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New (super 14) C dating of the archaic royal necropolis Umm el-Qaab at Abydos (Egypt).

Jochen Goersdorf, Guenther Dreyer, Ulrich Hartung

Abstract


Since 1977, the German Institute of Archaeology in Cairo has been reexamining the archaic Royal necropolis Umm el-Qaab at Abydos (ca. 500 km south of Cairo). The necropolis consists of the tomb complexes of six kings and one queen of Dynasty I as well as two kings of Dynasty II in the southern part, the cemetery with royal tombs from Dynasty 0 and early Dynasty I in the middle and the predynastic cemetery in the northern part. Although partly destroyed and deprived of most of their contents, the tombs and the remaining artifacts are a major source for the early dynastic period and are of utmost importance for the understanding of predynastic development during Naqada I-II and the chronology of the formation of Egyptian culture. Sixteen newly (super 14) C-dated samples were mainly taken from remains of wooden roofs and coffins, or in the case of the earliest tombs from mattings. The dating results in general are in good accordance with the relative archaeological dating of the tombs, but 100-150 yr earlier than the so far established historical chronology.

Keywords


Abydos Egypt;tombs;Umm el Qaab Egypt;Africa;Egypt;North Africa;archaeology;archaeological sites;isotope ratios;Holocene;Cenozoic;Quaternary;wood;C 14;carbon;dates;isotopes;radioactive isotopes;C 13 C 12;stable isotopes;absolute age

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