If a team of Egyptian researchers are correct, construction on the Great Pyramid at Giza began on August 23, 2470 BC. So where did that date come from, and does it mesh with the biblical timeline of history?
The ancient Egyptians would have started construction at the time of the Nile River’s “inundation”—when it flooded.
According to the researchers, the ancient Egyptians would have started construction at the time of the Nile River’s “inundation”—when it flooded, refreshing the soil and thereby an auspicious event. That event is preceded each year with the seasonal appearance of the star Sirius (called Sothis in ancient times). The researchers calculated the first appearance of Sothis in the year 2470 BC to be on around July 18; the Nile River inundation would have begun 35 days later, or August 23.
But how did the researchers arrive at the year 2470 BC in the first place? According to team leader Abdel-Halim Nur El-Din, pharaohs began building their tombs at the start of their reign. The Great Pyramid was to be a tomb for Khufu, who took power in 2470 BC.
Based on Ussher’s research, the Flood year would have been 2348 B.C.; other creationists give slightly different dates (such as 2304 BC). So unless one accepts the unbiblical idea of a local flood (and an extremely local flood at that—one that could not have affected Egypt), those dates clearly conflict with the researchers’ estimation for the start of construction on the Great Pyramid. Time must also be factored in for the history that separates the Flood year from Egyptian civilization—viz., the human population growth and centralization at Shinar, and the consequential dispersion from the Tower of Babel. (Thus, even if the date for the start of the Great Pyramid was 2347 B.C., that would be insufficient time after the Flood.)
But another Egyptian researcher reminds us of the problems in dating the reigns of the pharaohs. Mahmoud Afifi, general director of Giza antiquities, notes that the time-keeping of ancient Egypt reset to zero with each new pharaoh, a concept that makes it hard to match up with modern calendars. Not only that, but the timelines kept for pharaohs were susceptible to politically motivated alteration—and thus they are unreliable.
Bible-believing archaeologists have proposed an alternate system for understanding the chronology of ancient Egypt that, we contend, better explains the evidence while also matching up with the biblical timeline. For a brief overview, read Dating the Pyramids, then continue with the links below.
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