David Rohl - missing years

From: Peter Matthews
Date: 23 Jun 1998
Time: 10:23:43
Remote Name:


I have been trying to produce a time line of Egypt based on David Rohl’s book "A Test of Time" and have come up with the following problem, which I offer for discussion, along with some tentative thoughts on a solution.

The Problem.

Working backwards in time from Ramesses II David proposes that Year 8 of Ramesses, when he led an expedition into Israel can be synchronised with Year 6 of Rehoboam when Jerusalem was plundered. Thiele dates year 6 of Rehoboam to 925 BC.

Ramesses thus acceded in 932 BC Seti I highest Regnal Year is year 11 however both the Original Chronology and David use 15 years as the length of his reign, thus Seti I acceded in 947 BC Ramesses I only reigned 1 year so he acceded in 948 BC

Now working forward from the Annular eclipse recorded on at Ugarit which David has retro calculated to the 9th May 1012 BC (I have checked this using Redshift II and it seems to fit):- This occured within months of Amenhotep III’s death and David has produced the table on Page 241 showing the dates for the reigns of Amenhotep III through to Ay. The reign of Ay ended c. 990 BC. Ay was succeeded by Haremheb who reigned 29 years bringing us to 961 BC.

Thus we have a gap between the death of Haremheb and the accession of Ramesses I of 13 years!

Thoughts on a possible solution

If the date of the annular eclipse seen at Ugarit in May 1012 is accepted as an absolute fixed point by retro calculation similar credence must be given to Papyrus Leiden I 350 (Page 131 of "Test of Time"). This records a series of month lengths according to the lunar cycle and is dated to year 52 of Ramesses II. The sequence of short & long lunar months repeats in a cycle of 25 years, this has led to a an accession date of 1279 BC for Ramesses II (OC). David Rohl gives an accession date of 932 (NC) for the accession of Ramesses II based on a synchronism with year 8 of Ramesses and year 6 of Rehoboam when Jerusalem was plundered. 932 does not fit with any dates compatible with Papyrus Leiden ( 930 &955 are the nearest) If we use 955 as a working assumption for the accession of Ramesses, to fit with Papyrus Leiden, we get the following dates:-

Ay 995 - 994 The length of Ay’s reign is uncertain Haremheb 994 - 966 Rameses I 966 - 965 Seti I 965 - 955 Using the highest Regnal year (11) Rameses II 955 - 898

The Accession of Ay in 995 fits exactly with the table proposed on page 241 by David Rohl based on the Ugarit eclipse.

The date of 955 BC also fits with the Genealogy list of the Royal Architects from which David deduced that year 9 of Ramesses II occured in 936BC +/- 20 years. Year 9 according to this proposal is 947 BC, within 11 years of 936BC.

The problem of course with this is the synchronism of year 8 of RamessesII and year 6 of Rehoboam. This gives year 6 of Rehoboam as 948BC instead of 925BC (from Thiele), but it does remove the 13 year gap…………

Any thoughts anybody?

Also does anyone know if David completed his Phd thesis and if it is possible to get a copy.