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Rameses III and Tel Lachish—A Test Case For the Egyptian Chronology of David Down

Rameses III and Tel Lachish—A Test Case For the Egyptian Chronology of David Down

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Abstract

During his long lifetime, young-earth advocate David Down (1918–2018) championed a revised Egyptian chronology that claimed to correlate the pharaohs of Egypt with the historical text of the Bible. This revision was sourced in part from the vilified reconstruction of ancient history published several decades ago by the Russian-born catastrophist, Immanuel Velikovsky (best-selling author of Worlds in Collision 1950). Down’s chronology repeated Velikovsky’s hypothesis that Rameses III of Dynasty 20 ruled Egypt during the late Persian period—some eight centuries after the conventional date for his reign. His claim is scientifically testable using the archaeological principles of stratigraphy, in particular the law of superposition. For example, if Down’s hypothesis is valid, stratified artifacts inscribed with the name of Rameses III will not be found in deposits sealed prior to the late Persian period.

This paper examines the ancient remains at Tel Lachish—a mound ruin in modern Israel—to show that archaeological stratigraphy conflicts with Velikovsky’s unconventional theory concerning Rameses III. That conclusion, in turn, creates difficulty for the framework of Down’s revised Egyptian chronology, including his central claim (originally proposed by Velikovsky) that Thutmose III of Dynasty 18 was King Shishak, who plundered Solomon’s temple.

Introduction

The last powerful king to control the fading Egyptian Empire was Usermaatre-Meryamun Rameses-Heqaiunu (Beckerath 1999, 164–167; Leprohon 2013, 127–130)—better known as Rameses III—the second Pharaoh of Egypt’s Dynasty 20 (for a chronological list of New Kingdom pharaohs, see Appendix D). During his reign, armies defending the Nile valley were bloodied in brutal wars, incised in magnificent reliefs on the walls of his great mortuary temple at Medinet Habu near Luxor (Breasted 1930, 1932; O’Connor 2000, 2012). These inscriptions describe a massive invasion by a coalition of so-called Sea Peoples (Cline and O’Connor 2012; O’Connor 2000; Redford 2000; Weinstein 2012), whom Rameses III repulsed in a series of fierce battles in Year 8 of his reign (Bryce 1998, 370–371; Grandet 2014, 4–6; Van Dijk 2003, 297–298). Mainstream archaeologists date this conflict to the end of the Late Bronze Age (after c. 1200 BC), linking these invaders to marauding and migrating people groups from the Aegean islands, coastal Anatolia, Cyprus, and Crete (Barako 2003; Bryce 1998, 371–374; Cline and O’Connor 2012; Haider 2012; Mazar 1992a, 302–306; 1992b; Stern 2014; Yasur-Landau 2012).

In contrast, Australian field archaeologist David Down, former publisher of Archaeological Diggings (1994–2013), has disagreed with the conventional date for Rameses III’s reign and the academic consensus regarding the identity of the Sea Peoples. In his book Unwrapping the Pharaohs (co-authored with John Ashton 2006), Down claimed that scholarly literature had misdated Rameses III by as much as eight hundred years (see fig. 1). According to this view, the Medinet Habu inscriptions record a battle between the Egyptian army of Rameses III and an invading host of Persians and Greeks. This battle took place in 374/3 BC, when an obscure king named Kheperkare Nakhtnebef (Beckerath 1999, 226–227; Leprohon 2013, 171–172) ruled Egypt (Clayton 1994, 201, 203; Cook 1983, 325–326; Diodorus 1952, 63–69; Gardiner 1961, 365–366; Grimal 1992, 375–376; Lloyd 1994, 343; Perdu 2010, 155; Ussher 2003, 199). Down became convinced that Rameses III is the same person as the embattled Nakhtnebef (see fig. 2), whom the Greeks called Nectanebo I1 (Ashton and Down 2006, 180–181, 193, 210; Diodorus 1952, 63). This radical theory was proposed first in 1977 in a book titled Peoples of the Sea, published by Jewish psychiatrist and independent scholar Immanuel Velikovsky (1895–1979)—the principal source for Down’s unconventional hypothesis.

Figure 1

Fig. 1. David Down’s revised Egyptian chronology [right column] (Ashton and Down 2006; Down 2010; 2011) compared with conventional Egyptian chronology [left column] (e.g., Shaw 2003).

Figure 2

Fig. #. “Genealogies of Rameses III and Nakhtnebef” with postulated equivalent identifications according to David Down (See Ashton and Down 2006, 180–181, 193, 210). Note that Rameses V, VII, and VIII have no identifiable equivalents.

Down confidently wrote this

Velikovsky, with good reason, identifies Rameses III with Nectenebo I of Dynasty 30 . . . long ago archaeologists assigned Rameses III to XI to Dynasty 20, but there was no valid reason for doing this and these pharaohs fit better into the Persian period (Ashton and Down 2006, 180–181).

In another publication he stated, “Rameses III was supposed to have ruled in the 12th century B.C., but . . . should be dated to the Persian period” (Down 2011, 89).

These claims (per Velikovsky) have significant implications—not merely for the historical setting of Rameses III’s reign, but also for the entire sequence of archaeological stratigraphy in the Near East—and can be tested using that same stratigraphic sequence.

Rameses III was a celebrated ruler, esteemed beyond the borders of his Nile kingdom. His cartouche (royal name ring) was displayed in foreign cities on door lintels, gateways, storage jars, amulets, and administrative seals. Over time, these inscriptions were lost beneath the accumulated rubble of sequential cities, one built on top of the other. These later cities were naturally younger (closer to the present) than the inscribed artifacts sealed beneath their foundations. In other words, a cartouche of Rameses III is older than any undisturbed (i.e., uncovered as originally deposited) sequence of debris sitting on top of it—for example, burn layers, wall foundations, or floor surfaces. This archaeological principle is called the law of superposition (Harris, 1989, 11–13, 30–31; Harris, Brown, and Brown 1993, 125, 154; Renfrew and Bahn 2000, 106; 2005, 181–182).

Consequently, if Down’s chronology is correct, sealed strata overlying objects with Rameses III’s name must date no earlier than the late Persian period, when Nakhtnebef lived. The terminus post quem (date after which) for these layers would be c. 380 BC. If these layers were deposited before the reign of Nakhtnebef, however, entombing artifacts of Rameses III beneath them, then Down’s particular revision of pharaonic history is flawed and systematically indefensible on the basis of archaeological stratigraphy (Renfrew and Bahn 2000, 118–119).

This paper will explore these implications using the well-documented sequence of stratigraphy uncovered at Tel Lachish—the cornerstone site for the archaeology of the Iron Age kingdom of Judah (Ussishkin 2004a, 92; 2014a, 389–390).

Tel Lachish

Tel Lachish (Tell ed-Duweir in Arabic) is an impressive mound-ruin approximately twentyfive miles southwest of Jerusalem, in the modern Southern District of Israel (see fig. 3). In 1929, the abandoned site was identified by renowned American archaeologist William Foxwell Albright as the location of biblical Lachish—the powerful fortress-city that once dominated the strategic lowland between the coastal plain and the Judean highlands (Ussishkin 2004a, 50–51; 2014a, 26). The summit of the mound, bounded by steep slopes, covers an area of eighteen acres (Ussishkin 1979, 16; 2014a, 22; 2014b, 76). It is one of the most significant archaeological remains from the biblical period (Ussishkin 2014a, 19).

Figure 3

Fig. 3. Location of Tel Lachish in modern Israel.

Excavations at Tel Lachish were inaugurated in 1932 under the direction of James Leslie Starkey (Ussishkin 1993, 897–898; 2014a, 9, 29–56; 2014b, 76), a former assistant of the legendary Egyptologist Flinders Petrie (1853–1942). Final reports from this expedition were published by Olga Tufnell in 1953 and 1958 (Ussishkin 2014a, 58). A smallscale investigation by Yohanan Aharoni in the late 1960s (Ussishkin 1993, 898; 2014a, 9, 60–64; 2014b, 76) was followed by a renewal of systematic excavations for the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University. David Ussishkin (1993, 898; 2004c, 17–21) directed these excavations from 1973 to 1987; he oversaw further fieldwork and reconstructions until 1994 (Ussishkin 2014a, 9). A fourth exploration of the site was launched in 2013 to clarify dates for the Iron IIA levels (Garfinkel, Hasel, and Klingbeil 2013). Seasonal excavations since 2017 have been coordinated under the auspices of the Hebrew University and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Excavations 2020).

Nakhtnebef and the Persian Period—Lachish Level I (c. 450–150 BC)

When Kheperkare Nakhtnebef (Nectanebo I/Rameses III according to David Down) usurped the throne of Egypt in 379/8 BC (Grimal 1992, 375; Lloyd 2003, 377), more than six decades had elapsed since Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem (Douglas, Tenney, and Silva 2011, 1007–1010; Nehemiah 2:1–10; 6:15), and less than 50 years remained before young Alexander the Great would outfight the last Achaemenid king on the wide plain near Gaugamela (Bosworth 1994, 812–814; Hornblower 2002, 308–312; Ussher 2003, 234–236). This was during the Persian period in the Near East, a lengthy epoch of time corresponding to the era of Classical Greece (c. 510–323 BC).

During the Medo-Persian Empire (c. 550–330 BC), prior to the reign of Nakhtnebef in Egypt, Tel Lachish was re-occupied by Jews returning from the Babylonian Exile (Nehemiah 11:30). Archaeological remains from this city are preserved today in the top and final layer on the mound, identified by the excavators as Level I (phases A–B) (Ussishkin 1993, 910–911; 2014a, 391–401). Imported Attic fine ware, recovered in large quantities inside the provincial palace of Level I (the Residency), date this occupation phase to c. 450–350 BC (Stern 2001, 449), overlapping the reign of Nakhtnebef in Egypt (379–361 BC). Most of these imports were manufactured in Greece no earlier than c. 400 BC (Fantalkin and Tal 2004, 2187–2191; 2006, 167, 171–173). In contrast, a large Solar Shrine (Stern 2001, 479–480; Ussishkin 2014a, 402–407), constructed on the eastern side of the summit, contained later coins and vessels from the early Hellenistic period (Ussishkin 1993, 911; 2014a, 403), with some Hellenistic sherds recovered from pits beneath the floor (Fantalkin and Tal 2006, 176).2

Earlier layers at Tel Lachish (Levels VIII–II), buried sequentially beneath Level I, predate the reign of Nakhtnebef by centuries (see table 1). For example, the city of Level II was burned by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon more than two hundred years before Nakhtnebef lived (Ussishkin 1993, 909–910; 2014a, 375, 389, 415). Similarly, Sennacherib of Assyria comprehensively destroyed the powerful city of Level III in 701 BC (Ussishkin 1993, 907–909; 2014a, 219–221, 267–277, 389, 414–415). The Bible records the two sieges that resulted in these destructions (2 Chronicles 32:9; Jeremiah 34:7; 2 Kings 18:13–14, 17, 19:8; Isaiah 36:2, 37:8), and the rich archaeology at the site, corroborated by inscriptions of campaign and magnificent battle reliefs (Ussishkin 1977, 28–30; 1980; 2004a, 89–90; 2014a, 327–353), graphically elucidates the historic text (for a description of the Levels III–II destruction layers, see Appendix A).

Table 1. Stratigraphy of Tel Lachish (After Ussishkin 1993; 2004a; 2014a). Arranged from youngest to oldest layers (top to bottom), as found on the mound.

Table 1

As a result, if Rameses III is the same person as Nakhtnebef, as Down claimed, stratified artifacts from his lifetime must be found above the sealed debris of the Babylonian destruction that ended Level II—a disastrous event that the Bible dates to c. 587 BC. In other words, these artifacts could be preserved only in the occupational layer of Level I, which lies directly below the surface of the mound. Is this what was found?

Finding Rameses III

In 1978, a cache of bronze fragments was discovered sealed beneath the foundation of the inner gatehouse of Levels IV–III at Lachish (Locus 4164, Area GE), which was demolished by Sennacherib of Assyria over 300 years before Nakhtnebef was king (Ussishkin 2004a, 70). These fragments were overlaid by the massive Assyrian burn layer in Level III (Ussishkin 2014a, 219), the gatehouse foundation in Level IV, a lime-plastered surface in Level V (Locus 4159) and heavy destruction debris in Level VI (Ussishkin 1983, 120–123; 1985, 218–219; 1987, 34; 1993, 904; 2004b, 626–631, 682; 2014a, 194). The entire cache was entombed more than twelve feet (4 m.) beneath the surface of the Level-III floor (see fig. 4) (Ussishkin 1983, 122, Fig. 12; 2004b, 626, 629, Fig. 12.7, 682). One of these fragments, possibly part of a gate socket (King 2005, 39), was cast with the cartouche of an Egyptian pharaoh. This cartouche contained the praenomen (throne name) of Rameses III (A. Mazar 1992a, 299; Ussishkin 1983, 123–124, 168–169; 1993, 904; 2004b, 626).

Figure 4

Fig. 4. “Phases of Lachish gatehouse (Levels III-I)” Showing the location of the cartouche naming Rameses III (After Ussishkin 2004b; Ganor and Kreimerman 2019).

Describing this significant find, Ussishkin (2014a, 194) wrote the following:

The stratigraphic context of these bronzes is very clear: The foundations of the gatehouse were built over the layer of destruction debris of Level VI; the objects were found sealed beneath the destruction debris of that level. In other words, first the bronze objects were laid there and then they were buried under the debris from the destruction and the fire. This means that the bronzes are older than the destruction by fire of Level VI.

His quote continues,

We can therefore determine that Level VI was not destroyed before Rameses III ascended the throne and certainly sometime thereafter. All the bronze items, including the one bearing the royal cartouche, were broken or used; they would have been collected at the point where they were found in preparation for taking them away to be recast. This finding shows that a good deal of time would have passed between the time the item bearing the cartouche was cast and the time it was buried under the destruction debris of Level VI. (Ussishkin 2014a, 194)

Other finds at Tel Lachish align with Ussishkin’s conclusions. Starkey’s expedition, in the 1930s, recovered two scarabs from the same level (Area 7000 and Tomb 570), both incised with the cartouche of Usermaatre-Setpenamun Rameses IV,3 the son and successor of Rameses III (Lalkin 2004; Ussishkin 2004a, 70; 2007, 603; 2012, 195). Another scarab naming Rameses III was found in the construction fills beneath the monumental Iron Age Palace-Fort (Palace B) (Ussishkin 1985, 218, 220–221; 1993, 901–902; 2004a, 70, 104), which was occupied in Level IV (Ussishkin 2007, 603). The same fill-layer preserved Egyptian hieratic inscriptions on votive bowls that are believed to record regnal years of Rameses III (Goldwasser 1982; Mazar 1992a, 299; 1992b, 262; Ussishkin 1993, 904; 2014a, 188–190).

Level VI—The Timespan Between Rameses III and Nakhtnebef

A precise date for the violent conflagration that destroyed Level VI at Tel Lachish, sealing the cartouche of Rameses III beneath it, is not possible to determine (Ussishkin 2004a, 70–71). “Lacking inscriptions, we can only raise suppositions as to the identity of the enemy that conquered and destroyed the great and flourishing city” (Ussishkin 2014a, 196). Some scholars suggest an Israelite attack; others believe Lachish was burned by the Sea Peoples, or even the Egyptians (Ussishkin 1985, 223–224; 1993, 904; 2004a, 71–72). In any case, it is possible to estimate a minimum time frame for the destruction of Level VI by working backward through the archaeological sequence from the oldest absolute date at the site, which is 701 BC (Ussishkin 2014a, 389).

Level III: As noted above, King Sennacherib of Assyria (reigned 704–681 BC) comprehensively destroyed the fortified city of Lachish Level III—including the aforementioned inner gatehouse and Palace-Fort—during his third campaign in 701 BC (see Appendix A) (Luckenbill 1927, 118–121, 142–143, 154; Roux 1992, 320); he recorded this bloody triumph on gypsum panels at his self-styled “Palace Without Rival” in Nineveh, more than three centuries before Nakhtnebef lived (Layard 1853, 128; Luckenbill 1924, 94–101; 1927, 160–164; Ussishkin 1980; 2014a, 327–353). The year 701 BC, therefore, serves as a terminus ante quem (date before which) for all strata at Tel Lachish sealed beneath the thick Assyrian burn layer. This obviously includes the much deeper Level VI—the ruined city that entombed the artifacts of Rameses III and Rameses IV (see table 1).

Level IV: The Level IV city at Tel Lachish, which preceded Level III, may have come to an end prior to c. 750 BC, when the Bible describes a massive earthquake striking the region (Amos 1:1; Zechariah 14:5). Although seismic evidence at Lachish is elusive (Fantalkin and Finkelstein 2006, 22), possible earthquake damage at other Iron IIA/B sites in Israel, including Hazor, Arad, Tel Beersheba, Tell Deir Alla, Tell es-Safi, and Gezer (Austin 2010; Barkay 1992, 328; Finkelstein 1996, 183; Fantalkin and Finkelstein 2006, 22–23; Hergoz and Singer-Avitz 2004, 230; Maeir 2012a, 49–50), has led some scholars to identify this sudden upheaval as the terminus ante quem for the monumental buildings of Level IV (Ussishkin 1993, 907; 2014a, 214–215; 2015, 137). If this hypothesis is correct,4 and if a brief period of at least 50 years is assumed for the existence of Level IV at Tel Lachish before it was superseded, almost without interruption, by the construction phase of Level III, this would place its founding in the late ninth century BC.5

Level VI–V: The small, fortified (Garfinkel et al. 2019, 3–8) settlement of Level V, which stood on the mound prior to the construction of the monumental buildings in Level IV, cannot be dated with any precision (Kang 2016). However, pottery evidence seems to indicate that the city’s founding was preceded by a period when the site was completely abandoned. Ussishkin (2014a, 196, 202–203) estimates an occupation gap of two centuries between the construction of Level V and the earlier destruction of Level VI. Even if this gap was much shorter—again, say 50 years—it is reasonable to assume that the demolition of Level VI occurred before c. 875 BC. Of course, as with Level IV, it should be emphasized that this is a very low estimation; in other words, the end of Level VI could be older by decades or even centuries. For example, Ussishkin (1993, 904; 2014a, 194, 212; 2015, 134), following the traditional Egyptian timeline, dates this destruction to the late twelfth century BC (c. 1130 BC)—a conclusion bolstered by radiocarbon analysis (Garfinkel et al. 2019).

Either way, stratigraphy at Tel Lachish demonstrates that the fiery end of Level VI—and the cartouche of Rameses III beneath it—preceded the reign of Nakhtnebef by at least 500 years (see fig. 5). This effectively destroys any synchronism between Rameses III and Nakhtnebef and eliminates all theories associating their respective dynasties.

Figure 5

Fig. 5. Establishing a minimum estimate for the destruction of Level VI at Tel Lachish.

Correlations Between Tel Lachish and Other Ancient Sites

The stratigraphic sequence at Tel Lachish, so contrary to David Down’s theory, is mirrored at mound ruins across the Near East. In Level VI at Tel Lachish, objects naming Rameses III and Rameses IV were buried with fragments of Late Bronze (IIB/III) Canaanite-style pottery (Ussishkin 1983, 123; 2004b, 626). This pottery is preserved at many other sites in Israel intermixed with Iron I vessel fragments and Mycenaean (Monochrome) IIIC ware (Dothan 2000, 153; Killebrew 2000, 233). For example, Canaanite-style bowls, kraters, and storage jars, identical to Late Bronze pottery found in Level VI at Tel Lachish, also have been uncovered in Phase 20 (Grid 38) at Ashkelon, mingled with quantities of Mycenaean IIIC ware (Master, Stager, and Yasur-Landau 2011, 269–271, 277; Stager 2008). Significantly, Room 859 in the earliest deposits of Phase 20 at Ashkelon contained Mycenaean IIIC pottery and a scarab of Rameses III (Master, Stager, and Yasur-Landau 2011, 265, 274; Stager 2008; Stager, Master, and Schloen 2008, 258).

This pattern is repeated at Ashdod (Stratum XII) and Tel Beth-Shean (Strata VI/S4–S3) where artifacts incised with the cartouche of Rameses III (Brandl 2004, 59, 62, 64; Kitchen 1983, 252–253) have been unearthed in sealed contexts associated with Mycenaean IIIC ware and local Canaanite-style pottery manufactured in the early Iron I tradition (Dothan 1993, 96–98; Master, Stager, and Yasur-Landau 2011, 274–275; Mazar 1993b, 215–216, 228; 2007; 2008, 95; 2010, 255). Likewise, at Tel al-Mutessellim (Tel Megiddo), Iron I Canaanite-style pottery and Philistine vessels, including a single stirrup jar of the Mycenaean IIIC monochrome type (Finkelstein et al. 2017), surfaced in layers (Levels K-6, K-5/H–11, H–10) associated with destruction debris from Stratum VIIA (Finkelstein et al. 2017). This debris sealed an ivory pen case incised with the double cartouche of Rameses III (Kitchen 1983, 255), which was discovered in 1937 during excavations directed by Gordon Loud (Feldman 2009, 177; Finkelstein et al. 2017; Leonard and Cline 1998, 7–8; Loud 1939, 9, 11, Plate 62; 1948, 25; Mazar 1992a, 269, 299; 1992b, 261; Ussishkin 1995, 259). The same stratum at Megiddo is associated with a bronze statue base, found elsewhere on the mound (Room 1832, Area CC, Stratum VIIB), inscribed with the royal names of Nebmaatre-Meryamun Rameses VI—a younger son of Rameses III (Breasted 1948, 135–138; Finkelstein 2009, 115; Finkelstein et al. 2017, 262; Mazar 1992a, 299; 1992b, 261; Ussishkin 1995, 259–260).

All these inscriptions and pottery finds, like those at Tel Lachish, were discovered in layers predating the Persian period by multiple centuries (see fig. 6). For example, the above-mentioned scarab of Rameses III from Phase 20 (Period XVII) at Ashkelon was overlaid by a sequence of six Iron Age occupation levels (Grid 38, Phases 19–14)—each one constructed and demolished prior to the Persian period (Stager, Master, and Schloen 2008, 216–217, 257–282). In fact, the final Iron Age level in this sequence, Phase 14 (Period XII), was destroyed thoroughly by the Babylonian army more than two centuries before the reign of Nakhtnebef. This sudden destruction—foretold by the Prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 47:3–5)—took place in 604 BC when Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon sacked the city, deported its population, and turned the site into “heaps of ruins” (Fantalkin 2011; Stager, Master and Schloen 2008, 279–282; 2011, 3, 11, 13–14; Wiseman 1956, 28, 47, 69).

Figure 6

Fig. 6. “Stratigraphic correlations at sites in Palestine” Showing location of select artifacts, with particular emphasis on finds associated with Rameses III. Sources include the following: Arie 2006; 2013; Ariel et al. 2000; Barkay 1992; Dothan 1993; Dothan and Gitin 1993; Emanuel 2016; Finkelstein 2009; Finkelstein et al. 2017; Finkelstein and Singer-Avitz 2001; 2004; Gitin 1989; 2012; Leonard and Cline 1998; Maeir 2012a; 2012b; Master, Stager, and Yasur-Landau 2011; Mazar 1992a; 1992b; 1993a; 1993b; 2006; 2007; 2009a; 2015; Shai et al. 2004; Shiloh 1984; 1993a; 1993b; Singer-Avitz 2014; Stager, Master, and Schloen 2008; 2011; Stern 2001; Ussishkin 1993; 2004a; 2014a; 2015; Zukerman 2009; Zukerman, Dothan, and Gitin 2016.

Implications

Archaeological stratigraphy demonstrates that Rameses III lived no closer to present times than c. 875 BC. Stratified sequences of pottery, inscribed artifacts, and superimposed architecture at Tel Lachish and other ancient ruins in the Near East overwhelmingly refute David Down’s proposal to synchronize Rameses III with the Persian period (for corroborating evidence from Egypt, see Appendix B). The consequences of this refutation are devastating, not only for Down’s hypothesis regarding Rameses III, but also for the New Kingdom period of his revised Egyptian chronology.

Take, for example, Down’s attempt to harmonize the reign of Banenre Merneptah, fourth ruler of Dynasty 19, with the end of the biblical kingdom of Israel. On page 178 of Unwrapping the Pharaohs he wrote: “The fifth year of Merneptah would have been 722 B.C. or even later” (Ashton and Down 2006). Elsewhere in the same book (209), Down dated the first year of Merneptah to 693 BC—nearly a decade after the destruction of Lachish Level III by Sennacherib’s army.

Down’s scenario, however, is built on the premise that Merneptah lived before Rameses III. In this he agreed with the established sequence of New Kingdom pharaohs, accepted by all Egyptologists and confirmed by multiple pharaonic inscriptions (see Appendix C). For example, a relief at Medinet Habu shows Rameses III celebrating the Min Festival accompanied by a procession of former kings, which includes both Merneptah and his son Userkheperure Seti II (Dodson 2010, 129; Wilson and Allen 1940, Plates 196 [B], 203, 205, 207).

Consequently, because Merneptah lived prior to the reign of Rameses III, it is impossible to shift his lifetime after the destruction of Level VI at Tel Lachish that sealed the cartouche of Rameses III. In other words, like all kings who preceded Rameses III on the throne of the Two Lands (i.e., Upper and Lower Egypt), the beginning of Merneptah’s reign cannot be dated any closer to the present than sometime prior to c. 875 BC—a minimum of fifteen decades before Down’s proposed biblical correlation.6 This chronological dilemma is not an isolated example. Every correlation for the New Kingdom period of Egyptian history (Dynasties 18–20) identified by Down in Unwrapping the Pharaohs (108–181, 207–209—one-third of the book!) is challenged by the same stratigraphy that dates Rameses III’s reign prior to the mid ninth century BC.7 This includes Down’s central claim—another hypothesis conceived by Velikovsky (1952, 103–177)—that Maatkare Hatshepsut was Solomon’s “Queen of Sheba” (Ashton and Down 2006, 117, 121–122, 207, 213, 215; Down 2010, 29; 2011, 101, 106), and that Menkheperre Thutmose III was the plunderer of Solomon's Temple (Ashton and Down 2006, 125, 128–129, 207, 213, 215; Down 2010, 29; 2011, 109–110).

According to the Bible, Shishak plundered the Temple at Jerusalem in 926/5 BC (Kitchen 1996, 294–295; Thiele 1983, 80) within five years of Solomon’s death (1 Kings 14:25). Thutmose III, however, lived about 250 years before the reign of Rameses III (see Appendix D; both Thutmose III and Hatshepsut were separated from the time of Rameses III by approximately ten generations of reigning pharaohs). Consequently, if Thutmose III was ruling the Nile Valley in the late tenth century BC, as Down proposed, then Rameses III’s reign could date no further back in time than c. 675 BC—more than two decades after Sennacherib destroyed the Level III gatehouse at Lachish, whose deep Iron Age foundations (Levels V–IV) overlaid the earlier Bronze Age destruction layer (Level VI) that sealed the cartouche of Rameses III. The law of superposition makes such a scenario impossible; rather, it confirms that Thutmose III ruled Egypt sometime before 1100 BC,8 corroborating the significant body of evidence that makes Velikovsky’s link between Thutmose III and Shishak, or Hatshepsut and the Queen of Sheba, incompatible with the biblical evidence (Clarke 2010, 2011, 2013; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 15).

Conclusion

Despite endorsements in recent years by a small following of young-earth researchers (Austin 2012; Mitchell 2008; see Habermehl 2018 for a similar chronology), archaeological stratigraphy in the Near East strongly suggests that Down’s revision of Egypt's New Kingdom period of history is misaligned. At Tel Lachish, the gatehouse of Level III was burned by the Assyrians in 701 BC. The deep foundations beneath that gatehouse overlaid much earlier debris which sealed the cartouche of Rameses III. This stratigraphic sequence, paralleled by findings at ruins throughout Israel, contradicts any argument that dates Rameses III after the mid-ninth century BC. Consequently, if Rameses III is firmly entrenched in the pharaonic sequence before c. 875 BC, then every New Kingdom pharaoh who lived prior to his reign is centuries out-of-step with Down’s biblical correlations. When tested against the fundamental principles of archaeology, Down’s hypothesis struggles to explain archaeological finds throughout the Near East.9 Other alternatives should be explored that better fit the stratigraphic sequence.

References

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Ariel, Donald T., Baruch Brandl, Jane M. Cahill, Joseph Naveh, and Yair Shoham. 2000. “Excavations at the City of David 1978–1985 Directed by Yigal Shiloh, Volume VI: Inscriptions.” Qedem 41. Monographs of the Institute of Archaeology: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Ashton, John, and David Down. 2006. Unwrapping the Pharaohs: How Egyptian Archaeology Confirms the Biblical Timeline. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books.

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Appendix A. The Assyrian and Babylonian Destruction Layers at Tel Lachish (701–587 BC)

Levels III–II at Tel Lachish are the best attested sequence of stratigraphy from the Iron Age period of ancient Judah (Ussishkin 2004a, 92). Although many ancient cities are documented in historical texts, rarely does written history have an absolute parallel in the stratigraphic sequence uncovered at a mound ruin. Tel Lachish, however, is a spectacular exception. Starkey’s incomplete excavation in the 1930s correlated the destruction of Level II with the Bible’s record of the early sixth-century BC assault on Lachish by the Babylonian army of Nebuchadnezzar II (Ussishkin 2004a, 88), mentioned in the book of Jeremiah (34:7). Two decades later, Olga Tufnell identified Level III as the fortress city famously besieged by Sennacherib of Assyria during his third campaign in 701 BC (Roux 1992, 320; Ussishkin 2004a, 88–89; 2014a, 220–221, 271–275). This earlier siege is documented briefly in 2 Kings (18:13–14, 17, 19:8), 2 Chronicles (32:9) and Isaiah (36:2, 37:8); the campaign is dramatically retold in the Annals of Sennacherib (Luckenbill 1924, 32–34; 1927, 118–121, 142–143, 154; Ussishkin 2014a, 271–277); and the fate of the city is visually described on the magnificent Lachish Reliefs (now in room 10b at the British Museum)—recovered in 1849 by Sir Austen Henry Layard from the ruins of Nineveh (Layard 1853, 125– 129; Ussishkin 1980; 2014b, 85–89). Together with the excellent stratigraphy and well-defined pottery assemblages preserved at the mound, these primary sources establish the stratigraphic sequence of Levels III–II within the timeline of ancient history, making Tel Lachish the archaeological type-site for the Iron Age IIB–C period in the region of Israel (Kang 2016, 283–284; Ussishkin 2004a, 92; 2014a, 357).

Level III—Iron Age IIB (c. 750–701 BC)

Lachish Level III was a prosperous city with monumental buildings and powerful fortifications; it was encircled by a revetment wall halfway up the slope; a second wall, constructed with mud bricks on a stone foundation, stood on the upper edge of the mound (Ussishkin 2014a, 223–227; 2014b, 77). A massive gatehouse overlooked the southwestern approach to the city, and a Palace-Fort (Palace C) towered on the summit (Ussishkin 2004a, 83; 2014a, 227–262; 2014b, 77). During this period, Lachish rivalled nearby Jerusalem as the most powerful and wealthy city within the territory of the biblical kingdom of Judah.

In 1977, excavations by the Tel Aviv Institute confirmed the existence of a large siege ramp on the southwest corner of the site (Area R) (Ussishkin 1990, 64–69; 2004b; 2014a, 282–286, 289–295; 2014b 80– 81). The narrow area approaching the ramp summit was littered with several hundred iron arrowheads (Gottlieb 2004; Ussishkin 1990, 75; 2004b, 736, 738), many still imbedded in the brick debris from the collapsed walls (Ussishkin 2004b, 736, 754–756, 760–762); armor fragments, slingstones, Assyrianstyle pottery (Ussishkin 1996, 18–19; 2004c, 1904– 1905), and other siege equipment were uncovered on the ramp surface (Ussishkin 1990, 72–76; 1996, 20–23; 2004b, 732–739; 2014a, 301–312, 317–318; 2014b, 83–84). A counter-ramp erected by the city’s defenders was identified facing the area where the brick fortifications were breached (Ussishkin 1984; 1990, 69–71; 2004b, 723–732; 2014a, 296–300; 2014b, 81). More arrowheads were found concentrated in the area of the inner gatehouse on the western side of the mound; still others were found scattered among the residential buildings (Ussishkin 2014a, 311, 314).

The entire city was destroyed in a massive fire (Ussishkin 2014a, 219, 281–282; 2014b, 79). In some places the debris was six feet deep (Ussishkin 1977, 52). Four-handled storage jars, many stamped with a royal seal containing the Paleo-Hebrew phrase lmlk (“belonging to the king”) were buried in situ beneath the ruins of Level III (Ussishkin 1976; 1983, 160–164; 2004a, 87-88; 2004d; 2014a, 354–360; 2014b, 96–98). The distinct iconography on these pottery impressions—a two-winged sun disc or four-winged scarab beetle—is echoed on clay bullae from Jerusalem which name Sennacherib’s archenemy, King Hezekiah of Judah10 (Deutsch 2002).

Exact parallels of these impressions have been found at other Iron IIB sites, all dateable to Hezekiah’s reign—for example, at Jerusalem (Stratum 12), Beth-Shemesh (Stratum IIc), Tel Batash-Timnah (Stratum III), Tell Beit Mirsim (Stratum A2), Tel Beersheba (Stratum II), Tel ‘Erani (Strata VIII–VII), and Ramat Raḥel (Stratum VB) (Aharoni 1993, 1263; Ariel, et al. 2000, 75–80; Barkay 1992, 346–349; Bunimovitz and Lederman 1993, 251; Greenberg 1993, 180; Hergoz 1993, 171; Mazar and Kelm 1993, 155; Shiloh 1993a, 708–709; Stern 2001, 143–144, 146–147, 149, 174–175, 213; Ussishkin 1976; 2014a, 221; 2014b, 99–100).

Additional evidence for Hezekiah’s rule at Lachish surfaced in 2015 when a desecrated shrine— intentionally vandalized and profaned by a toilet— was uncovered in the southeastern chamber of the Level III inner gatehouse (Ganor and Kreimerman 2017, 2019) adjacent to storage rooms which contained jars stamped with the lmlk impression (Ussishkin 1976; 1977, 55; 1983, 161; 2014a, 357). This finding aligns with the Bible’s description of Hezekiah’s religious reform, prior to the Assyrian siege, which targeted cult shrines within his territory (2 Kings 18:4, 22; 2 Chronicles 31:1, 32:12; Isaiah 36:7).

More than a thousand skeletons (including the remains of women and children) were found during Starkey’s British excavation unceremoniously piled in rock-hewn tombs on the western slope of the mound (Ussishkin 1993, 908–909; 2014a, 318–322). These skeletons were dated to the seventh century BC based on pottery sherds discovered in the burials (Ussishkin 2014a, 321). Curiously, many of the bones had been burned in antiquity, perhaps during the fire that engulfed the city after the Assyrian army stormed its walls (Wright 1938, 28).

Level II—Iron Age IIC (c. 640–586 BC)

Lachish Level II was a fortified city, built (perhaps) in the late seventh century BC (Barkay 1992, 346; Stern 2001, 149; Ussishkin 1993, 909; 2014a, 370). A new gate was constructed on a smaller-scale over the rubble of the Level III inner gatehouse, and the broken walls were replaced at the edge of the mound (Barkay 1992, 346; Ussishkin 1993, 909; 2004a, 91; 2014a, 370–373). Much of the city, however, remained uninhabited or in ruins (Stern 2001, 149; Ussishkin 1993, 909; 2004a, 91; 2014a, 370).

Like the previous Level III city, the entire site was destroyed in a conflagration (Barkay 1992, 346; Ussishkin 2004a, 91), which sealed store jars beneath the debris (Ussishkin 1977, 49; 1993, 910; 2014a, 388–389). These jars, some stamped with a royal rosette symbol (Cahill 1995, 1997; Stern 2001, 176– 178, 213; Ussishkin 2004a, 109–110; 2014a, 358), are identical to pottery found mingled with heaps of ash, debris, and quantities of arrowheads in the massive Babylonian destruction layers at Jerusalem (Level 10B) and En-Gedi (Level V) (Ariel et al. 2000, 85–108; Mazar 1993c, 401–402; Shiloh 1984, 18–19, Plate 33; Stern 2001, 309–311).

On the floor of the burnt gate chamber in Level II, Starkey discovered the famous ostraca called the Lachish Letters (Ussishkin 1993, 910; 2004a, 91–92; 2014a, 375–378). These texts, written in Paleo-Hebrew on potsherds, mention warnings from ‘the prophet’ (Letter III), and refer to signal fires at Lachish and Azekah (Letter IV) (Pritchard 1969, 322; Zammit 2016, 7–13, figs 28–35)—most likely heralding the approach of the Babylonian army (Jeremiah 34:7). Letter VI speaks of a king at Jerusalem (Albright 1941, 82; Pritchard 1969, 322; van der Veen 2005, 50) and Letter VIII mentions a king of Moab (van der Veen 2005, 50; Zammit 2016, 22–23, Figs 42–43). Significantly, the Babylonians eliminated both these royal dynasties before 580 BC (Stern 2001, 307; van der Veen 2005, 50). Additional inscriptions on pottery in the Level II storerooms record a fourth year (Inscription XXIX) and a ninth year (Ostraca XX)—probably the regnal years of King Zedekiah of Judah (Jeremiah 39:1–2, 52:4; 2 Kings 25:1; Ussishkin 1993, 910; 2004a, 91; 2014a, 375, 384).

A hoard of 17 bullae was found by Y. Aharoni in Level II on the eastern side of the summit (Mazar 1992a, 518; Ussishkin 1993, 910; 2014a, 385–386). These bullae are paralleled by large numbers of clay seal impressions buried beneath the Babylonian destruction layer at Jerusalem (Ariel et al., 2000, 29–57; Shiloh 1984, 19–20, 61, Plate 35; Stern 2001, 184)—some with Hebrew text naming officials recorded in the Bible on the eve of the Babylonian siege11 (Mazar 1992a, 520; Mazar 2009b; Mykytiuk 2004, 139–152; Schneider 1991; van der Veen 2005, 49; 2012). One of the bullae from Lachish names Shebnayahu, “servant of the king” (van der Veen 2005, 49). Deutsch (2009) suggests that this bulla may refer to Hezekiah’s steward, Shebna, who is named in Isaiah 22:15.

Tel Lachish was uninhabited for a lengthy period of time after the Babylonian destruction (Ussishkin 1993, 910; 2014a, 375). The foundations of the razed Level II gatehouse and fortifications were reused in the mid fifth century BC for the construction of Level I, the final settlement on the mound (Fantalkin and Tal 2006, 170; Ussishkin 1977, 45; 2004a, 97).


Appendix B. Dating the Great Temple of Rameses III at Medinet Habu

Contrary to claims by Velikovsky (1977, 74–77), archaeological evidence demonstrates that the Great Mortuary Temple of Rameses III at Medinet Habu was constructed several decades before the reign of Khunefertumre Taharqa [of Kush] (Beckerath 1999, 208–209; Leprohon 2013, 163)—whose accession year (690 BC) is not disputed (Hornung, Krauss and Warburton 2006, 258). Taharqa is named in the Bible during Sennacherib’s campaign against Hezekiah of Judah (2 Kings 19:9; Isaiah 37:9). Likewise, his name is recorded in the 7th-century Assyrian annals of Esarhaddon (Luckenbill 1927, 226–229, 274) and Ashurbanipal (Luckenbill 1927, 292–295, 324, 340, 348–351; Piepkorn 1933, 10–15, 30–41). Significantly, Down correctly dated Taharqa’s reign (690–664 BC) centuries before the late Persian period (Ashton and Down 2006, 189–191, 209).

The archaeological evidence from Rameses III’s temple includes:

  1. A pylon and gallery—fronting the small temple of Amun of Djeme at Medinet Habu (Dodson 2012, 155, 157, 163; Kitchen 1996, 381)—constructed by Neferkare Shabaka (c. 705–690 BC) and usurped and reinscribed by Taharqa, which overlaid a destroyed portion of the massive girdle wall of Rameses III (Hölscher 1934, Plates 3, 5–6, 16, 18; 1939, 26–27).
  2. The large burial chamber (Tomb 4) of Diesehebsed, a lady-in-waiting to Taharqa’s sister, Shepenwepet II, God’s wife of Amun (Corsi 2013), which was cut into the Ramesside foundations of the Eastern High Gate (Hölscher 1954, 17, 30, Plate 19; Li 2011, 220–222).
  3. The tomb of Harsiese A, king of Thebes (Tomb 1), which penetrated the foundations of the brick pylon of Rameses III, and was clad with sandstone blocks reused from demolished structures constructed by Rameses III (Aston 2014, 16–21; Hölscher 1941, 39, 46; 1951, 8–9; 1954, 8–9, Plates 8–9). Harsiese A is attested during the reign of Usermaatre-Setpenamun Osorkon II (Dodson 2012, 105–108; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 241; Kitchen 1996, 108) the father of Nimlot C, high priest of Amun (Breasted 1906c, 393–399; Kitchen 1996, 488 [Table 19]; Mariette 1857, Plate 31). Nimlot C, in turn, was the grandfather of Usermaatre-Setpenamun Osorkon III (i.e., Osorkon B, high priest of Amun) whose lineage is inscribed on the Bubastite Portal at Karnak (Dodson 2012, 118–119, 125–128; Epigraphic Survey 1954, x-xi, Plates 16–22; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 242–243; Rohl 1995, 373–375)—a gateway which also overlaid massive ceremonial reliefs depicting Rameses III12 (Epigraphic Survey 1936, Plates 100–103; 1954, vii, Fig. I). Inner rooms at the temple of Osiris Heqa-djet in East Karnak depict Osorkon III with his daughter Shepenwepet I, God’s Wife of Amun; later reliefs, added to the same temple by Djedkare Shabataka (c. 715–705 BC), show Shepenwepet I with her adopted heir Amenirdis I (aunt of Taharqa), whose death is recorded during the reign of Taharqa (Ayad 2009; Coulon, Hallmann, and Payraudeau 2018, 275–276; Dodson 2012, 128, 130, 132, 159–160; Morkot 2016, 111–113; Rohl 1995, 372–373).
  4. Funerary chapels in the outer court at Medinet Habu, constructed for Shepenwepet I (daughter of Osorkon III), Amenirdis I (aunt of Taharqa), Shepenwepet II (sister of Taharqa), and their Saite successors (Ayad 2016; Dodson 2012, 128, 130, 132, 144–145, 152, 155–156, 159–160, 162– 163, 170–172, 177; Hölscher 1954, 17–30, Plates 2, 11–18; Morkot 2016, 111–114)—i.e., the daughters of Psamtik I and Psamtik II (Dynasty 26)—which replaced an earlier Ramesside wall between the Eastern High Gate and the pylon of Rameses III (Hölscher 1934, Plates 7–10; 1951, 20).
  5. The chamber of Nesterwy (Tomb 21), granddaughter of Osorkon III, which was cut into the western wall foundations beneath room 43 of the Great Temple itself (Aston 2014, 38; Epigraphic Survey 1964, Plates 519–524; Hölscher 1954, 17, 32; Li 2011, 224–225, 228–229). Nesterwy’s brother-in-law, Peftjauawybast of Herakleopolis, is attested on the Victory Stela of Piye, the father of Taharqa (Dodson 2012, 147–149).

Appendix C. The Transition Between Dynasty 19 and Dynasty 20

David Down agreed that Banenre Merneptah preceded Rameses III, but he disagreed with the established conclusion among Egyptologists that the two kings were separated from one another by less than twenty years. Instead, Down proposed that Merneptah lived more than three centuries before Rameses III (Ashton and Down 2006, 178–181, 209– 210).

Evidence discrediting his view, however, is preserved in records naming officials who served during the transition between Dynasty 19 and Dynasty 20. For example, Hori, grandson of Merneptah’s older brother Khaemwaset C, was installed as Vizier in Year 6 of Userkheperure Seti II (Merneptah’s son), holding that office during the reign of Seti II’s successor Akheperre Siptah (see Appendix D) and into the early years of Rameses III (Bruyère 1930, 20–22; 1952, 40, 54, Plate 29; Černý 1958; Dodson 2010, 23, 73–75, 85, 104, 124; Gardiner 1958, 15; Kitchen 1983, 376–377; 2012, 21).

Another official, “King’s Son of Kush” Hori, son of Kama, is attested in Year 3 of Seti II (Morkot 2013, 936) and Year 6 of Siptah (Breasted 1906b, 277, 279; Dodson 2010, 104; Kitchen 2012, 21; Morkot 2013, 927). He also is depicted with Userkhaure Setnakhte, the father of Rameses III, on a stela from the Temple of Rameses II at Amarah West (Dodson 2010, 124; Kitchen 1983, 2; 2012, 21; Porter and Moss 1952, 161). A third inscription on a lintel from Buhen names Hori alongside the cartouches of Rameses III (Kitchen 1983, 381; 2012, 21).

Similarly, Hori’s namesake and successor “Hori . . . son of King’s Son of Kush Hori” (Randall- MacIver and Woolley 1911a, Plate 11: 5 S; 1911b, 23–24) is shown adoring the cartouche of Rameses III at the Temple of Hatshepsut in the Sudan (James 1963, 2) and is attested on stelae from Amarah West in Years 5 and 11 of Rameses III (Fairman 1939, 143; Kitchen 1983, 382–383 Porter and Moss 1952, 162).


Appendix D. The Sequence of New Kingdom Pharaohs According to Inscriptions

Dynasty 18

Nebpehtire Ahmose (Beckerath 1999, 132–133; Leprohon 2013, 95–96). Son of Seqenenre Taa II (king of Thebes) and Ahhotep I (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 124–125, 126, 128; Grimal 1992, 201). He overthrew the Hyksos pharaohs who controlled the Nile delta, reuniting the ‘Two Lands’ of Egypt (Dodson 2016, 3; Grimal 1992, 192–195). His highest attested regnal date is Year 22 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 198).

Djeserkare Amenhotep I (Beckerath 1999, 132– 133; Leprohon 2013, 96). Son of Ahmose and Ahmes- Nefertiry (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 125–128; Grimal 1992, 201). A graffito at Saqqara is dated to his Year 20 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 199). Akheperkare Thutmose I (Beckerath 1999, 132– 135; Leprohon 2013, 96–97). Father unknown; sonin- law of Ahmose or Amenhotep I (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 131). He is named in a dedicatory inscription commissioned by his daughter Hatshepsut [see below] in tomb KV20 in the Valley of the Kings (Manuelian and Loeben 1993; Reeves and Wilkinson 1996, 91–94). His highest attested regnal date is Year 4, with a possible year 8/9 or 11 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 199–200).

Akheperenre Thutmose II (Beckerath 1999, 134– 135; Leprohon 2013, 97–98). Son of Thutmose I and Mutneferet [A] (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 130–131, 139). An inscription by the “Overseer of works” in Wadi Shatt er-Rigal, near Aswan, names Thutmose II beneath the cartouches of Thutmose I and Amenhotep I, who is recorded as deceased (Edgerton 1933, 38; Eisenlohr 1881, 101). His accession and death is recorded in the tomb of Ineni (TT81) at Thebes, which also names his sister-wife, Hatshepsut [see below] (Breasted 1906a, 47–48, 142). His highest attested regnal date is Year 1 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 200).

Menkheperre Thutmose III (Beckerath 1999, 136–139; Leprohon 2013, 98–100). Son of Thutmose II and Iset [A] (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 131, 138);. He is named with his father on the stela of Nibamon from Thebes (Breasted 1906a, 303) and is depicted in several reliefs with his step-mother Hatshepsut [see below] (Breasted 1906a, 141; Dodson 2016, 6). He fought the famous battle at Megiddo in Year 23 (Breasted 1906a, 180–189; Cline and O’Connor 2006; Dodson 2016, 5–7; Redford 2003) and led 17 campaigns into the Levant. An inscription in his temple at Samneh (describing the career of an unnamed viceroy of Kush) mentions the previous reigns of Ahmose, Amenhotep I, Thutmose I, and Thutmose II (Breasted 1906a, 26–27). He usurped and mutilated the monuments of Hatshepsut [see below], in some cases reinscribing her cartouches with the names of Thutmose I and Thutmose II (Bryan 2012, 365–369; Edgerton 1933). His death in Year 54 is documented in the tomb of Amenemhab (TT85) at Thebes, which also records the accession of his son, Amenhotep II (Breasted 1906a, 234, 318– 319; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 202).

Maatkare Hatshepsut (Beckerath 1999, 134– 135; Leprohon 2013, 98). Daughter of Thutmose I and Ahmes [B] (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 130–132, 137); she is depicted in multiple reliefs with both her parents at Deir el-Bahri (Breasted 1906a, 78– 100). An inscription in the tomb of Ineni (TT81) at Thebes records her regency after the death of her half-brother Thutmose II (Breasted 1906a, 142). She ruled Egypt with complete pharaonic titles from Year 7 to Year 21 of Thutmose III’s reign (Dodson 2016, 4). She is named in the biographical text of Ahmose Pen-Nekhbet (tomb EK2 at El Kab), which records his military activities under Ahmose, Amenhotep I, Thutmose I, Thutmose II, and Thutmose III (Davies 2014; Breasted 1906a, 9–12, 18, 35, 50–51, 143). She vacated the throne by Year 22 of Thutmose III (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 201).

Akheperure Amenhotep II (Beckerath 1999, 138–139; Leprohon 2013, 100–101). Son of Thutmose III and Merytre-Hatshepsut (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 132–133, 139; Grimal 1992, 217). His father is named with him on stelae from Amada and Elephantine (Breasted 1906a, 311–312). He also is recorded as the son of Thutmose III on the stela of Nebwawi at Abydos (Breasted 1906a, 74–75). A scene in the tomb of Amenemhab (TT85) at Thebes depicts Amenhotep II approaching Thutmose III’s deified image (Breasted 1906a, 318–319). His highest attested regnal date is Year 23 (Hornung, Krauss and Warburton 2006, 203).

Menkheperure Thutmose IV (Beckerath 1999, 138–141; Leprohon 2013, 101–102). Younger son of Amenhotep II and Tiaa [A] (Dodson 2016, 12, 24, 26; Dodson and Hilton 2004, 140). He is depicted with his mother on a black granite statue from Karnak (Bryan 1987; Clayton 1994, 114) and is named on a stela, which records the Asiatic campaign of his father (Breasted 1906a, 309). He inscribed a dedication text for his grandfather, Thutmose III, on the Lateran Obelisk; this text was dated 35 years after it was abandoned during Thutmose III’s reign (Breasted 1906a, 329–332; Dodson 2016, 20, 32–35; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 204). His highest attested regnal date is Year 8 (Dodson 2016, 24, 37; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 204).

Nebmaatre Amenhotep III (Beckerath 1999, 140–143; Leprohon 2013, 102–104). Son of Thutmose IV and Mutemwia (Grimal 1992, 221). He is shown as a young prince with his father in the tomb of Heqaerneheh (TT64) at Thebes (Dodson 2016, 27–28; Dodson and Hilton 2004, 134–135), and is depicted with the ka of Thutmose IV on a wall from his own tomb (WV22) in the Valley of the Kings (Reeves and Wilkinson 1996, 112–113). Scarabs dated to Year 10 record his marriage to a daughter of King Shuttarna II of Mitanni (Breasted 1906a, 347–348; Clayton 1994, 116; Dodson 2016, 51; Dodson and Hilton 2004, 146). His Third Pylon at Karnak was constructed reusing masonry from monuments built by Thutmose II and Thutmose IV (Brand 2010, 3; Dodson 2016, 57–58). He celebrated his first jubilee in Year 30 and repeated the festival in Years 34 and 37 (Breasted 1906a, 349–351; Dodson 2016, 53–55; Dodson and Hilton 2004, 143). His highest attested regnal date is Year 38 (Dodson 2016, 82; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 205).

Neferkheperure-Waenre Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten (Beckerath 1999, 142–143; Leprohon 2013, 104–105). Son of Amenhotep III and Tiye [A] (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 146, 157). He is depicted alongside his parents in the tombs of Kheruef [TT192] and Huya [TA1] (Dodson 2016, 54–55, 75–77, 86–87, 137–138), and is named with Amenhotep III and his grandfather Thutmose IV in a letter (EA29) from King Tushratta of Mitanni (son of Shuttarna II [see above]). He usurped images of Amenhotep III in the temple of Soleb (Dodson 2016, 89) and desecrated images of Amun, even erasing his father’s nomen (Breasted 1906a, 335, 342, 353, 363). His highest attested regnal date is Year 16 (Van der Perre 2014, 77) with an attributed Year 17 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 206).

Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare (Beckerath 1999, 144–145; Leprohon 2013, 105). Identity uncertain, probable son or brother of Akhenaten (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 150; Van der Perre 2014, 85–87), with whom he may have shared a coregency (Van der Perre 2014, 88–96, 101). He married Akhenaten’s eldest daughter, Meritaten (Van der Perre 2014, 83, 85, 101). His highest attested regnal date is Year 3 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 207–208).

Ankhkheperure-Merwaenre Neferneferuaten (Beckerath 1999, 142–145; Leprohon 2013, 105). Identity uncertain, possibly Neferneferuaten- Nefertiti, Great Royal Wife of Akhenaten (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 150, 155–156; Van der Perre 2014, 95–101). She may have usurped the regnal dates of Smenkhkare or Tutankhamun [see below] (Dodson 2009, 45–47). Her funerary equipment was later altered for Tutankhamun’s use (Dodson 2009, 50–52, 88; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 207). Her highest attested regnal date is Year 3 (Dodson 2009, 45).

Nebkheperre Tutankhaten/Tutankhamun (Beckerath 1999, 144–145; Leprohon 2013, 106). Probably a son of Akhenaten (or Smenkhkare) by an unknown wife (Dodson 2009, 15–17, 39; 2016, 88). He married Akhenaten’s daughter Ankhesenpaaten/ amun who is depicted with him in the tomb of Horemheb at Saqqara and on funerary equipment from his own tomb (KV62) in the Valley of the Kings (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 154); a vase from the same burial was inscribed with the partially erased cartouches of Akhenaten and Smenkhkare (Dodson 2009, 30–31), and a box lid preserved the names of Neferneferuaten and Akhenaten (Dodson 2009, 34). He restored the monuments of “his father” Amenhotep III, and repaired reliefs vandalized by Akhenaten (Brand 1999; Breasted 1906a, 363; Dodson 2009, 70–71; Grimal 1992, 241). His death is mentioned in a letter written by an Egyptian queen to King Suppiluliuma I of Hatti (Bryce 1998, 193– 196; Dodson 2009, 60, 89–93). His highest attested regnal date is Year 10 (Dodson 2009, 86; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 208).

Kheperkheperure Ay (Beckerath 1999, 146–147; Leprohon 2013, 106–107). Held the titles of God’s Father and Overseer of all the Horses during the reigns of Akhenaten and Tutankhamun (Breasted 1906a, 408; de Garis Davies 1908, 24; Dodson 2009, 65, 95). Scenes in Ay’s tomb (TA 25) at Amarna show him receiving honors from Akhenaten and Nefertiti (Breasted 1906a, 407–411; de Garis Davies 1908, 16–24, 28–31, Plates XXII–XXXIV, XXXVI–XLIV; Dodson and Ikram 2008, 231). He is depicted with Tutankhamun on a gold foil from the Valley of the Kings (Dodson 2009, 66–67; Grimal 1992, 242) and also in Tutankhamun’s tomb (KV62) performing funerary rituals for the king’s mummy (Bryce 1998, 198; Dodson 2009, 93–94; Grimal, 1992, 242). A restoration text at the temple of Luxor documents repairs made during his reign to a gateway constructed by Amenhotep III (Brand 1999, 118– 119). His mortuary temple at Medinet Habu was usurped after his death by Horemheb [see below] (Hölscher 1939). His highest attested regnal date is Year 4 (Dodson 2009, 107; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 209).

Djeserkheperure-Setpenre Horemheb (Beckerath 1999, 146–147; Leprohon 2013, 107). Held the title Hereditary Prince of Upper and Lower Egypt during the reign of Tutankhamun, who is depicted (though unnamed) in Horemheb’s tomb at Saqqara (Dodson 2009, 58–59, 65, 101, 122; Van Dijk 1996, 36). He mutilated and usurped the cartouches of Ay and Tutankhamun (Brand 1999; 2010, 7–8; Dodson 2009, 64, 68–70, 76, 104, 119, 121–122, 126; Hölscher 1939) and dismantled the Aten temples of Akhenaten, reusing their talatat blocks for the masonry cores of his three pylons at Karnak (Brand 2010, 4; Dodson 2009, 124–125; Grimal 1992, 243, 304). In Year 8, he ordered the restoration of the tomb (KV43) of Thutmose IV, recorded on a wall in antechamber I of the same burial (Breasted 1906b, 19; Cross 2008; Dodson 2009, 120; Peden 2001, 142–143; Reeves and Wilkinson 1996, 108). Another restoration text from the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri calls Thutmose III “father of his fathers” (Dodson 2009, 109; Dodson and Hilton 2004, 153). His highest attested regnal date is Year 14 (Dodson 2009, 128– 131; Van Dijk 2008).

Dynasty 19

Menpehtire Rameses I (Beckerath 1999, 148– 149; Leprohon 2013, 109). Son of a Troop Commander named Sethy [A] (Dodson 2009, 126). He was Vizier during the reign of Horemheb when he held the title Noble in the Entire Land (Dodson 2009, 126; 2010, 1) and is named with Horemheb on a small obelisk (Dodson 2009, 135). He also usurped monuments built by Horemheb. His unused coffin was later reinscribed for Prince Rameses, a son of Rameses II [see below] (Brand 2010, 6). His highest attested regnal date is Year 2 (Dodson 2010, 2; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 210).

Menmaatre Seti I (Beckerath 1999, 148–153; Leprohon 2013, 109–114). Son of Rameses I and (probably) Sitre [A]. He is depicted with his parents in the mortuary temple of Seti I at Abydos, where he completed a chapel for his father (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 161–162; Grimal 1992, 245; Winlock 1921). Rameses I is also depicted with him in the temple of Seti I at Qurna (Breasted 1906b, 91–92; Hölscher 1941, 23, 28, 30, 74)—which was afterward finished by Rameses II [see below] (Breasted 1906b, 220–222). He restored images of Amun destroyed by Akhenaten (Breasted 1906a, 342, 353; Van Dijk 2003, 286) and usurped the restorations of Tutankhamun (Brand 1999; 2010, 8–9; Dodson 2009, 70, 138). He reused Akhenaten’s talatat masonry in the foundations of the Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak (Brand 2010, 4; Grimal 1992, 304–305). A relief on a wall in his mortuary temple at Abydos shows 76 of his royal “ancestors,” including Rameses I, Horemheb, Amenhotep III, Thutmose IV, Amenhotep II, Thutmose III, Thutmose II, Thutmose I, Amenhotep I, and Ahmose (Grimal 1992, 246); his son Rameses II [see below] is depicted as a young prince in the same relief (Dodson 2009, 135–136; 2010, 2–3; Grimal 1992, 249). A scene in the tomb-chapel (TT10) of Penbuy and Kasa depicts him seated with Rameses I and Horemheb (Dodson 2009, 132–133). His highest attested regnal date is Year 11 (Van Dijk 2003, 288; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 211).

Usermaatre-Setpenre Rameses II (Beckerath 1999, 152–157; Leprohon 2013, 114–120). Son of Seti I and Tuy [A] (Dodson 2010, 7). He is depicted with his father on the stela of Miya from Abydos (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 162–163) and in the Mortuary Temple of Seti I at Abydos, which he completed (Breasted 1906b, 102–117; Grimal 1992, 248). He fought Muwatalli II of Hatti (grandson of Suppiluliuma I [see above]) at the Battle of Kadesh on the Orontes in Year 5 (Breasted 1906b, 136–157; Bryce 1998, 256–261; Grimal 1992, 253–256). He concluded a peace treaty with Hattusili III of Hatti (younger brother of Muwatalli II) in Year 21 (Breasted 1906b, 165–174; Bryce 1998, 304–307); the text of the treaty names his father, Seti I, and grandfather, Rameses I (Breasted 1906b, 166; Pritchard 1969, 202). He married the Hittite king’s daughter in Year 33, commemorated on a stela at Abu Simbel (Breasted 1906b, 182–186; Bryce 1998, 311–312; Dodson 2009, 168–169; Grimal 1992, 257). A festival relief in the second western pylon of his mortuary temple at Thebes shows Rameses II leading a procession of thirteen former kings, including Seti I, Rameses I, Horemheb, Amenhotep III, Thutmose IV, Amenhotep II, Thutmose III, Thutmose II, Thutmose I, Amenhotep I, and Ahmose (Dodson 2009, 133–134). He usurped the monuments and statues of Horemheb, Rameses I, and Amenhotep III (Dodson 2009, 70) and reused talatat masonry from Akhenaten’s temples at Amarna (Grimal 1992, 261). He celebrated an unprecedented fourteen jubilee festivals (Grimal 1992, 267). His highest attested regnal date is Year 67 (Dodson 2010, 12; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 211).

Banenre Merneptah (Beckerath 1999, 156–159; Leprohon 2013, 120–122). Son of Rameses II and Isetneferet [A] (Grimal 1992, 268); he is shown with his parents on a stela at Gebel el-Silsila and on a rock carving at Aswan (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 168–169). He is depicted in a procession of royal princes in the hypostyle hall of the Ramesseum (Dodson 2010, 6). In Year 55 of Rameses II, he was named crown prince (Dodson 2010, 11). Merneptah encountered the Sea Peoples in Year 5 (Bryce 1998, 369–370; Grimal 1992, 269). He reused masonry from the memorial temple of Amenhotep III for his own memorial temple at Thebes (Brand 2010, 4; Dodson 2016, 128; Grimal 1992, 268). His highest attested regnal date is Year 9 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 212).

Userkheperure Seti II (Beckerath 1999, 158–161; Leprohon 2013, 122–123). Son of Merneptah and Isetneferet [C] (Grimal 1992, 268). He is depicted with his parents on a stela at Gebel el-Silsila (Dodson 2010, 14). He also appears on his father’s war reliefs at Karnak and on several statues of Merneptah (Dodson 2010, 14–15; Dodson and Hilton 2004, 182–183). He usurped the monuments of his father and erased the cartouches of Amenmesse [see below] (Brand 2009; Dodson 2010, 51–55, 63–67, 77; Yurco 1990, 24–25). An ostracon from Deir el-Medina records his death in regnal Year 6 (Dodson 2010, 79; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 212).

Menmire-Setpenre Amenmesse (Beckerath 1999, 158–159; Leprohon 2013, 123–124). Probable son of Seti II and Takhat [A] (Dodson 2010, 40–42; Dodson and Hilton 2004, 179–180). He seized power in Thebes during the reign of Seti II, whose names he erased (Dodson 1999; 2010, 31–40, 43, 52, 55). He also usurped the cartouches of Merneptah (Brand 2009; Dodson 2010, 43; Yurco 1990, 24–25). He ruled five years according to Papyrus Salt 124 (Grimal 1992, 269). His highest attested regnal date is Year 4 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 213).

Sekhaenre/Akheperre Siptah (Beckerath 1999, 160–163; Leprohon 2013, 124). Probable son of Amenmesse by a wife whose cartouche was erased in antiquity (Dodson 2010, 48–49, 91–93; Dodson and Hilton 2004, 181). He is depicted on a stela in the temple of Seti I at Qurna accompanied by the former kings, Rameses II and Seti I (Dodson 2010, 94). His highest attested regnal date is Year 6 (Dodson 2010, 111; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 213).

Sitre-Merenamun Tawosret (Beckerath 1999, 162–163; Leprohon 2013, 125). Great Wife of Seti II and regent for Siptah, whose regnal years she usurped (Dodson 2010, 115). She is depicted with her husband on jewelry found in tomb KV56 in the Valley of the Kings (Callender 2004, 85–86; Dodson 2010, 75; Dodson and Hilton 2004, 183). A doorjamb at the Great Temple of Abu Simbel shows her adoring the cartouches of Siptah (Dodson 2010, 97– 98; 2011, 150). After Siptah’s death, Tawosret ruled Egypt with complete pharaonic titles, even adopting the Horus epithet Strong bull (Dodson 2010, 111– 112). She erased the cartouches of Siptah in her tomb (KV14) and replaced them with those of Seti II (Dodson 2010, 97, 111). Her highest attested regnal date is Year 7 (Dodson 2010, 118; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 214).

Dynasty 20

Userkhaure Setnakhte (Beckerath 1999, 164– 165; Leprohon 2013, 126–127). Origin unknown, probably a descendant of Rameses II (Dodson 2010, 119; Dodson and Hilton 2004, 186; Kitchen 1996, 244). Setnakhte is named with his son Rameses III [see below], and his grandson Rameses IV [see below], in Papyrus Harris I (Breasted 1906c, 199–200, 206). His wife, Tiy-merenese, is shown with him on a stela from Abydos (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 194). He usurped Queen Tawosret’s tomb (KV14) in the Valley of the Kings (Grimal 1992, 271)—her images, names, and titles were plastered over and replaced with his image and cartouches (Dodson 2010, 126–127). His highest attested regnal date is Year 4 (Dodson 2010, 122–123; Grandet 2014, 1).

Usermaatre-Meryamun Rameses III (Beckerath 1999, 164–167; Leprohon 2013, 127–130). Son of Setnakhte and Tiy-merenese (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 194; Kitchen 1982, 124). He usurped the unfinished tomb of his father (KV11) in the Valley of the Kings, plastering over Setnakhte’s cartouches and replacing them with his own (Dodson 2010, 125); he also usurped stone blocks from the Temple of Tawosret at Thebes (Creasman et al. 2014, 279– 280). A festival relief in his Great Temple at Medinet Habu shows Rameses III leading a procession of eight former kings: Setnakhte, Seti II, Merneptah, Rameses II, Seti I, Rameses I, Horemheb, and Amenhotep III (Dodson 2009, 134; 2010, 129; Wilson and Allen 1940, Plates 196 [B], 203, 205, 207). He reigned 31 years according to Papyrus Harris I (Breasted 1906c, 89–90); his highest attested regnal date is Year 32 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 215).

User/Heqamaatre-Setpenamun Rameses IV (Beckerath 1999, 166–169; Leprohon 2013, 130). Son of Rameses III and Iset [D] Ta-Hemdjert (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 189, 194). He is named with his father and grandfather in Papyrus Harris I (Breasted 1906c, 199–200, 206), which he commissioned. His carved figure (Prince 1) is shown leading a procession of royal princes on a wall in the Great Temple of Rameses III at Medinet Habu (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 188– 189; Kitchen 1972, 187–188; 1982). He is attested by inscriptions, reliefs, and foundation deposits in the same temple (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 194; Hölscher 1951, 5, 19, 48; 1954, 1; Wilson and Allen 1940, Plate 244), and in the adjacent temple enclosure of Horemheb (Hölscher 1939, 115–117, Plate 58). The High Priest of Amun Ramesesnakht [see below]— son of Merybast, High Steward of Rameses III (Kitchen 1996, 246)—is attested in his Year 1 and Year 3 (Breasted 1906c, 223–225, 237–238; Kitchen 1996, 246; Polz 1998, 276–277). A depiction of kings and queens from the Tomb of Inherkhau at Deir el- Medina (TT359) shows Rameses IV alongside several former kings: Rameses I, Thutmose I, Amenhotep I and Ahmose (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 123). His highest attested regnal date is Year 7 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 215).

Usermaatre-Sekheperenre Rameses V/Amenhirkopshef I (Beckerath 1999, 168–169; Leprohon 2013, 131). Son of Rameses IV. Ramesesnakht, High Priest of Amun [see above and below], is attested in his Year 4 (Polz 1998, 276–277). His highest attested regnal date is Year 4 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 215).

Nebmaatre-Meryamun Rameses VI/ Amenhirkopshef II (Beckerath 1999, 170–171; Leprohon 2013, 131). Son of Rameses III and Iset [D] Ta-Hemdjert (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 192). He inscribed his name over the cartouche of his brother, Rameses IV, usurping his monuments and statues including one representing their mother Queen Iset (Brand 2010, 3–4, 6; Dodson and Hilton 2004, 189; Kitchen 1972, 189–193; 1982, 124). He is named in the procession of princes (Prince 2 and 3) in the Great Temple of Rameses III at Medinet Habu (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 188–189; Kitchen 1972, 187–188; 1982, 120–124). Ramesesnakht, High Priest of Amun [see above and below], is attested in his Year 7 (Polz 1998, 276–277). The sarcophagus of Queen Tawosret was used for the burial of his son Prince Amenhirkopshef [D] in tomb KV13 (Dodson 2010, 99; Reeves and Wilkinson 1996, 154). His highest attested regnal date is Year 8 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 216).

Usermaatre-Setpenre-Meryamun Rameses VII/Itamun (Beckerath 1999, 170–173; Leprohon 2013, 132). Son of Rameses VI, as stated on a door jamb from Deir el-Medina (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 190; Kitchen 1972). He reigned seven years according to Papyrus Turin (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 216).

Usermaatre-Akhenamun Rameses VIII/Sethirkopshef (Beckerath 1999, 172–173; Leprohon 2013, 132–133). Son of Rameses III (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 194). He is named in the procession of princes (Prince 4) in the Great Temple of Rameses III at Medinet Habu (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 188–189; Kitchen 1972, 187–189; 1982, 120, 123). His highest attested regnal date is Year 1 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 216).

Neferkare-Setpenre Rameses IX/Khaemwaset I (Beckerath 1999, 172–173; Leprohon 2013, 133). Paternity unknown; a possible grandson of Rameses III by his son prince Montuherkhopshef (Dodson 2012, 3). Ramesesnakht, High Priest of Amun [see above], is attested in his Year 2 (Thijs 2004, 89, 93; Kitchen 1996, 246; Polz 1998, 276–277). He ordered the tomb of Rameses VI resealed in Year 9 (Grimal 1992, 289). The tomb of Iset [D] Ta-Hemdjert (QV51), wife of Rameses III, was reported plundered in Year 17 (Dodson 2012, 5–6). Died in his regnal Year 19 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 216).

Khepermaatre-Setpenre Rameses X/ Amenhirkopshef III (Beckerath 1999, 174–175; Leprohon 2013, 134). Parentage unknown (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 191). His highest attested regnal date is Year 3 (Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 217).

Menmaatre-Setpenptah Rameses XI/ Khaemwaset II (Beckerath 1999, 174–175; Leprohon 2013, 134–135). Parentage unknown; perhaps a son or grandson of Khaemwaset E, son of Rameses III (Dodson 2012, 13). He probably came to power in the north when Rameses IX and Rameses X were still alive (Dodson 2012, 9–12). His Year 1 is associated with trials relating to the robbery of the tomb of Rameses III’s queen, Iset [D] Ta-Hemdjert (QV51) [see above]. The plundering of the tomb of Rameses VI is also recorded (Dodson 2012, 9). His reign is associated with Year 7 of the wḥm-mswt—“repeating of births” (Dodson 2012, 9, 15). He ruled twenty-nine years according to the Book of Sothis; his highest attested regnal date is Year 27 (Hornung, Krauss and Warburton 2006, 217).

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Footnotes

  1. Velikovsky (1977, 88–98) argued that Nakhtnebef and Nectanebo I were two separate individuals. He identified the former—despite his royal names and titles (Beckerath 1999, 226–227; Leprohon 2013, 171–172)—as a high Egyptian official who lived a few decades prior to the reign of Nectanebo I. Velikovsky’s design in this disassociation was to clear the way for Nectanebo I to be equated with Rameses III (Velikovsky 1977, 89). Although Down may have concurred with Velikovsky on this point (many details in his chronological reconstruction are ambiguous), this paper assumes that Nakhtnebef is the Egyptian equivalent of Nectanebo I.
  2. This shrine was abandoned by the mid second century BC when the Level I settlement at Lachish was eclipsed by Mareshah, the most prominent Hellenistic city in the region (Avi-Yonah 1993, 948, 951; Ussishkin 1993, 911). The mound has remained virtually uninhabited to this day (Ussishkin 2004a, 97–98).
  3. Note the alternate proposal by Brandl (2004, 60, 68) that the scarab found in Area 7000 at Lachish may bear the name of a later pharaoh from Dynasty 22.
  4. For a challenge to this view, see Fantalkin and Finkelstein 2006.
  5. This is several decades lower than estimates made by most archaeologists. For example, Ussishkin (2014a, 207; 2015, 135–137) proposes a longer duration for the city, suggesting it was founded in the early to mid-ninth century BC. His conclusions are based on pottery analysis, radiometric calibrated dates, and the depth of debris preserved in Level IV (Ussishkin 2015, 137). Other radiometric studies have produced similar conclusions (Garfinkel et al. 2019).
  6. That correlation is based on a misreading of the Merneptah Victory Stela (or so-called ‘Israel Stela’) from Thebes, which Down—citing Courville—wrongly interpreted to be a record describing the successful conquest of the kingdom of Israel by Egypt’s enemies, the Assyrians (Ashton and Down 2006, 178; Down 2010, 19). On the contrary, the inscription recounts the military and political triumphs of Merneptah’s dynasty (Breasted 1906b, 256–264; Pritchard 1969, 376–378; Yurco 1986; 1990), summarized in the final stanza: “Everyone who was restless, he has been bound by the King of Upper and Lower Egypt” (Pritchard 1969, 378).
  7. Down’s arrangement of Egypt’s dynasties prior to the New Kingdom, in particular his overlapping of the Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom periods of Egyptian history (See Mitchell 2008, 247), is also problematic. These issues, however, are outside the scope of this paper.
  8. Most Egyptologists date Thutmose III’s reign to c. 1479–1425 BC (Cline and O’Connor 2006; Dodson and Hilton 2004; Gautschy 2014; Grimal 1992; Hornung, Krauss, and Warburton 2006, 479, 488, 492; Manley 1996; Shaw 2003; Schneider 2010, 377).
  9. Down’s claim that the early Iron Age is identical to the late Persian period (Down 2010, 13, 17; 2011, 127, 129–130), requires sequential occupation levels of Iron Age, Persian, and Hellenistic cities to exist in parallel—i.e., Levels VI–I at Tel Lachish would be inhabited simultaneously while sitting on top of each other—a stratigraphic impossibility. At the same time, it dislocates datable biblical events from their corresponding strata. For example, the massive Iron Age (IIC) destruction layer at Jerusalem (Stratum 10B), if dated according to Down’s model, would correspond to the Hellenistic Age (323–30 BC), centuries after the city was sacked and burned by Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 BC (2 Kings 25:1–21; Thiele 1983, 190–191).
  10. A bulla stamped with Hezekiah’s name and royal symbol—a two-winged sun disc—was famously found during the Jerusalem Ophel excavations in 2009 sealed beneath the Babylonian destruction debris in Level 10 (Mazar 2015). Other variations of this impression, including several royal bullae showing a two-winged scarab, had previously surfaced on the antiquities market (Deutsch 2002; Mazar 2015, 635–636).
  11. For example, Gemariah son of Shaphan (Jeremiah 36:10–12, 25), Gedaliah son of Pashhur (Jeremiah 38:1), and Azariah son of Hilkiah (1 Chronicles 6:13–14; Ezra 7:1).
  12. Hedjkheperre-Setpenre Shoshenq I (Beckerath 1999, 184–185; Leprohon 2013, 145), the founder of Dynasty 22, constructed the Bubastite Portal against the inscribed east wall of the Temple of Rameses III at Karnak, obscuring a portion of the Ramesside reliefs (Epigraphic Survey 1936, Plates 100–103; 1954, vii, Fig. I). Shoshenq I was the great-grandfather of Usermaatre-Setpenamun Osorkon II, the father of Nimlot C (Dodson and Hilton 2004, 210–213; Kitchen 1996, 488).

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