A Conversation for Ask h2g2

How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 101

Giford

Hi Nog,

Presumably you know that the gate you pictured is associated with 'Granary Style Pottery', a sub-class of the Late Helladic style found throughout Mycenae and Greece at this period.

This is followed by the protogeometric style, associated with the 'dark ages' that Vel denies.

Only then do we come to the Phrygian style pottery.

Gif smiley - geek


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 102

Taff Agent of kaos


were not the mycean replace by the barbarians from the north who usurped their cultre and pantheon and then became the classical greeks???

smiley - bat


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 103

anhaga

I think you're referring to the old 'Dorian Invasion' theory, Taff. If I remember correctly, that largely went out of fashion back in the '70s.smiley - erm


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 104

Noggin the Nog

Hi everybody

I had hoped that someone would notice the the unusual similarity between the two pictures, given that they are supposedly 500 years apart in time, and that there are no intervening examples, and would perhaps be moved in the same way as the Victorian classical scholar, W.M. Ramsay, when he wrote in 1888, “The resemblance in idea is complete.” He considered the scheme “so peculiarly characteristic of Phrygia, that we can hardly admit it to have been borrowed from any other country.” He found himself “driven to the conclusion that the Mycenaean artists either are Phrygians or learned the idea from the Phrygians. It is not allowable to separate them [the Phrygian and Mycenaean monuments] in time by several centuries.”

But if such a time lapse in the construction of almost identical monumental buildings seems odd, odder still is that the Phrygians themselves also seem to have disappeared for the same period. They are believed to have been living around Troy and the Bosporus around the time of the Trojan war (13th century), but subsequently no trace of them is seen until the founding of Gordion (late 9th century). It might be argued that for the standard chronology to lose an entire people for four hundred years is just unfortunate, but to lose two smacks of carelessness. In the 13th century the Hittite documents mention a people called the Ahhiyawa (thought to be Achaeans) living in western Anatolia around Miletus. Miletus was destroyed around 1200 BC, and the name Ahhiyawa disappears from history, but in the late 8th century a people called the Hiyawa appear in Cilicia, whose antecedents are known to be in the Greek world. Despite the speculation, no actual trace of them is known in the intervening centuries. See http://kubaba.univ-paris1.fr/recherche/antiquite/mopsoinglesem.pdf

And what of the pottery at Mykenae? In 1920 the archaeologist Henry Wace dug a trench in the space between the lion gate, the wall, the granary, and the slope down from the citadel. He differentiated thirteen layers. The bottom ten, as expected, contained pottery of the late Mykenean/Helladic IIIB (the time of construction of the gate and wall in about 1250), through to late in the IIIC phase, about 1100-1050 BC, each layer therefore representing about 15-20 years. In the eleventh layer he found more late IIIC pottery, together with the pottery known as orientalising ware, dated to the 7th or 6th centuries. Although this layer therefore represented at least 400 years, it was of similar thickness to the preceding layers representing at most 20 years, and there was no sign of any hiatus in the deposit which would have been expected if the site had been abandoned, or of any pottery datable to between 1050 and 650. Wace himself originally dated the layer to the early 11th century, but later changed his mind and dated it to the late 7th, though there was no consensus among scholars.

The archaeology (and there many more examples that could be given), therefore seems to justify a speculative question like "What if the dark ages of Greece and Anatolia are not real?" The age of Mykenean Greece would have to be reduced, and the synchronicity between the Mykenean civilisation and 18th dynasty means that the Egyptian chronology would have to be reduced by the same amount.

Gif, can you give a concrete example of geometric pottery in a clearly post-Mykenean context? It would seem to be crucial to your argument.

Noggin


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 105

Noggin the Nog

Was that a conversation stopper, or did you all just miss it?

Noggin


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 106

Giford

Hi Nog,

I don't know very much about Greek pottery, as I believe I have said before, but what I do know and what I can find out do little to support Vel's claims here.

>Gif, can you give a concrete example of geometric pottery in a clearly post-Mykenean context? It would seem to be crucial to your argument.

Uh, yes... virtually every piece of geometric pottery ever found...? The two aren't even close, they're separated by the entire protogeometric period. If you want specific examples, see the two links below. Aiani is an example of a site occupied throughout the Mycenaean to the Hellenistic period, so I would guess you would find the correct pottery in the correct layers there, but I have been unable to verify this online. http://www.macedonian-heritage.gr/Museums/Archaeological_and_Byzantine/Arx_Aiani.html

I thought you/Vel were arguing that the geometric followed directly on from the Mycenaean, and that the protogeometric didn't exist? Are you now saying that the geometric was *contemporary* with - or even predated - the Mycenaean?

For the rest:
>the Phrygians themselves also seem to have disappeared for the same period. They are believed to have been living around Troy and the Bosporus around the time of the Trojan war (13th century), but subsequently no trace of them is seen until the founding of Gordion (late 9th century).

I'm not quite sure where you got any of that from. Wikipedia gives the Phrygians developing from the Bryges at an unknown date, often assumed to be 1180 BC. They didn't become a distinct and powerful empire until the 8th Century BC. But there's nothing mysterious here; there's plenty of evidence from Gordium of the Bryges developing slowly into the Phrygians over the centuries.

As for the Achaeans, the name simply means 'people from Achaea'. The region was captured and recaptured over the centuries, and the name was applied to several different cultures - rather as 'Roman' might be applied to modern residents of Rome who have little cultural connection to ancient Romans. In fact, the analogy is exact - modern-day residents of the region are also called Achaeans.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaeans_%28Homer%29#Homeric_versus_later_use

If your argument is based purely on the continuity of name between two otherwise unrelated cultures, it's pretty flimsy evidence on which to rewrite the whole of Middle-Eastern archaeology (and, as we now know from carbon dates, would have been an incorrect deduction).

>there was no sign of any hiatus in the deposit which would have been expected if the site had been abandoned, or of any pottery datable to between 1050 and 650.

I've never heard of Henry Mace, nor does Google seem to know him (unless he's now retired from archaeology to play Premiership rugby smiley - winkeye), so I can't speak for what his personal finds or conclusions were. Wikipedia notes that pottery styles continued to change rapidly after this date, which does not sound to me like an indication of a complete lack of any pottery for 400 years. And the thickness of a layer does not usually relate closely to the length of time afaik - dating would be much simpler if it did!

It's not particularly difficult to find articles on how the Late Helladic IIIC pottery shows a transition from Mycenaean to Protogeometric styles - e.g. http://www.scribd.com/doc/27372011/Bouzek-LH-III-C-Ocinography-an-Interim-Period-of-Artistic-Development-in-Greece or http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-149317757.html

Gif smiley - geek


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 107

Noggin the Nog

Hi Gif.

<>
You might think so from the confidently asserted generalisations of Wikipedia and others (for example, your link to Aini), but like you I'm having difficulty verifying this contention on line (Although you say "It's not particularly difficult to find articles on how the Late Helladic IIIC pottery shows a transition from Mycenaean to Protogeometric styles" neither of the two articles you link to at the end even mentions proto geometric or geometric pottery, as far as I can see).
<>
I've been saying all along that the geometric and mycenean are contemporary (the rarer protogeometric would be older again). We can probably agree that where Mycenean and geometric pottery styles occur at the same locale, the Mycenean levels should be clearly below the geometric levels, and whether this is so or not would provide us with good archaeological reasons to accept or reject the standard view. Agreeing on the validity and interpretation of evidence may be more difficult.

To quote Alan Gardner “fragments of Geometric vases, indistinguishable from the Dipylon (Athens) type, have been found on various sites in Greece together with later examples of Mycenaean pottery.” So the geometric would appear to be contemporary with the Mycenean in the archaeology, and the proto-geometric ware found at Kerameikos cemetary (Athens) occurred in cist graves typical of the Middle Helladic. http://www.varchive.org/nldag/spanned.htm is worth a read (it's not too long). Here, Jan Sammer notes that at Athens, usually cited as the textbook example for the continuity of the standard chronology, there is in fact no sequence of Middle Helladic, Mycenean (late Helladic), sub-Mycenean (Late Helladic IIIC), Proto-Geometric, Geometric to be found.
The excavator of the trench at Mycenae was AJB Wace (not sure where I got the Henry from, or where you got the Mace from – must be our age or something). Although it's true that thickness of layers is not an accurate guide to duration, the mismatch of 10 layers lasting max 200 years in total, and 1 layer lasting 400 years, in exactly the same location, still seems improbable.

The Phrygians
<< But there's nothing mysterious here; there's plenty of evidence from Gordium of the Bryges developing slowly into the Phrygians over the centuries.>> Actually, there isn't. Between c1180, which would approximate to the abandonment of Troy VII, after which the city was unoccupied for 500 years, and the founding of Gordium in c800BC, we know nothing of their whereabouts, and the lapse of 450 or so years between the Mycenean lion gate and the Phrygian lion gates remains mysterious. Conversely, if we date backwards from the orientalising ware (c600BC) in Wace's trench at Mykenae, 10 layers at 20 years each brings us back to 800BC. Bit like one of those magic number tricks. Moreover, if Gordium had already been founded at the time of the siege of Troy, the Phrygians as allies of Troy (Homer), would make perfect sense.
Ahhiyawa
<>
If you'd read the article you'd have found that there is much more, including the fact that the two cultures are in fact, quite similar, and that according to the Greeks, the people inhabiting Cilicia at the end of the 7th century were colonists from the Aegean. The problem is not linking the two, it's accounting for the approx 500 year gap between them


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 108

Giford

Hi Nog,

I will get back to you on this, been a bit tied up lately and since (as I think I've said before) I don't know a great deal about the Greek dark ages, it's taking me longer to research my posts.

Gif smiley - geek


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 109

Noggin the Nog

Hi Gif

Actually, no one knows much about the Greek Dark Ages. That 's why they're dark smiley - winkeye

Just to note that the Dark ages aren't only Greek. They also cover Crete, Anatolia, and the Greek colonies in Sicily and Italy - everywhere that derives their dates from Egyptian chronology, but not Assyria or Palestine that derive their dates internally.

If our discussion relates to whether Vel had good reason to propose his scheme, rather than whether he was broadly right, we will be asking whether the dates before the dark age can be justified on internal evidence from Greece, Crete and Anatolia, or, more strongly, can they be derived from the said internal evidence?

Noggin


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 110

Giford

Hi Nog,

>neither of the two articles you link to at the end even mentions proto geometric or geometric pottery, as far as I can see

OK, what about Asine: http://www.gtp.gr/LocInfo.asp?IncludeWide=1&InfoId=49&Code=EGRPAR20ASNTOL00020&PrimeCode=EGRPAR20ASNTOL00020&Level=10&PrimeLevel=10&LocId=60056

Or Xeropolis: http://lefkandi.classics.ox.ac.uk/settlement.html ?

The point I would like to make here is that it's a commonplace in Greek archaeology that when protogeometric remains are found, they are in higher strata than Late Helladic; and when Late Helladic are found, they are in higher strata than Middle or Early Helladic. It is not necessary for all three types to be found in a single location to deduce the order they come in.

But instead, Vel seems to focus in on a few exceptions to the rule, where it's unclear what order the pottery finds come in (this is not imposible; for instance, a midden may be dug through an earlier period and filled with detritus from a later period).

If this is the methodology that Vel is using, then it is (a) invalid, (b) likely to be rejected by the academic community, who know better, but (c) very difficult to refute, especially if relying on populist sources that rarely report the minutiae of archaeology.

>If our discussion relates to whether Vel had good reason to propose his scheme, rather than whether he was broadly right, we will be asking whether the dates before the dark age can be justified on internal evidence from Greece, Crete and Anatolia, or, more strongly, can they be derived from the said internal evidence?

And to be fair to Vel, we need to discount any but the very earliest radiometric dating - which means we will struggle to find anything admissible that is accurate enough at that time-scale to be helpful at this distance in time.

There is a third option we can use as well, which is to compare Greek pottery to Egyptian locations. So, for instance, pottery found at Amarna is Late Helladic; the Amarna period must be contemporary with the Late Helladic.
http://www.jstor.org/pss/30104412

So the Greek Dark Ages are tied inescapably to the Amarna period in Egypt - which, if I recall correctly, Vel is trying to bring forward to about 850BC. (Because he's paired up Dyn 19 and 20 with other, later Dyns - the online timeline I was using for the RC seems to have disappeared fromt the internet, so apologies if I've got that wrong.) So unless he can perform a similar trick for Greek history...

Gif smiley - geek


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 111

Noggin the Nog

Hi Gif

Just a quick one to bump this back up.

<>

This has never been in dispute. It's the absolute dating that is in question, not the cross-dating.

<>

Again, the order of the Helladic pottery is not in dispute. It's the stratification of the protogeometric and geometric pottery relative to the Helladic that is in question. You say Vel is "relying on populist sources that rarely report the minutiae of archaeology", but if you look at http://www.varchive.org/schorr/index.htm or http://www.varchive.org/nldag/index.htm , you will see that it's examining the minutiae that gives rise to the dispute, whereas in the links you've given, the minutiae are ignored.

To go back to the original point about the relative chronologies of Greece and Egypt, if Greece (and Anatolia) don't show a dark age in the archaeology, and should have their timelines reduced downwards, then the Egyptian chronology would have to be reduced, too.

Noggin


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 112

tarantoes

I remember reading Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision where he suggests planetary billiard balls to explain biblical events, starting with Venus being ejected from Jupitor ... smiley - shrug

Checking wikipedia it says, Revised Chronology: These ideas have been rejected by mainstream historians ...


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 113

Giford

Hi Tarantoes,

Yes, that's right. Nogg and I are discussing quite a limited point at present - whether Velikovsky was justified in proposing, on the evidence available at the time, his chronological revision.

So neither of us is saying that his revision was correct, and we are both saying it is separate from his... unusual cosmological theories.

Gif smiley - geek


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 114

Noggin the Nog

Gosh, I hadn't realised it had been quite this long since I was last here, so I hope you're still subscribed.

Since, as you say, we "are discussing quite a limited point at present - whether Velikovsky was justified in proposing, on the evidence available at the time, his chronological revision", perhaps we should follow, roughly, his line of reasoning, without arguing so much about all the details (just the most imortant ones)?

Velikovsky's initial premises would be, I think, the following

1) The Bible (at least for the period roughly between 1500 and 500 BC) is a reliable (though not necessarily absolutely accurate) history of the Jewish people and their relations with their neighbours.

2) There is a mismatch between this history and the conventional history of Egypt, especially in the first half of this period.

and that, given (1), the fault must be in the conventional history of Egypt, and that some new point of synchronism needs to be estsblished between them. This conclusion seems logical enough, so we have first to look at the premises.

We've already looked at the second period of (1), and agreed that there is a good correspondence between the bible and the Assyrian annals back to Ahab of the House of Omri, with a question mark over the precise chronology for Hezekiah (but this isn't really structural, so we can leave it to one side). The Mesha Stele also gives good reason for thinking that Ahab was the son of Omri, which takes us back one generation more. On the Egyptian side, the big question mark is the identity of Zerah the Ethiopian, and the silence of the Libyan kings on their relations with Shalmaneser III's (859-824 BC) Assyrian empire. Both of these can be left aside for the moment. Shishak/Sheshonk, c.925 BC gives us a terminus for this early period (again, leaving aside the arguments about this king). Back this far, the bible appears, at least broadly, to be history.

It's before this that the problem starts (premise 2). Apart from the reference to an unnamed pharaoh who burned Gezer and gave it as a dowry to Solomon (which makes no sense in the conventional chronology, as this would have been in the obscure XXI dynasty period), and to "an Egyptian, the servant of an Amalakite" in the time of David, there is no reference to the Egyptians until the Exodus itself, and the only thing that could help us with dating is the name of the city pi-Ramesses, built by Ramesses II. This is odd, because the Egyptian kings of the XVIII to XX dynasties were very active in Palestine and Syria, and for most of this period ruled the area either directly or indirectly, and the Jews must have had frequent contact with them. Nor does this period of powerful pharaohs offer us much in the way of a "window of opportunity" for an Exodus event, or a conquest of Canaan.

There is a reverse problem, too. Where in the Egyptian history is their any reference to these events? Two possibilities have been suggested. The first is that the Hebrews may have been the Apiru, who appear as "bandits" in the El-Amarna letters. Once popular, this theory has largely been abandoned, as the political situation doesn't seem to match the situation in the bible, there are questions as to whether the names Apiru and Hebrew can be derived one from the other, and most obviously, if Ramesses is the pharaoh of the Exodus, then the Hebrews can't have invaded Canaan a hundred years earlier. Moreover, a conquest at this time would place the exodus at the very zenith of Egyptian might, which seems absurd. The second reference is the Merneptah Stele - "Israel is wasted and his seed is not." Because Merneptah follows Ramesses this is often taken to be a reference to the Conquest, but this is a chronological deduction that doesn't follow from the text itself.

So far, we can agree that this line of reasoning is reasonable, whether ultimately correct or not. The question would be whether this period of Jewish history is mostly invented, or whether a synchronising point can be found that would recalibrate the two histories in some way.

Noggin




How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 115

Giford

Yes, I am still subscribed...

...but I have totally lot the thread of what we were disussing! I'm a bit busy with work & home life at the mo, so can't guarantee a speedy response, but will get back asap.

Gif smiley - geek


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 116

Noggin the Nog

smiley - ok

I decided to go back to the beginning rather than continuing where we left off, because I'd lost the thread a bit, too. I don't *think* there's anything very controversial in that post, just trying to establish some background.

Noggin


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 117

tarantoes

Thanks for the summary smiley - ok I thought that Velikovsky was bats with
regard to colliding planets in "recent" history - but this is
something different.

I read somewhere that the Pharoah Akhenaten was an interesting
character that for some reason tried to establish (unsuccessfully) a
monotheistic viewpoint - and somehow he and nomadic Jews may have
some connection: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akhenaten


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 118

Noggin the Nog

By "something different" did you mean even more bats? And if so,what part of the Wiki article are you specifically referring to?

Noggin


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 119

tarantoes

No I meant something that on face value seems reasonable and worth discussing.


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 120

Noggin the Nog

Oh,smiley - ok

I think Akhnaton is certainly an interesting figure, but for the moment I want to keep this thread focused on the chronology in an orderly manner,and not go off on a tangent. Perhaps such a discussion could be taken elsewhere?

Noggin


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