Paradise seeker, this is not a one minute post but it does demonstrate that so much groundwork so to speak has to be understood before arriving at a scientific answer.
I think a word is
necessary on the subject of archaeological labels. The Iron Age was followed
the Bronze Age which followed the Neolithic which followed the Mesolithic which in turn followed the Palaeolithic, the old Stone
Age. These are broad terms referring to a type of culture based roughly on the developmental
stages of tool materials. I.e. Neolithic (meaning from Greek; the “new stone”
age) is the last part or most recent part of the Stone Age and is characterised
by use of polished stone tools unlike the preceding lower, and therefore older
levels containing flaked stone tools exclusively. The thing to understand is
that these period names cannot be consistent with all locations since
developments took place in different spots on the map at different times. For
example the Neolithic could have been, and was in progress in North Africa
while parts of Europe were still the preceding epoch, the Mesolithic etc. So a specific name and date for a site is given
for one location and importantly at the specific physical occupation level for that site. One site
may have artefacts from a dozen cultural levels, this is very common in caves
where occupation episodes might cover one hundred thousand years or more. This
is one reason why archaeologists are painstaking in getting the stratigraphy
well defined and any prehistoric dig will have a vertical cross section of the
layers showing the horizons representing each superimposed layer laid over an older
layer and maked with pins and pegs, all carefully measured and photographed. The
term Prehistory broadly is before writing began.
So how do we know
the dates of Egyptian kings? Well unlike the simplistic minds of creationists
instead of looking only at one source, historians and archaeologists look at
every possible reading of the evidence. In historic sources we have, most
especially in Egypt, a head start because of the written annals of the kings
and although not without error, the variables for gaps in dates are at least
known and we have a sound chronology going back in time from Alexander in the
fourth century CE to the earliest dynastic period 3,100 BCE. The great pyramid
at Gizeh pyramids was built around 2500 BCE under the direction of the
architect Hemiunu and never is there a mention of any flood in the region
before or after.
chronology is easy peasy being historic compared
to earlier stuff in the Neolithic. The later Neolithic covers the discovery of
copper tools and is called the Chalcolithic (copper/stone age) and you may remember that
Oetzie (or Otzi) the Ice Man found in 1991 frozen the Italian Alps, carried a copper
axe and this was dated to late Neolithic/Chalcolithic and from 14C (carbon
dating) it was confirmed he lived about 3350-3100 BCE, just before the historical
Egyptian dynastic sequence.
I don’t know
which country you are in but most national archaeological museums carry
Egyptian material and it is possible to see in the Ashmolean in Oxford and the
British Museum for example, the continuity of artefacts going back from the prehistoric
Neolithic Egypt with pottery and stone tools continuing into the dynastic and
historic period. Surprisingly, (well it surprised me) that there was a
continuity of obviously Egyptian style which can be witnessed, demonstrating a
cultural continuity from prehistoric into dynastic Egypt.
When items are
found out of context, often it is the cultural motifs which determine its
provenance but dating can be done as well even for things such as stone tools.
(thermoluminesence and electron spin resonance are used) Archaeological dating
methods are used age appropriate to an artefact or bone. So carbon dating is
not used for early man because it only dates living objects, ideally younger
than 30,000 years but doable up to 50,000. If your object is a very old skull, radio
carbon will not work and other radiometric methods are used.
To summarise; in
archaeology the first thing is to know the age of the soil horizon containing the
artefact or bone. If a bone is found in the same soil horizon as a stone tool
and a vole’s tooth for example, we have a lot of immediate information
including the type of animals and cultural period from the style of the stone
tool, all of which have known and limited time frames.
determine the stratification by virtue of rock and soil horizons, small animals
evolve quite rapidly and palaeontologists are part of the dating team in
prehistoric digs which will give the parameter dates for extinct animal
species. Other scientists such as entomologists will sift the soils to know what
insects and other microfossils are present and others will look at pollen data
with similar boundaries for determining the soil matrix date. It is these
details along with the fauna and flora assemblages which pin-points specific climate
conditions AND DATES for the region in prehistory supported by a myriad of earth
scientist’s measurements to know the full sequence of climate data which is the
backdrop to all dating in prehistory.
Therefore it is never a guess, it is a
coordinated research based on multi-disciplinary scientific analysis which yields
the date for the prehistoric periods. The historic periods as I said are by
comparison easy and the distinction between the two is useful to appreciate.
I have touched on--and at the risk of boring the socks off you-- is hardly
scratching the surface of the subject but needless to say, scientific evidence
is not accessible to the closed minds of JWs and their ilk. However never let
them get away with “carbon dating is faulty” because dendrochronology is
absolute dating (i.e.to the year) and corroborates the accuracy of those 14C radiometric