "evidence" would correlate with the overall dating of
            > this period, but less specifically.

            While it is true that the eclipse is the only astronomical event recorded
            in the eponym chronicle (and don't confuse the eponym list with the eponym
            chronicle -- they are two separate things), there are a significant number
            of other astronomical observations contained in the later texts of the
            Neo-Assyrian empire, including eclipses, transits, conjunctions, and
            occultations. You should look at S. Parpola, _Letters from Assyrian
            Scholars to the Kings Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal._ Parts I-II (AOAT
            5/1-2, 1970-1983) (especially the commentary in Part II). Although most
            of the letters are not dated, the observations create a web of
            circumstantial connections which can often be placed in order because of
            their reference to other events in the letters. Also important is Hermann
            Hunger, _Astrological Reports to Assyrian Kings_ (SAA 8, Helsinki, 1992).
            More of these latter texts are dated.

            > The dating for Shishak is linked to this eclipse because of an
            > inconsistent Egyptian history for this event. Since the invasion is
            > specifically mentioned in year 5 of Rehoboam and Ahab is mentioned in
            > the 6th year of Shalmaneser III, the chronology of a few kings (72
            > years) back to Shishak's invasion is based specifically on that
            > correlation. Shishak's invasion in 925BCE is linked to the battle of
            > Karkar in 853BCE, in turn based upon the 763BCE eponym eclipse.
            >
            > The only other completely independent means of dating to a specific
            > year, that is, independent of historical reference would be
            > radiocarbon-14 dating.

            The dendrochronologists would not like to hear you say that.

            > That's why the Rehov radiocarbon-14 dating is so interesting since when
            > level IV is associated with the destruction level by Shishak, who
            > mentions Rehov in his inscription, it dates that event closer to 872BCE.
            > If there were absolutely no Biblical or historical refererences for
            > Shishak to correlate, then archaeologists could pretty much use the
            > radiocarbon dating "point" as a closest best reference to the time of
            > this invasion. So it's interesting that the radiocarbon dating seems to
            > date the Shishak event a bit closer to the Battle of Karkar than the
            > current historical timeline. But I'm sure the Assyriologists will work
            > that out. Anyway, back to more fascinating astronomy!

            But there are two destruction levels there, only one (if any) of which can
            be associated with Shishak. It's not as if the destruction of Shishak has
            to be associated with level IV. In any case, I am suspicious of reflex
            correlations like this where there is an inscription that tells of
            destruction and a destruction that automatically gets associated with it.
            That's how the Ebla people got in trouble. Naram-Sin claims to have
            destroyed Ebla; there is a destruction level at Ebla so it automatically
            gets dated to Naram-Sin -- instant chronology.

            > <snip re Ptolemy's Canon>
            >
            > On page 375 of his The Crime of Claudius Ptolemy, Newton also
            > wrote: "It follows that Ptolemy's king list is useless in the study
            > of chronology, and that it must be ignored. What is worse, much
            > Babylonian chronology is based upon Ptolemy's king list. All relevant
            > chronology must now be reviewed and all dependence upon Ptolemy's
            > list must be removed."
            >
            > In 1977, Robert R. Newton published his book The Crime of Claudius
            > Ptolemy in which he accused Ptolemy of being the "most successful
            > fraud in history".

            Yes, well, Newton also took a lot of flack for that from historians of
            astronomy and I believe he backed off somewhat from that position before
            his death. Further, it seems that he wasn't aware that Ptolemy's king
            list wasn't really Ptolemy's king list but was an earlier compilation
            generally available around Alexandria. It just gets called the Ptolemaic
            Canon because it became part of his work. I doubt that anyone familiar
            with the history of astronomy and with Babylonian chronology would support
            Newton's original claim.

            > It is also based on the Ptolemaic Canon...
            >
            > Yes, thanks.

            You should perhaps read Leo Depuydt, "'More Valuable than all Gold':
            Ptolemy's Royal Canon and Babylonian Chronology," Journal of Cuneiform
            Studies 47 (1995), 97-117.

            > <snip>

            > Totally accepted and corrected. I'll just note for the record that
            > in the case of the 763BC dating, this would be an instance wherein
            > the Assyrians did begin the first month of the year before the
            > equinox.

            Yes, but only about 7 or 8 days. If you are interested there are new moon
            syzygys for the entire period at
            <http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/phase/phasecat.html>.

            <snip>

            > > False Assumption # 6: There is nothing rare about this. In fact, it
            > > is extremely regular and forms the basis of being able to predict
            > > eclipses.
            >
            > This is fascinating! I didn't realize but suspected as much.

            This should be basic knowledge for anyone who calls himself an
            "astrochronologist."

            > This makes a lot more sense, generally, in relation to the Thales
            > eclipse prediction based upon this very eclipse pattern! For some
            > reason, the experts in the field when discussing the Thales eclipse
            > (i.e. Otto Neugebauer, A. Pannekoek) seem not to have been aware of
            > this!
            >
            > Neugebauer wrote: "... there exists no cycle for solar eclipses
            > visible at a given place: all modern cycles concern the earth as a
            > whole. No Babylonian theory for predicting a solar eclipse existed at
            > 600 BC, as one can see from the very unsatisfactory situation 400
            > years later, nor did the Babylonians ever develop any theory which
            > took the influence of geographical latitude into account."
            > (http://www.phoenicia.org/thales.html)
            >
            > So thanks! You are confirming this is not actually the case once you
            > actually look at the actual eclipses!!

            Actually it is the case. Neugebauer was quite correct. Just because you
            don't understand what he said does not mean that he was wrong.

            You are confusing one- or two-time repetition with a cycle (periodicity).
            A cycle repeats over and over (and over). There is no periodicity for the
            same eclipse being visible from the same spot on earth. All the
            repetition within a saros family tells you is that it is quite likely that
            three consecutive exeligmos periods will produce eclipses that will be
            visible from the same spot. But it is not any three such periods, but a
            specific set of them. Basically, if there is a major eclipse at a place
            then there should be another visible at the same place in about 54 years.
            But the second eclipse almost certainly won't be of the same magnitude.
            Further, there is no guarantee that every saros family will produce three
            consecutive major eclipses at 54 year intervals in any given place.
            There is no cycle for a particular eclipse at a particular spot, only for
            the earth as a whole. Each eclipse of a saros family will occur at a
            different place. There are so many saros families in operation at any
            given time that being able to isolate three consecutive members of the
            same saros family at 54 year intervals when there are so many other
            eclipses occurring within the same time period would be extremely
            fortuitous.

            To understand this, you need to know what a saros period is and what
            constitutes a saros family. Eclipses occur when the sun, moon, and earth
            are all in the same vertical plane and the moon is near one of its orbital
            nodes (where the moon's orbit intersects the plane of the earth's path
            around the sun). To be able to predict solar eclipses three things must
            be known:

            1) The period of time from one new or full moon to the next. This is
            known as the "Synodic Month" and its average length is 29.53059
            days.

            2) The period of time it takes the Sun to travel from the lunar
            node around the zodiac to the same node, called the "Draconic Year".
            Because the Moon's Nodes move backwards 19-20 degrees a year, the
            Draconic Year is shorter than the usual calendar year by several
            weeks. Its average length is 346.62005 days.

            3) The period of time from perigee to perigee in the Moon's orbit,
            called the "Anomalistic Month". This period averages 27.55455 days.

            It so happens that these cycles all repeat nearly exactly every 18+ years:

            223 Synodic Months = 6585 days, 7 hours, 43+ minutes,
            19 Draconic Years = 6585 days, 18 hours, 44+ minutes,
            239 Anomalistic Months = 6585 days, 12 hours, 53+ minutes.

            This gives a period of 6585.322 days or 18 years 10 (or 11) days 8 hours
            as the saros cycle. If a solar eclipse occurs, one saros cycle later:

            There will be another new moon occurring,
            The Sun and Moon will be roughly the same distance along the
            zodiac from the same Lunar Node again,
            The Earth and Moon will be roughly the same distance apart as they
            were at the eclipse one saros period earlier.

            However, the eclipse will not happen in the same part of the zodiac as the
            previous eclipse. It takes about 18.61 years for the lunar nodes to
            retrograde through the zodiac and return to the same position. After one
            saros period the nodes are about 11-12 degrees short of returning so in
            effect the nodes move 11-12 degrees eastwards after a saros period and so
            do the eclipse points.

            Saros families are a result of the fact that the three cycles that make up
            the saros period are not exactly equal. In order for an eclipse to occur,
            the sun and the moon must be no more than 18 degrees from the lunar node.
            If the three cycles repeated exactly, eclipses would repeat perfectly
            every saros cycle. But because 223 lunations is about 11 hours shorter
            than a draconic year, the sun will not yet have reached the same position
            with respect to the node. It is still 11 hours away. This translates
            roughly to half a degree of arc. This half degree drift eventually (after
            about 12-14 centuries) causes the sun to move outside the 18 degree limit
            for creating an eclipse and the saros family to come to an end.

            A typical saros family is born when the conditions for an eclipse are met.
            The first eclipses will be partial eclipses at one of the poles (which one
            depends on which lunar node is involved). After each successive saros
            period the lunar shadow will move closer to the equator until the umbra
            hits the earth and then the eclipses will become total (or annular).
            This will continue until the shadow finally misses the earth and the
            family comes to an end at the opposite pole from which it began.
            Typically a family has 70-80 consecutive eclipses, no two of which will
            appear the same from any given place on earth. Since there are a number
            of possible alignments that will result in solar eclipses, there are
            normally about 40 saros families in operation at any one time.

            > > Even though the longitude will be nearly the same after an exeligmos,
            > > the latitude will have shifted about 600 miles north or south of the
            > > previous eclipse in the saros family.
            > >
            > Thank you, again! This is absolutely wonderful news info, and what I
            > only had personally generally observed when comparing ancient
            > eclipses with my astronomy program.

            If you are using a planetarium program to try to analyze eclipses, you
            should probably get an eclipse mapper. There are a number of free
            programs available. Both EmapWin and WinEclipse are useful. Try
            <http://astrotips.com/Downloads-index-req-viewsdownload-sid-16.phtml> to
            see what is available. But in any case, you really need to get your head
            out of your astronomy program and look at what is going on on the ground
            where most of your claims have little or no basis in reality.

            > So there is a factor of predictability there, precisely as you say.
            > Thus the issue came up in relation to the Babylonian, Assyrian and
            > Egyptian astronomers using this specific pattern to help Thales predict
            > his eclipse! That makes sense. Of course, you can check out the 585BCE
            > eclipse to see if the matching eclipse in the series occurred in the
            > region of observation. That is, it would make a difference if the
            > previous eclipse 54 years and 1 month earlier was 600 miles farther
            > north when the pattern was occurring from north to south, versus when
            > the pattern is reversed going from south to north, as can be seen from
            > the 54-year-1-month series the 763BCE eclipse is part of. It's my
            > theory that this is precisely how the Egyptians helped Thales predict
            > his eclipse by this very pattern. But that's another topic.

            I don't want to get into the Thales eclipse because there are others much
            better qualified to deal with the classical sources behind it. However,
            it is worth noting that the saros family to which the "Thales" eclipse
            belonged (585 BC) produced quite a number of eclipses that were visible at
            Nineveh. In fact the "Thales" eclipse would have been visible at Nineveh
            (except that Nineveh wasn't there any more) as a total eclipse at sunset.
            A total eclipse at sunset, however, is much less impressive than one in
            the middle of the day since it usually gets dark at sunset anyway. In any
            case, the following members of this family were visible at Nineveh:

            Saros JD Julian Date Greatest Eclipse %

            57/15 1389363.93 15 NOV 910 BC 59 4.5E 69 51.2N 62.2
            57/18 1409120.04 17 DEC 856 BC 16 49.3W 60 32.9N 15.9
            57/20 1422290.78 8 JAN 819 BC 66 4.0E 53 2.8N 68.8
            57/23 1442046.85 10 FEB 765 BC 31 37.1E 43 28.8N 84.8
            57/26 1461802.87 14 MAR 711 BC 21 53.2E 39 9.5N 65.0
            57/29 1481558.84 15 APR 657 BC 34 37.5E 39 19.3N 89.5
            57/32 1501314.79 18 MAY 603 BC 62 45.0E 39 18.9N 64.6
            57/33 1507900.10 28 MAY 585 BC 46 6.5W 38 9.9N 98.7 *
            57/35 1521070.73 19 JUN 549 BC 94 59.0E 33 19.0N 12.6
            57/36 1527656.04 30 JUN 531 BC 16 12.5W 29 38.9N 35.2

            *"Thales" eclipse

            Now this was a rare type of saros family. The eclipse track (path of
            totality) started out as a fairly tight semicircle near the north polar
            region and in subsequent eclipses the semicircle became larger and
            flatter. The result was that although the beginning of the eclipse tracks
            may have been separated by about 600 miles the point of maximum eclipse
            did not move much at all for a long time. Thus it was at more or less the
            same latitude (right around 40N) for four consecutive exeligmos periods
            (23, 26, 29, 32), making all of these eclipses visible at Nineveh (and in
            the Near East and the eastern Mediterranean in genera). Furthermore, note
            that the "Thales" eclipse was not part of this sequence but was only one
            saros period (18+ years) removed from the last of the exeligmos sequence.
            It often happens that consecutive eclipses of a saros family are visible
            at the same spot (the first occurring in the morning and the next occurring
            in the evening) since although 8 hours equates to 120 degrees of arc, the
            eclipse track is often longer than 120 degrees and the absolute distance
            covered by 120 degrees of longitude gets shorter the farther north you go
            (it varies as the cosine of the latitude).

            So if Herodotos was correct and Thales did predict this eclipse, it is not
            surprising that it was an eclipse from this particular saros family that
            was predicted.

            > > Thus the following is true of the saros family to which the June 15, 763
            > > BC eclipse belongs for an observer in Nineveh:
            > >
            > > Saros JD Julian Date Greatest Eclipse %
            > >
            > > 44/30 1383635.06 9 MAR 925 BC 11 19.4W 27 43.2S 0.0
            > > 44/33 1403391.00 11 APR 871 BC 2 3.9W 4 37.4S 5.1
            > > 44/36 1423146.92 13 MAY 817 BC 24 44.2E 18 48.3N 49.6
            > > 44/39 1442902.84 15 JUN 763 BC 54 5.5E 38 52.4N 99.2
            > > 44/42 1462658.79 17 JUL 709 BC 86 21.8E 50 26.7N 40.9
            > > 44/45 1482414.77 19 AUG 655 BC 106 26.7E 50 14.5N 1.9
            > >
            > > So yes, there were three consecutive (at 54 year intervals) eclipses that
            > > would have been noticeable at Nineveh (or Assyria in general).
            > >
            > Yes! I agree. 817, 763 and 709 BC. Each one consistently about 600
            > miles apart, going from south to north! So based upon your
            > information, in 817BCE they would have seen at 49.2% eclipse across
            > the bottom of the sun, correlating to a total eclipse track about 600
            > miles south of them. Then in 763BCE, they had a total eclipse occur
            > at 99.2%, where the eclipse crosses over the center of the sun. Then
            > in 709 BCE, the third eclipse in the series, 600 miles to the north a
            > 40.9% eclipse occurred, basically a 40.9% eclipse across the top of
            > the sun correlating with the total eclipse track 600 miles above
            > them.

            A marvelous bit of over-simplification. Obviously the "they" who
            observed the 817 BC eclipse were not the same "they" who observed the 709
            BC eclipse, there being 108 years between the two events. Indeed, it is
            unlikely that any of the "they" who observed any two of the events were
            the same, 54 years being a very long career for someone who spends his
            time staring at the sun looking for eclipses. Being able to connect these
            events would require the keeping of meticulous records for a very long
            time (as well as being able to differentiate them from the eclipses
            generated by the numerous other saros families operating at the same
            time). Unfortunately, we have no evidence of such records for this
            period (doesn't mean they didn't exist, just that we have no record of
            them).

            > What I would wonder is, since at this time Babylon had not come into
            > such great prominence,

            Political prominence. Babylon(ia) always had prominence in astronomy and
            mathematics. That's why the Assyrians adopted the Babylonian calendar
            late in the second millennium.

            > whether or not this was the first perceived pattern by the Assyrian
            > astronomers that finally allowed them to figure out where the next total
            > eclipse would be in relation to the one they had specifically
            > experienced?

            There is no evidence at all that eclipses could be predicted in 8th
            century Assyria. If you read the correspondence of the court astronomers
            in the 7th century, it is clear that they still couldn't predict eclipses.
            They clearly felt that they should have been able to, but the results
            indicate that they weren't. They were perhaps getting close, because they
            clearly had some understanding of the nodes since when there was an
            eclipse (solar or lunar) at one syzygy they knew to be vigilant for the
            other kind of eclipse at the next syzygy.

            > That is, given say a few astronomers at Nineveh who experienced the
            > total eclipse in 763BCE, knowing precisely the point of the eclipse
            > track, whether this enabled them to specifically predict the location
            > and time of the next eclipse precisely 600 miles to the north 54 years
            > and 1 month later and they took advantage of that based upon the total
            > 763BCE eclipse and announced this to the public. Maybe a lot of the
            > populace went north to experience this eclipse and it was such an
            > incredible opportunity and a great event for them, they decided to
            > memorialize it in their civic record?

            Very entertaining, but it sounds more like a screenplay than anything
            resembling serious scholarship (on due reflection, I think 'serious' can
            be deleted).

            First of all, do you have any idea where 600 miles north of Assyria is?
            The path of totality for the 709 BC eclipse went through Kiev. In the 8th
            century BC, 600 miles wasn't just a 10-hour drive or a 2-hour plane ride,
            it was a bleeping long walk, especially when you had to go over the
            Caucasus. Of course, I suppose they might have walked across the
            Anatolian mountains (they're lower) to the Black Sea, taken the ferry
            across to Odessa and then taken a cruise ship up the Dnieper. A lot less
            walking. But if any significant part of "the populace" made this trip,
            that would be the subject of an epic, not the eclipse. There is no record
            of any Assyrian having reached the Black Sea in the 8th century, let alone
            the latitude of Kiev.

            Second, eclipses in 8th (and 7th) century Assyria were not scientific
            curiosities for the entertainment of "the populace". They were ominous
            events that usually portended disaster, particularly for the king. In
            fact, after most solar eclipses it was necessary to enthrone a "substitute
            king" and then bump him off to protect the real king. Eclipses were
            something that "the populace" (and especially the short-list of substitute
            kings) could do just as well without.

            In short, you are trying to analyze 8th century BC Assyrians through your
            own cultural concepts and not theirs. This is generally considered to be
            a methodological flaw. Students of the ANE have a term for this
            principle: Eigenbegrifflichkeit. This term derives from Benno
            Landsberger's inaugural address at Leipzig in 1926; although it is
            sometimes translated as "conceptual autonomy", the original
            "Eigenbegrifflichkeit" is frequently used in English context. The
            principle is that alien cultures have to be understood through their own
            concepts, not anyone else's. In order to understand their concepts you
            have to know how and what they thought. And you can only learn this from
            reading their texts, not from looking at eclipse tracks on a map.

            > > But there were also several other saros families that produced eclipses
            > > visible in Assyria at 54 year intervals at roughly the same time:
            > >
            > Thanks for this list. I'll check out the eclipse tracks in relation
            > to Nineveh. This seems to be, though, as you said, a rather common
            > observation at the time allowing for predictability. Interesting. I
            > wonder what made 763BCE so different compared to the other eclipses,
            > besides as you note, being total at Nineveh that they would include
            > it in their eponym list?

            That is quite sufficient. A total solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime
            experience. It is truly awe-inspiring, even today when we know exactly
            what is happening and don't interpret it as the gods trying to tell us
            something.

            > > to make any kind of "astrochronological" case for one or the other being
            > > the only eclipse recorded in the eponym chronicle. But if one is going to
            > > pick a puny 40.9% eclipse over a blockbuster 99.2% (with 100% further
            > > north in Assyria or at higher elevations), one should have some evidence
            > > that isn't pure speculation for it.
            > >
            > Absolutely. I agree. The total eclipse seems more intense. My
            > speculation was that if they were observing this predictable pattern
            > that the proximity of the total eclipse to Nineveh in 763BCE would
            > have put the astronomers in a position to be quite accurate and
            > specific in establishing the precise location of the following
            > eclipse. They would have known precisely where to go if they wanted
            > to experience the next eclipse based upon the 763BCE event. But
            > again, you're right, at this point, that is just speculation.

            Sure they would if they knew the earth was a sphere, understood spherical
            trionometry, latitude, longitude, and had a good map of the world. It is
            not just speculation, it is wild and extravagant speculation.

            <snip>


            Bob Whiting
            whiting@...
          • David Hall
            RE: Sixares Assyrian eclipse date theory. Robert M Whiting wrote: ... David Hall replied: According to the Tel Rehov Expedition web
            Message 5 of 19 , Aug 26, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
              RE: Sixares Assyrian eclipse date theory.

              Robert M Whiting <whiting@...> wrote:

              On Fri, 18 Aug 2006, siaxares wrote:

              >
              > The dating for Shishak is linked to this eclipse because of an
              > inconsistent Egyptian history for this event. Since the invasion is
              > specifically mentioned in year 5 of Rehoboam and Ahab is mentioned in
              > the 6th year of Shalmaneser III, the chronology of a few kings (72
              > years) back to Shishak's invasion is based specifically on that
              > correlation. Shishak's invasion in 925BCE is linked to the battle of
              > Karkar in 853BCE, in turn based upon the 763BCE eponym eclipse.
              >
              > The only other completely independent means of dating to a specific
              > year, that is, independent of historical reference would be
              > radiocarbon-14 dating.
              David Hall replied:
              According to the Tel Rehov Expedition web site:
              http://www.rehov.org/Rehov/Results.htm
              There were two destruction layers at Tel Rehov. Level V was associated with the destruction of Shishak, not Level IV as sixares had postulated.
              Level IV was associated with an Aramaen incursion.
              Sincerely:
              David Q. Hall
              dqhall@...
            • Ever Wilson
              ... A point of subjective debate. Here is a quote of one archaeologist that does think Level IV is to be associated with Shishak: Radiocarbon dating quote:
              Message 6 of 19 , Aug 30, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                >From: David Hall <dqhall@...>
                >Reply-To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                >To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                >Subject: Re: Assyrian Chronology (was [ANE-2] Re: THE BIBLE UNEARTHED)
                >Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 20:14:44 -0700 (PDT)
                >
                >RE: Sixares Assyrian eclipse date theory.
                >
                >Robert M Whiting <whiting@...> wrote:
                >
                >On Fri, 18 Aug 2006, siaxares wrote:
                >
                > >
                > > The dating for Shishak is linked to this eclipse because of an
                > > inconsistent Egyptian history for this event. Since the invasion is
                > > specifically mentioned in year 5 of Rehoboam and Ahab is mentioned in
                > > the 6th year of Shalmaneser III, the chronology of a few kings (72
                > > years) back to Shishak's invasion is based specifically on that
                > > correlation. Shishak's invasion in 925BCE is linked to the battle of
                > > Karkar in 853BCE, in turn based upon the 763BCE eponym eclipse.
                > >
                > > The only other completely independent means of dating to a specific
                > > year, that is, independent of historical reference would be
                > > radiocarbon-14 dating.
                > David Hall replied:
                > According to the Tel Rehov Expedition web site:
                > http://www.rehov.org/Rehov/Results.htm
                > There were two destruction layers at Tel Rehov. Level V was associated
                >with the destruction of Shishak, not Level IV as sixares had postulated.
                > Level IV was associated with an Aramaen incursion.
                > Sincerely:
                > David Q. Hall
                >dqhall@...
                >
                >
                A point of subjective debate. Here is a quote of one archaeologist that
                does think Level IV
                is to be associated with Shishak:

                Radiocarbon dating quote: "Although radiocarbon dating of the Iron Age
                period can be treacherous, due to the wide margins of error involved,
                short-lived grains of wheat, barley, and other plants can often be dated
                with reasonable accuracy. At Tel Rehov there is a major destruction layer
                associated with hand-burnished pottery. Radiocarbon dating of charred grains
                from this layer, which Mazar believes corresponds to the Shoshenq invasion,
                gave dates ranging from about 916 to 832 B.C." (Volume 287, Number 5450
                Issue of 7 Jan 2000, pp. 31 - 32 �2000 by The American Association for the
                Advancement of Science)

                Now, we know one Rehov level got destroyed say, c. 872BCE per the highest
                match with
                the Groningian chart in question... shown here

                http://www.geocities.com/ed_maruyama/rehov872.html


                But just WHO destroyed this layer is totally dependent upon the historical
                presumptions. That
                is, if your timeline is dated so that 872BCE is well past Solomon then you
                must presume this is
                some vague invasion during the time of Ahab or later. What choice do you
                have?

                So again, if the timeline gets adjusted then the options of who destroyed
                this level change as
                well.

                Part of this argument is thus by deduction and is reflected by Finkelstein's
                statement in this
                regard regarding concluding this. In his Appendix D from "The Bible
                Unearthed" he goes through the issue: Pate 342-343

                "..This palatial acropolis [Jezreel] was destroyed a short while after it
                was built. This presumably happened either in the course of the revolt
                against the Omride dynasty led by the future Israelite king Jehu or as a
                result of the military campaign of Hazael, king of Damascus, in northern
                Israel. In either case, the date of abandonment of the Jezreel enclosure
                would be around the middle ofthe ninth century BCE. The surprise was that
                the pottery found in the Jezreel enclosure is identical to the pottery of
                the city of palaces at Megiddo. But the latter was supposed to have been
                destroyed by Pharaoh Shishak almost a century earlier! How can we bridge
                this gap? There are only two possibiities here: either we pull the building
                of Jezreel back to the time of Solomon, or we push the Megiddo palaces ahead
                to the time of the dynasty of Ahab. It goes without saying that in this
                case, there is only one solution, since there is no record of Solomonic
                occupation of Jezreel and since the Jezreel compound is similar in layout to
                the acropolis of Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, which was no
                bout built by the Omrides. The city of ashlar palaces at Megiddo was
                destroyed in the mid-ninth century, progably by Hazael, and not in 926 BCE
                by Shishak."

                This is a perfect example of a straw man's argument by an archaeologist who
                feels trapped by
                the timeline. That is, he thinks there are only "two possibilities" as far
                as dating to explain the destruction ofthe Jezreel palaces. But actually,
                there is a third choice. That is, simply move
                Solomon and Shishak down 54-60 years! If you change the timeline, then get
                to have your
                cake and eat it too! The reasonable evidence that Shishak destroyed the
                palacial level at
                Megiddo and Rehov (since Shishak mentions both cities) is only contradicted
                by the current
                popular timeline based upon a single eclipse event during the Assyrian
                Period which forces
                the dating of Karkar and Ahab c. 853BCE. If you move that eclipse down to
                the eclipse in
                709BCE, for instance, the "natural occurring third month eclipse" then all
                is resolved.

                So though the dating of level IV at Rehov is more or less stuck bys science
                to be dated
                c. 872BCE, who destroyed it is wholly dependent upon flexible "historical"
                sources including
                the Biblical timeline. The Biblical timeline, of course, is a complex issue
                with varying
                interpretations. But at least one of them as promoted by Martin Anstey in
                his well known
                18th century text "The Romance of Biblical Chronology" would down-date
                Solomon
                substantially.

                So the only thing that is true sure for now, is that Rehov got destroyed
                around 872BCE
                by somebody, right now either Shishak or maybe Hazael. But on that regard,
                we all know
                that the transition from the Ahab dynasty to Jehu didn't involve a battle
                but simply killing
                off the royal family. We also know Hazeal and Jehu worked together and
                Hazael even
                claims to have killed Ahab son himself. So why would they need to bother
                burning down
                the Jezreel palace? Why bother burning down Megiddo or Rehov? At this
                point, Jehu
                and Hazeal were on the same side.

                On the other hand, if you simply downdate Solomon and Shishak to c. 842BCE
                for Shishak's
                invasion, then the destruction of Rehov, Megiddo and Jezreel all fit
                together quite well.
                Remember, the palace at Jezreel was fairly new! Another argument that
                Solomon had
                just built it and it was destroyed shortly afterwards.

                Bottom line is, 925BCE is simply too archaeologically early for Shishak's
                destruction of
                Rehov clearly dating to c. 872BCE and the only choice archaeologists seem to
                have here,
                based upon the current timeline is sometime around the period of Ahab.
                There is no
                hard evidence that this destruction was by Hazeal. On the other hand, they
                did find a
                stele at Megiddo where Shishak claims to have destroyed this city!

                So who destroyed Rehov is basically up for grabs, but I can assure you, once
                evidence is
                in place that will effectively downdate Solomon/Shishak by 54 years, then
                the above
                becomes a non-issue, archaeologically speaking.

                Having noted that, please note that the entire timeline from Apophis down to
                Shishak
                will be archaeologically correct. That is, Manetho dates Joseph during the
                time of
                Apophis, which 215 years later would date the Exodus around the time of
                Amenhotep III,
                which per Kathleen Kenyon fits Jericho's destruction shortly afterward
                during 1350-1325BCE.
                That dating is completely in line with Shishak's invasion 480 years later!
                So moving Solomon
                and Shishak down to c. 872BCE will not disturb the archaeological or
                Biblical relative chronology
                for this periiod in the least, it will in fact, harmonize them.

                Larry Wilson

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              • Ever Wilson
                ... Please note the exact quote from the above Tel Rehov site regarding this: Radiocarbon dates indicate that Strata VI-V existed during the 10th century,
                Message 7 of 19 , Aug 30, 2006
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                  >From: David Hall <dqhall@...>
                  >Reply-To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                  >To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                  >Subject: Re: Assyrian Chronology (was [ANE-2] Re: THE BIBLE UNEARTHED)
                  >Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 20:14:44 -0700 (PDT)
                  >
                  > > The only other completely independent means of dating to a specific
                  > > year, that is, independent of historical reference would be
                  > > radiocarbon-14 dating.
                  > David Hall replied:
                  > According to the Tel Rehov Expedition web site:
                  > http://www.rehov.org/Rehov/Results.htm
                  > There were two destruction layers at Tel Rehov. Level V was associated
                  >with the destruction of Shishak, not Level IV as sixares had postulated.
                  > Level IV was associated with an Aramaen incursion.
                  > Sincerely:
                  > David Q. Hall
                  >dqhall@...
                  >
                  Please note the exact quote from the above Tel Rehov site regarding this:

                  "Radiocarbon dates indicate that Strata VI-V existed during the 10th
                  century, Stratum V was destroyed during the second half of this century,
                  while Stratum IV existed during the ninth century, and was destroyed no
                  later than 830 BCE. It is tempting to relate the destruction of stratum V to
                  the invasion of Shishak and that of stratum IV to the Aramean wars,
                  following the end of the Omride Dynasty, though an earlier date to this
                  destruction should not be ruled out. "

                  So there is no true confirmation here as to how a mid-9th century
                  destruction level IV was
                  actually related to the Aramean wars. Again as noted, we know that Jehu
                  simply killed off
                  the royal family of Ahab, something also claimed by Hazael. Syria and
                  Israel were friends during
                  the last three years of Ahab's rule until the Ahab-Syrian conflict and then
                  he got killed. Then
                  Jehu took over.

                  The Groningian Rehov grain sample, however, is dated most strongly c.
                  875-870BCE! That is
                  not 830BCE, but the second quarter of the 9th century. Karkar is now dated
                  c. 853BCE!!
                  The Aramaen Wars, if any, would not have occurred until at least 6-9 years
                  after this when
                  Ahab died, somewhere in the 840's BCE! Thus the best radiocarbon dating
                  from Rehov
                  destroys that city before the Aramean wars and before Karkar!

                  The "range" applied to the radiocarbon dating is often noted as from
                  916-832BCE as noted
                  below. But the PEAK plus the centered average is c. 874-870BCE!

                  Radiocarbon dating quote: "Although radiocarbon dating of the Iron Age
                  period can be treacherous, due to the wide margins of error involved,
                  short-lived grains of wheat, barley, and other plants can often be dated
                  with reasonable accuracy. At Tel Rehov there is a major destruction layer
                  associated with hand-burnished pottery. Radiocarbon dating of charred grains
                  from this layer, which Mazar believes corresponds to the Shoshenq invasion,
                  gave dates ranging from about 916 to 832 B.C." (Volume 287, Number 5450
                  Issue of 7 Jan 2000, pp. 31 - 32 �2000 by The American Association for the
                  Advancement of Science)

                  So for the theory that Rehov was destroyed during the "Aramaen Wars"
                  presumably the conflict
                  with Ahab, then you have to ignore both the peak and the earlier ranges for
                  the radiocarbon dating
                  and use the latest range for Rehov. So it doesn't work.

                  So as along as archaeologists and historians are playing with the evidence,
                  why not consider moving the 763BCE eclipse to 709BCE? If you did, Shishak's
                  invasion now dated to 925BCE falls specifically to 871BCE! That is
                  precisely and pointedly where the highest level of peak results for Rehov is
                  indicated by radiocarbon dating. In addition, if you destroy Rehov in
                  872BCE at the end of Solomon's reign say ending by 870BCE, then Jericho's
                  destruction would be dated 480 years earlier than this c. 1350 BCE.
                  Kathleen Kenyon precisely dates Jericho's destruction around this time!

                  As she notes in her classic book, "Digging Up Jericho" (page 262): "As
                  concerns the date of the destruction of Jericho by the Israelites, all that
                  can be said is that the latest Bronze Age occupation should, in my view, be
                  dated to the third quarter of the fourteenth century B.C." That is
                  1350-1325BCE!

                  Meaning what? Meaning that per the Jericho dating, Shishak's invasion was
                  already implied to occur c. 875-870BCE! Rehov simply confirms it.

                  What's WRONG with this picture? Nothing! Nothing archaeologically, that
                  is. The problem is the antiquated Assyrian timeline we get from the Greeks
                  and Ptolemy, two very questionable sources at this point.

                  Again, please note that Mazar is the primary excavator and reporter on Rehov
                  and he himself, though allowing for a later destructive level potential
                  historically, otherwise believies level IV was destroyed by Shishak. So I
                  am not misquoting the archaeological reference on this point.

                  Right now archaeologists are ignoring the pointed and central dating for
                  destructive level IV c. 875-870BCE because that occurs too late for Shishak
                  (now dated 925BCE) but also too early for the Aramaen Wars sometime after
                  Karkar now dated to 853BCE.

                  The archaeologists know something doesn't add up. Something is wrong, and
                  they don't know what. Israel Finkelstein thinks the reasonable way out is
                  to presume the Bible was re-written and the glory period of the Omrides was
                  moved back to the time of Solomon. But that still doesn't fix who destroyed
                  Rehov, Megiddo and Jezreel in 872BCE, just 19 years before the Battle of
                  Karkar, long before the Aramaen-Israelite conflict, which didn't seem to
                  involve burning down any buildings, just killing off the royal family.

                  It's time to correct the timeline. Of note, the Bible's chronology has
                  never supported Solomon's rule earlier than 910-870BCE.

                  Larry Wilson

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                • David Hall
                  To E. Wilson; RE: chronology of Aramaen invasions of Israel: You seem to assume the Aramaen invasion was linked to the Battle of Karkar. Having read
                  Message 8 of 19 , Aug 31, 2006
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                    To E. Wilson; RE: chronology of Aramaen invasions of Israel:

                    You seem to assume the Aramaen invasion was linked to the Battle of Karkar.

                    Having read Assyriologist George Smith's work there were records of an earlier event that I did not find in your thesis:

                    Asa King of Judah sent tribute to Ben Hadad in order to get him to side against Baasha of Israel. Ben Hadad pillaged Israel. This was before the Battle of Karkar.

                    There are yet problems with dates not aligning, yet I did not see a statement of the probability of error in a wood or seed sample from the ninth century BCE. I do not believe C14 is as accurate as more than a quarter century from the 8th century BCE. There was a boat found in a mud flat of Lake Tiberias near Kibbutz Ginnosar some years ago from the first century. The published date for the boat was c. 100 BCE - 100 CE. Pottery and other artifacts found in and near the boat were also used to date the boat. If they claim the C14 method is as accurate as to let us know the exact year the place was destroyed I would not yet believe them.

                    David Q. Hall
                    dqhall@...



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Ever Wilson
                    Thanks David! Yes, I ve since read up on this and there are a few opportunistic conflicts for Aramean vs Israel, pertinently with Ahab and then vs Jehu.
                    Message 9 of 19 , Aug 31, 2006
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                      Thanks David!

                      Yes, I've since read up on this and there are a few opportunistic conflicts
                      for Aramean vs Israel, pertinently with Ahab and then vs Jehu. But...
                      still a bit fuzzy. Cities captured by Hazeal were reclaimed a generation
                      later by Israel, so I'm not sure if sacking and burning of the cities was
                      always a case. The events will have to be subjective to the final timeline
                      I suppose.

                      L. Wilson


                      >From: David Hall <dqhall@...>
                      >Reply-To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                      >To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                      >Subject: Re: Assyrian Chronology (was [ANE-2] Re: THE BIBLE UNEARTHED)
                      >Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2006 05:17:55 -0700 (PDT)
                      >
                      > To E. Wilson; RE: chronology of Aramaen invasions of Israel:
                      >
                      > You seem to assume the Aramaen invasion was linked to the Battle of
                      >Karkar.
                      >
                      > Having read Assyriologist George Smith's work there were records of an
                      >earlier event that I did not find in your thesis:
                      >
                      > Asa King of Judah sent tribute to Ben Hadad in order to get him to side
                      >against Baasha of Israel. Ben Hadad pillaged Israel. This was before the
                      >Battle of Karkar.
                      >
                      > There are yet problems with dates not aligning, yet I did not see a
                      >statement of the probability of error in a wood or seed sample from the
                      >ninth century BCE. I do not believe C14 is as accurate as more than a
                      >quarter century from the 8th century BCE. There was a boat found in a mud
                      >flat of Lake Tiberias near Kibbutz Ginnosar some years ago from the first
                      >century. The published date for the boat was c. 100 BCE - 100 CE. Pottery
                      >and other artifacts found in and near the boat were also used to date the
                      >boat. If they claim the C14 method is as accurate as to let us know the
                      >exact year the place was destroyed I would not yet believe them.
                      >
                      > David Q. Hall
                      > dqhall@...
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >

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