Dating the pyramids

A tomb just on the outskirts of the Giza site dates from the reign of the First dynasty Pharaoh Wadj (Djet), and jar sealings discovered in a tomb in the southern part of Giza mention the Third dynasty Pharaoh Ninetjer.

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While most sites are adorned with inundations of praise to the builder of the structures, unfortunately, the Giza complex is devoid of such engravings or inscriptions (exceptions discussed earlier).

In itself, the absence of information is significant.

It is said that Manetho's main goal was to prove to the Greeks that the Egyptians were the world's oldest people, but that he faced competition; Berosus was trying to do the same thing with his homeland, Mesopotamia, while the chief librarian of the Alexandria library, Erastosthenes, also claimed great antiquity for the Greeks.

It was Manetho who compiled Egyptian history into the thirty dynasties we are familiar with today.

We have seen that the cartouches found in the 'Relieving chambers' are the best evidence yet for dating the site as the inscriptions run under and behind other blocks and therefore appear genuine.

It is clear that any results from that line of research are in themselves complicated by the interpretation of the cartouches exact meaning. We know that the use of Giza was not restricted to the 4th dynasty pharaohs because of earlier finds in the area.

The first problem with Manetho's dynasties was that the Egyptians left few clues as to which dynasty followed which; they weren't interested in recording which dynasties ended in a revolution and which simply died out.

More serious is that the original text of Manetho is no longer available; what we have are garbled editions quoted by two late Roman writers (Eusebius and Africanus), plus an excerpt from Josephus.

While the Kings-lists are only able to offer us the sequence of Pharaohs, there have been two radiocarbon studies on the Giza complex which allowing us to put dates to the names on the list. In the 1980s several ancient Egyptian monuments, including the Great Pyramid, were radiocarbon dated.

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