Radiocarbon technicians prefer to test wood and wood charcoal because their high molecular weight mitigates material loss during the rigorous pretreatments required for radiocarbon testing. We focused our collection efforts on tiny pieces of these materials, along with reed and straw left by the ancient builders. In we conducted radiocarbon dating on material from Egyptian Old Kingdom monuments financed by friends and supporters of the Edgar Cayce Foundation. We then compared our results with the mid-point dates of the kings to whom the monuments belonged Cambridge Ancient History, 3rd ed.
In spite of this discrepancy, the radiocarbon dates confirmed that the Great Pyramid belonged to the historical era studied by Egyptologists. We also took samples from our Giza Plateau Mapping Project Lost City excavations 4th Dynasty , where we discovered two largely intact bakeries in Ancient baking left deposits of ash and charcoal, which are very useful for dating. The set of radiocarbon dates tended to be to years older than the Cambridge Ancient History dates, which was about years younger than our dates.
The number of dates from the two projects was only large enough to allow for statistical comparisons for the pyramids of Djoser, Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure. First, there are significant discrepancies between the and dates for Khufu and Khafre, but not for Djoser and Menkaure. Second, the dates vary widely even for a single monument. We have fair agreement for the 1st Dynasty tombs at North Saqqara between our historical dates, previous radiocarbon dates, and our radiocarbon dates on reed material. We also have fair agreement between our radiocarbon dates and historical dates for the Middle Kingdom.
Eight calibrated dates on straw from the pyramid of Senwosret II BC ranged from years older to 78 years younger than the historical dates for his reign.
Carbon Dating the Great Pyramid - Do you think radiation from the stones is messing with it?
Four of the Senwosret II dates were only off by 30, 24, 14, and three years. It is likely that, by the pyramid age, the Egyptians had been intensively exploiting wood for fuel for a long time. Because of the scarcity and expense of wood, the Egyptians would reuse pieces of wood as much as possible.
Some of this recycled wood was burned, for example, in mortar preparation. If a piece of wood was already centuries old when it was burned, radiocarbon dates of the resulting charcoal would be centuries older than the mortar for which it was burned.
We thought that it was unlikely that the pyramid builders consistently used centuries-old wood as fuel in preparing mortar. It is generally believed that iron was unknown in the Pyramid Age and that the only possible source of iron was from iron-meteorites, which are composed of about 95 iron and 5 nickel . In , however, two metallurgists, Dr. Jones of Imperial College London, asked the British Museum for a small sample of the iron plate so that they could conduct a full scientific examination. After El Gayar and Jones conducted a series of chemical and microscopic tests on the iron plate, these scientists concluded that: The actual size of the plate was estimated to have been 26 x 26 cm.
El Gayar and Jones also pointed out that the plate's dimension of 26 x 26 cm. As we have said, the plate could not be Carbon 14 dated since it contained no organic material. In spite of the findings of Gayer and Jones, the British Museum still assumes that the iron plate was probably a piece broken off a spade or shovel used by Arabs in medieval times.
It was around this time that Dixon discovered the openings of the two shafts on the south and north walls of the Queen's Chamber. In the horizontal section of the shafts that leads into the chamber, Dixon found three small relics: The relics were packed in a wooden cigar box and taken to England by John Dixon, Waynman's older brother, also an engineer.
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They were mailed to Piazzi Smyth who recorded them in his diary , then returned to John Dixon who eventually arranged for the publications of articles and drawings of the relics for the science journal Nature and the popular London paper The Graphic . The 'Dixon Relics' then mysteriously disappeared. Astonishingly, although the discovery of the shafts of the Queen's Chamber by Waynman Dixon was reported by Flinders-Petrie in and by Dr. Edwards in and through the years by numerous other pyramid specialists, the 'Dixon' relics were never mentioned and their existence apparently forgotten .
The only person, as far as I can make out, who mentioned these relics after they were published in December in Nature and The Graphic was the astronomer Piazzi Smyth see below. Here is, in fact, what actually happened to the relics after December Elizabeth Porteous living in Hounslow near London, was reminded apparently by the excitement generated by the Tutankhamun Exhibition at the time that her great grandfather, John Dixon, had left in the family a cigar box with relics inside them found in the Great Pyramid which she had inherited in , after the death of her father.
Porteous then took the relics, still in the original cigar box, to the British Museum. They were registered by Mr. Ian Shore, then the assistant of Dr.
Edwards, the curator of the Egyptian Antiquities Department. However, probably because of the distraction caused by the Tutankhamun Exhibition, the Dixon Relics were stored and forgotten. In September , having come across a comment by Piazzi Smyth in one of his books  , I decided to find out where the Dixon Relics were.
Edwards then retired at Oxford and also Dr. Carol Andrews and Dr. Spencer at the British Museum, but neither seemed to have heard of these relics. Eventually, with the help of Dr.
Mary Bruck, the biographer of Piazzi Smyth  , I traced Piazzi Smyth's personal diary at the Edinburgh Observatory and found his entry on the relics dated 26 November , as well as private letters he had received from John Dixon at the time. Through these documents I then traced the articles published in Nature and The Graphic. While still searching for the relics, it was recalled that it was John Dixon who, in , had arranged for the transport of the Thotmoses III obelisk Cleopatra's Needle to London's Victoria Embankment and, more importantly, that underneath its pedestal Dixon had ceremoniously embedded various relics including a cigar box!
Naturally many of us began to suspect that this item might have been the very same cigar box which contained the ancient relics found in the shafts of the Queen's Chamber of the Great Pyramid.
Fortunately this was not to be the case. I decided at that stage of the search to publish a full page article in the British newspaper, The Independent  , in the hope that someone might remember the whereabouts of the Dixon Relics. Ian Shore, who had registered the relics back in at the British Museum, read the article and remembered them being donated by Mrs. He promptly informed Dr.
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Edwards who in turn contacted Dr. A search was called and the relics were 're-discovered' at the British Museum in the second week of December . Unfortunately the small piece of 'cedar-like' wood was missing, and thus no Carbon 14 dating was possible. The relics are now displayed at the British Museum's Egyptian section. We will all recall that in March the German Engineer, Rudolf Gantenbrink, explored the shafts of the Queen's Chamber in the Great Pyramid using a miniature robot fitted with a video camera. He was astonished to find that the northern shaft had been probed probably by the Dixons with a metal rod assembled in sections by metal sleeves , the remains of which could be still seen in the shaft.
The metal rod had been pushed some 24 meters deep into the shaft until it reached a place where the shaft turned sharply towards the west, forming almost a right-angled corner. Also at this 'corner' could be seen what appeared to be a long piece of wood whose shape and general appearance seemed to be the same as that of the shorter piece found by the Dixons in at the bottom of this shaft.
It seems almost certain that this longer piece of wood if wood it is is contemporaneous with the construction of the Great Pyramid. For carbon dating within years is a direct hit in tearms of age. But really why all the fuss? Its not like the Egyptians did not leave lots of writings around to show when and how they built it.
NOVA Online/Pyramids/How Old Are the Pyramids?
I never have understood why people have such a hard time excepting the Egyptians built the stuff. Now explane the ancient-code. Capable humans never see a problem but a challenge, I can fathom that the Egyptians were very capable people. We'll work it out some day.
If only we had a time machine.. The accepted explanation for the dating variance is the use of "old wood. There's a lot you can get out of a piece of wood before you burn it to make lime or whatever. These stones are the same ones that are described as almost miraculously well-fitted by the fringe, and had been a large part of their argument that Egyptians couldn't have built the GP. Probably someone out there now claiming the aliens made the Egyptians do the hard work and levitated the stones into place at Giza. Harte The accepted explanation for the dating variance is the use of "old wood.
Harte I've read that.
But it's pretty thin. That's an awful lot of year old wood. If all of the samples had been taken from one part of the pyramid, or even near each other, then I'd buy it. Then maybe his samples would all trace back to just one bonfire. But if they're spread out, then that means all or most of the mortar has to be from the same year. Maybe it could have been retasked from a single big construction project that happened around the same year, years prior?