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A Critical Review of Dead-Reckoning from the 21st Dynasty

Author(s): Graham Hagens


Source: Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, Vol. 33 (1996), pp. 153-163
Published by: American Research Center in Egypt
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40000612
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A Critical Review of Dead-Reckoning


from the 21st Dynasty
Graham Hagens

Introduction
In spite of recent advancesin scholarship,absolute dating of the Late Bronze Age (LBA)remains poorly defined. There also seems to be a
problem of lacunae in the records. "InSyriathe
12th and 11th centuries B.C. following the destruction of many Late Bronze Age sites like
Ugaritand RasIbn Hani, has long been regarded
as something of a DarkAge, supposedlylike that
In
in other areasof the eastern Mediterranean."1
an attempt to explain various anomalies in the
historical records, James et al. have suggested a
radicalreduction of the LBAby some 250 years.2
While the proposal faces almost insurmountable
barriers,3the extent to which a more modest reduction would ameliorate these problems has
not yet received attention. Such revised dating
would not be unacceptable in disciplines as varied as Aegean,4Sicilian,5and Cypriot6studies.
The determination of absolute dates is difficult. Radiocarbon dating in the 3000-3500 bp
range is unsatisfactory.7Dendrochronology has
yielded excellent results from the Hallstat era,
and promising progress in the linking of some
European and Near Eastern artifacts,8but the
1 W.G. Dever, BASOR288 (1992), 19.
2 P.
James, I. J. Thorpe, N. Kokkinos, R. Morkot and
ofDarkness(London, 1991).
J. Frankish,Centuries
6 Reviewedin
CAJ1:2 (1991), 227-53.
4 A.
Snodgrass,CA/1:2(1991), 247.
5 R.
Leighton, CA/3:2(1993), 271-83.
6 R. S. Merrillees,BASOR288 (1992), 47-52.
7B. Kemp, CAJ1:2 (1991), 243-44; Merrillees BASOR
288, 51 "radiocarbondates are invokedif they supporta particularhypothesis. . . and dismissedif they do not."
8 P. I. Kuniholmand C. L. Striker, Field
14
J.
Archaeology
(1987), 385-98, and P.I. KuniholmProceedings
of the12thSymposium on Excavation, Researchand Archeometry(Ankara, 1991).

paucity of remains has prevented firm connections being made9. The use of dendrochronology to establish absolute dates in the LBANear
East still remains a 'hope.'10Near Eastern synchronisms in the LBAare also unreliable. "The
chronological reconstruction of [Bronze Age
Cyprus] is essentially informed guesswork and
should be treated accordingly."11
Although the
lists
are
used
to
support LBA
Babylonian king
cannot
be used to
the
data
alone
chronology,
calculate absolute dates.12WesternAsiaticanalyses often reveal a "dangerousreliance on damaged texts of questionable reconstruction" as
chronological linchpins.13The gap in the Assyrian records after the death of TukultiNinurta I
9 L.
Sperber, Untersuchungenzur chronologieder Urnenfeldkultur im nordlichenAlpenvorland von der Schweizbis Oberoster-

reichAntiquas,Reihe 3, 4th Ser, Band 29. (Bonn, 1987).


10A Sherratand S. Sherrat,
CAJ1:2 (1991), 247-53.
11Merrillees,BASOR288, 48.
E. F.Wenteand C. van Siclen in Studiesin Honorof George
R. Hughes,eds. J. Johnson and E. F.Wente.Studiesin Ancient
OrientalCivilization,34 (Chicago,1976), 247-50 refer to the
evidence that Kara-indash,KurigalzuI, Kadashman-EnlilI
and Burna-BuriashII were contemporariesof AmenhotepIII
and IV Earlierhoweverthey note "Inview of the uncertainties still surroundingan absolutechronologyof WesternAsia,
synchronismsbetweenEgyptand the rest of the ancient Near
East had best be excluded from immediate consideration
[until] the chronologyof the New Kingdomhas been reconstructed on the basis of Egyptianevidence alone." (Studies,
219). In a similarvein Brinkmanwrites:"Babylonianchronology, in its present state of uncertaintyis not a reliable standardagainstwhich to measureother chronologiesof the late
second millennium."(J. A. Brinkman,Bibliotheca
Orientalist!
(1970), 307). See alsoJ. A. Brinkman,MaterialsandStudies
for
KassiteHistory(Oriental Institute of the Univ. of Chicago,
1976), 15, n. 28 concerning the identificationof the kings
referredto in the El Amarnaletters.
13W.A. Ward,BASOR288 (1992), 54.

153

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154

JARCEXXXIII (1996)

late in the 13th century also limits the value of


this resource for LBAsynchronisms.14
Near Eastern chronology still fundamentally
depends on Egypt.15Sothic dating, however,not
only has limited accuracy,16but there is now reason to believe that the important Ebers papyrus
cannot be used as a fixed benchmark.17Deadreckoning of Egyptian regnal years remains the
most important technique for establishing absolute dates. "Sothicor Siriusmode dating ... is
notthe basisfor Egyptianchronology for the New
Kingdom or Late Period. But it is a tool in trying to refine dates obtained by dead-reckoning
of regnal years."18In light of the importance of
this process, a detailed critiqueof this methodology is essential. In this article I will re-examine
the conventionalinterpretationof evidence from
the 21st and 22nd dynasties. The commencement of the 22nd dynastyis reasonablywell fixed
to ca. 945 b.c.e. by historical synchronisms.19
Prior to that the lowest acceptable Sothic date
for the accession of Ramesses II, 1279 b.c.e.,
requires a length of 125-30 years for the 21st
dynasty. This limitation has affected the interpretationof the datafrom this period.20If Sothic
dating is invalid, then the evidence can be subjected to a more objectiveanalysis.I will attempt
to show that the availabledata is indeed ambiguous enough that it cannot be used to confirm the
accepted Sothic dates. When the various uncertainties are taken into account, I will conclude
that dead reckoning cannot supportan accession
date for RamessesII higher than ca. 1200 b.c.e.

14 A. K.
Grayson, Assyrian Royal Inscriptions,Vol 1 (Wiesbaden, 1972), 132-53; also James, Centuries(1991), 268-73,
304-8.
15 K. A. Kitchen, in
High, Middle or Low>?Acts of an International Colloquiumon AbsoluteChronologyheld at the Universityof
Gothenburg,Aug. 1987, ed. P. Astrom, III (Gothenburg: 1987),
I, 37-55 and III, 152-59.
16 See Ward, BASOR288, 53-66.
17 W Helck, in
High, Middle or Low?Acts of an International
Colloquiumon AbsoluteChronologyheldat the Universityof Gothenburg,Aug. 1987, ed. P. Astrom, III (Gothenburg: 1987), 41.
18 K. A. Kitchen,
CAJ1:2 (1991), 237.
19 Ward, BASOR288, 55.
20 For
example K. A. Kitchen, The ThirdIntermediatePeriod
inEgypt (1100-650 B.C.) (Warminster, 1986) (hereafter TIP),
532-33.

While the primarypurpose of this paper is not


to revise the history of the period, the easiest
way to test the process is in fact to propose and
defend an alternate history.This will be done in
two parts dealing respectively with the beginning and the end of the 21st dynasty.In the first
half I will argue that excess years have been assigned to ephemeral pharaohs at the beginning
of the dynasty,and in the second I will present
the evidence for overlap between the 21st and
22nd dynasties.The suggestion that these dynasties may have overlappedis not new, it was made
21
by Lieblein as long ago as 1914, and more re22and Dodson.23
cently by James
Reviewof the History 21st Dynasty
The 21st or Tanite dynasty has been summarized by a number of authors,24and Bierbrier
has examined the family relationships in the
period.25It is one of those epochs which is particularlypoorly illuminated: "Withthe advent of
DynastyXXI the copious sources of information
available in the previous two dynasties vanish.
Administrativepapyri and ostraca prove practically non-existent. Votivestatuarywould seem to
disappearalmost totally.Graffitiand inscriptions
decline to a few badly preserved examples."26
The flood of information reappearsin the 22nd
dynasty.
One of the most important tools used to
study this period is the collection of bandageepigraphsfrom the burial cache at Deir el Bahri.
By comparing these bandages with monumental
inscriptions, rationalizationof the 125-30 years
required for Sothic dating, can be realized.27
The Manethonic records also give 130 years for
the length of the dynasty,but this may be a co21

J. Lieblein, Recherchessur VHistoireet la civilization de


VancienneEgypte(Leipzig, 1914).
22
James, Centuries,256-59.
23 A.
Dodson,/A 79 (1993), 267-68.
24 A. Gardiner,
Egyptof thePharaohs (London, 1961), 30334; J. Cerny CAH3,II/2, 643-57 and TIP.
25 M. L. Bierbrier, TheLate New
KingdominEgypt (c. 1300664 B.C.) (Warminster: 1975).
26 Bierbrier, Late New
Kingdom,45.
2 W. Barta,
Mitteilungen des DeutschenArchdologischenInstituts, Abteilung Kairo 37 (1981), 35-39; TIP, 531.

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A CRITICAL REVIEW OF DEAD-RECKONING FROM THE 2 1ST DYNASTY


Table 1.

155

Generally Accepted Chronology of the 21st Dynasty

Dynasty Year

Pharaonic Year

I
4
6
9
10
II
12
13
15
16
18
20
21
25
27 AMENEMNISU
30
31 PSUSENNES
36
37
38
49
60
70
78
79

1
4
6
9
10
11
12
13
15
16
18
20
21
25
1
4
1
6
7
8
19
30
40
48
48

References

Yr 1
Yr 4
Yr 6
Yr 9
Year 10
Yr 11
Yr 12
Yr 13
Yr 15
Yr 16
Yr 18
Yr 20
Yr 21
Yr 25

On mummy of Nodjmet reference to HP Pinubjem


Tomb graffito refers to Scribe Butehamun1
Four refs to HP Pinubjem and Scribe Butehamun
Linen by HP Pinubjem on mummy
Four references (linen and graffiti) HP Pinubjem and Butehamun
Four graffiti references to Scribe Butehamun and Pinubjem
Three references including HP Pinubjem and Butehamun
Two references mention HP Pinubjem and Butehamun
HP Pinubjem brings Ramesses III
Two references: HP Masaharta, Pinubjem and son of Butehamun
HP Masaharta
Two graffiti references to son of Butehamun and workmen
Graffito, coming of scribe Nebhepet
Two inscriptional references to Menkheperre

Yr <5

HP Menkheperre seeks oracle concerning exiles2

Yr 6
Yr 7
Yr 8
Yr 19
Yr 30
Yr 40
Yr 48
[Year x of]

Linen by HP Menkheperre on Sethos


Two references to burying and osirifying; agent not named
Two references; King Pinubjem commanded to osirify
Day of inspection (no agent named)
Linen by Menkheperre? (name missing)
Inspection of temples under HP Menkheperre
Three references to HP Menkheperre on linen, stela and burial
King Amenemope, year 49 [of King Psusennes?]

1Butehamen references could


apply to RenaissanceEra.
2Yeardate lost. Could be Amenemnisuor Psusennes.

incidence.28Manethosis "completelyunreliable"
in the 22nd dynasty.29
The accepted chronology of the first part of
the dynasty,with references to key documents, is
shown in Table 1. There are problems with this
chronology. For a start there are fewer generations than would be expected; for example the
descendants of High Priest (HP) Bakenkhons
produced six or seven generations from Sethos II
28
J. Cerny in CAH3II/2, 646: "Manetho'stotal of 130
years. . . bridgestolerablywell the gap between the death of
RamessesXI and the accession of Shoshenq I. Individually,
however,Manetho'sfiguresdisagreewith the scantydates of
the documents."
29 TIP,448-51. On the
unreliabilityof Manetho see also
Ward,BASOR288, 54.

to RamessesX, a period of about 90 years,but the


125 years from the end of dynasty20 to the beginning of the 22nd appearto be bridged by only
three or four.30There is also an absence of Apis
burials.Although this could simplybe due to bad
luck, with burialsyet to be found,31cumulatively
the missing evidence increases the burden on
the rest of the data to supportthe supposednumber of years. The humid climate and "unsettled
times"are usuallyblamed for the poor documentation, but the evidence is inconsistent. Pharaoh
Psusennes I is quite well represented, as is Siamun, but very little of the other five Tanite pharaohs survives.
30 Bierbrier, Late Nezu
Kingdom,16.
31 TIP, 236.

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156

JARCE XXXIII
Proposed Revision of the First
Half of the Dynasty

The

founder

of the dynasty, Smendes, or


who
Nesubanebdjed,
purportedly reigned some
is
twentysix years,
conspicuous by his absence.
In the tale of Wenamun he is described as governor of northern Egypt during the Renaissance Era, but this document is of questionable
historical value.32 Beyond that only two monuments without year dates and a canopic jar
record his name.33 The Memphite genealogies
which list seven generations of priests and their
contemporary kings are of little help in the quest
for Smendes. Pharaohs Amenemnisu
(four year
reign), Psusennes I (three references over fortynine years) and Siamun (ninteen years) are mentioned, but not the dynasty's founder.34 There is
also significant variation in the quantity of material which has survived from one year to the
next. Thus twenty-nine inscriptions are associated with Smendes' twenty-six years, but only nine
for the half century of Amenemnisu
and Psusennes I. A conspicuous gap is observed between
Psusennes' years 30 and 40. Although on the surface this would appear to provide support for
Smendes, in fact these assignments are based
on certain assumptions. I will show below that if
assignations are changed, the variability is considerably reduced.
The claim that Smendes reigned for twentysix years is based on the interpretation of just
four first hand sources, none of which mentions
him by name:
(1) On the Maunier or "Banishment Stela,"
HP Menkheperre
sought the oracle of Amun.
The year date has been lost, but from the small
space occupied it is believed to have been less
than 5. Since Menkheperre became high priest
in year 25 of an unnamed pharaoh, and since
Manetho assigns twenty-six years to Smendes, it
is argued that the twenty-five refers to Smendes,
and the small number to a successor, either
Amenemnisu or Psusennes I.
32Wenamunis considered to be historical K. Kitchen
by
in TIP,250-52, J. Cerny in CAH3,635-43 and A. Egberts,
JEA 77 (1991) 57-67, but see G. Lefebvre,Romansat contes
(Paris,1949), 204-20.
egyptiens
33 TIP,255-57.
34 TIP,187-88, 487.

(1996)

(2) A bandage on the mummy of Sethos I


reads: "Year 6: linen made by HP of Amun
Menkheperre." As above it is argued that this
refers to Psusennes I. From the same mummy
two other bandages without agent being named
read: "Year 7: Day of burying Sethos I" and "Year
7: Day of osirifying Princess and Queen-Ahmose
Sitkamose."
"Year 8: King Pinub(3) A bandage-epigraph:
I
commanded
to
jem
osirify Ahmose I." Since
assumed
the
title "king" in a Year 16,
Pinubjem
Year 8 cannot refer to the same pharaoh. The first
must be Smendes and the second Psusennes I.
"Year I: King Pinub(4) A bandage-epigraph:
I
commanded
to
jem
osirify Prince Siamun." As
for (3).
If any reasonable alternative can be found to
the assumption that the unknown pharaoh was
Smendes, then all the first hand evidence for
that first quarter century would be eliminated.
The solution may be found in considering the career of the High Priest who became a co-regent
of Psusennes, Pinubjem I. Pinubjem succeeded
his father Piankh as HP at Thebes near the start
of the dynasty.35 In Year 16, of an unnamed pharaoh he adopted the title King and appointed
a son Masaharta High Priest. In Year 25 Masaharta was replaced by Menkheperre who enjoyed
a lengthy pontificate. Pinubjem I later assumed
full pharaonic titles which were widely recognized throughout Egypt. Evidence for a period
of co-regency of Pinubjem and Psusennes is
provided by some blocks from Tanis on which
their cartouches have been inscribed. They were
probably also related, and several genealogies
have been proposed. That which most reasonably explains the fact that Psusennes adopted a
Ramesses name, depicts the two as step-brothers
by marriage.36 Pinubjem I was buried in western Thebes with pharaonic pomp and splendor
which was long remembered by descendants. I
suggest that the unnamed pharaoh in the bandage epigraphs was not Smendes but High Priest
and King, Pinubjem I. To test this hypothesis the
following assumptions are made:
35Coveredin
CernyCAH3,646-54; TIP,257-62, 473-75,
536-38.
36With Psusennes a son of Smendes
by one wife and
Pinubjemson-in-lawof Smendesby another.

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A CRITICAL REVIEW OF DEAD -RECKONING


Table 2.
Dynasty
Year

Pharaonic
Year

1 SMENDES
4
6 AMENEMNISU
10 PSUSENNES
15
18
19
20
21
22
24
25
27
28
29
30
34
39
40 PINUBJEM
42 CO-REGENT
46
47
48 PINUBJEM
49 DIES
57
58
59 AMENEMOPE 1

1
4
1
1
6
9
10
11
12
13
15
16
18
19
20
21
25
30
31
33
37
38
39
40
48
49

Yr 1
Yr 4

FROM THE 2 1ST DYNASTY

157

Alternate Chronology for the Early 21st Dynasty


Year
b.c.e.

References
On mummy of Nodjmet ref. to HP Pinubjem1
Tomb graffito refers to Scribe Butehamun1' 2

Yr 6
Yr9
Yr 10
Yr 11
Yr 12
Yr 13
Yr 15
Yr 16
Yr 18
Yr 19
Yr 20
Yr 21
Yr 25
Yr 30

Four refs. to HP Pinubjem and Scribe Butehamun2


Linen by HP Pinubjem on Mummy
Four refs. to HP Pinubjem and Butehamun
Four graffiti refs. to Scribe Butehamun and Pinubjem
Three refs. to HP Pinubjem and Butehamun
Two refs. mention HP Pinubjem and Butehamun
HP Pinubjem brings Ramesses III
Two refs.: Masaharta, Pinubjem and son of Butehamun
HP Masaharta
Day of inspection (no agent named)
Two graffiti refs to son of Butehamun and workmen
Graffito, coming of scribe Nebhepet
Two inscriptional refs. to Menkheperre
Linen by Menkheperre? (name missing)
Hypothesis: Pinubjem claims pharaonic titles and years
Yr <5
HP Menkheperre seeks oracle concerning exiles
Yr 6
Linen by HP Menkheperre on Sethos
Yr 7
Two refs. to burying; agent not named
Yr 8
Two refs.; King Pinubjem commanded to osirify
Yr 40
Inspection of temples under HP Menkheperre
Yr 48
Three refs. to HP Menkheperre on linen and stela
[Year x of] King Amenemope, year 49 [King Psusennes?]

1010
1007
1005
1001
996
993
992
991
990
989
987
986
984
983
982
981
977
972
971
969
965
964
963
962
954
953

Alternately could be Amenemnisuor Psusennes.


2Butehamunreferences could refer to RenaissanceEra.

(1) That the reign of Smendes was less than


26 years. The exact number is not essential for
the argument, a reign until year 5 is assumed.3
(2) That Pinubjem I was accorded his own
regnal years during his last years, specifically between Years 30 and 40 of Psusennes, arguably
the period of the co-regency.
(3) Therefore years 6, 9, 10 etc. up to 30 of
HP Pinubjem, refer to Psusennes not Smendes,
and years l-5(?), 6, 7 and 8 associated with HP
and King Pinubjem I refer to
Menkheperre
Pinubjem I. After Pinubjem's death, years 40
37An
argumentfor choosing5 is thatthiswouldbe the date
if Manetho'stwenty-sixyearsareemended to sixteen,withthe
count startingwith the RenaissanceEra;cf. TIP,17-18.

and 48 once again apply to Psusennes. The reof the historical data reflecting
arrangement
this hypothesis is shown in Table 2.
Some Consequences
There are no conflicts with other evidence for
the period, instead some of the data becomes
easier to interpret:
1) A difficulty relating to the death of Pinubjem's grandmother Nodgmet is alleviated. A
drawing in Luxor reveals HP Pinubjem wishing
long life to Nodjmet, but a bandage from her
mummy refers to a Year 1 associated with Pinubjem. Since Pinubjem succeeded to the pontificate near the start of the dynasty, conventional

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158

JARCE XXXIII

chronology demands a very short time between


Pinubjem wishing his grandmother well and her
burial in year I.38 If Year 1 refers either to Amenemnisu or Psusennes, the period between well
wishing and burial is extended to five to nine
years.
2) Alternately the hypothesis allows an extension in Piankh's reign, since the Year 1 on which
Pinubjem officiated could refer to Amenemnisu
or Psusennes in Years 6 or 10 of the new dynasty.
3) The conventional chronology has a fortyeight year pontificate for Menkheperre. While
this is not impossible, it would now be reduced
to a more comfortable twenty-three years.
4) Menkheperre who died shortly before Psusennes, assumed use of the pharaonic cartouche
towards the end of his life.39 According to this
proposal this would have been in his final 8 years,
after the death of his father. The crux of this
hypothesis is that king Pinubjem I was accorded
his own regnal years for a period of time. There
is general agreement that Pinubjem did not enjoy independent reign in Tanis,40 but the details
of his co-regency with Psusennes are quite unknown. The assignation of regnal years to a later
has been used as the
co-regent, Amenemope,
basis of an argument to explain an otherwise
anomalous linen fragment.41
The Second Half of the Dynasty
According to the accepted chronology, four
Tanite pharaohs followed Psusennes for a total of
fifty years: Amenemope (9 years),42 Osochor (6),
Siamun (19) and Psusennes II (14/15 years).43
On the death of Psusennes II power is said to
have shifted from Tanis to Bubastis where the
first pharaoh of the 22nd dynasty, Shoshenq I
took the throne ca. 945 b.c.e.44 I suggest that the
38 TIP,41-43.
39 Bierbrier,LateNew
49.
Kingdom,
J. von Beckerath, Tanisund Theben(Gliickstadt-Hamburg-New York, 1951); Cerny CAH3,647-48 and E. F.
Wente,JNES,26 (1967), 155.
41 TIP,28-30, 531.
42 Gardiner,
Egypt,324; TIP,272.
43 TIP,3-39.
44 "No earlier than 948 B.C.but
possibly as late as 929
B.C."Wenteand van Siclen, Studies,224.

(1996)

at hand is better interpreted by assuming overlap between the end of the 21st and the
beginning of the 22nd dynasties, under the following conditions:
(1) Amenemope's
reign was no
independent
than
2-3
longer
years.
(2) Osochor was probably a member of the
Bubastite dynasty, mistakenly included by Manetho with the Tanites.
(3) Shoshenq I became leading chief of the
Bubastite clan during the reign of Siamun and
began counting regnal years around Year 6 of
Siamun.
(4) The last pharaoh of the dynasty, Psusennes II, was no more than a shadow during
the latter half of Shoshenq's reign.
(5) When Psusennes II became pharaoh his
successor as High Priest was Iuput, son of Shoshenq I. The revised chronology which emerges
from these assumptions is shown in Table 3.
evidence

Discussion
The length of the reign of Psusennes Fs
immediate successor is unclear. Acceptance of
Manetho's nine years for Amenemope demands
between
an unknown period of co-regency
and
Psusennes
and/or
Osochor.45
Amenemope
Our complete ignorance of the nature of this
arrangement dictates that other apparently firm
dates must be called into question. For this reason the Year 5 of Amenemope found in a book
of the Dead46 cannot be used to conclude that
he enjoyed five independent
regnal years. The
little
records
throw
light on the length
priestly
of his reign. While bandage-epigraphs reveal that
was contemporary with two High
Amenemope
Priests (Smendes II and Pinubjem II), the pontificate of Smendes II seems to have been quite
short.47 Some bandages from burials of Theban
with High priest
clergy associate Amenemope
but
those
of
II,
Pinubjem
Pinubjem II with year
dates 1-7 do not name the pharaoh.48 Other
45Because of different
bandages which read "[Yearx of
Psusennes] Year49 of Amenemope,"and "year[x] + 3 of
Amenemope,"TIP,421.

6 A. W. Shorter,
Catalogueof EgyptianReligiousPapyriin the
BritishMuseum, /(1938), 7.
47 TIP, 271.

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A CRITICAL REVIEW OF DEAD-RECKONING FROM THE 2 1ST DYNASTY

159

Table 3. Alternate Chronology of the Late 21st Dynasty


Tanite
Pharaoh
Psusennes
Amenemope
Siamun

Psusennes II

Year

HP Thebes

HP Memphis

48
49
1
2
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16

Menkheperre
SmendesII
"
II
Pinubjem
"
"
"
"
"
"

"
Psusennes II
"
"
"
"
"
"

Pipi-B
"
"
"
"

17
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14

Iuput
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"

evidence suggesting a short reign derives from


two bandage-epigraphsfound on a mummy at
Deir el Bahri. One reads: "Year1,"and the other
"made by Menkheperre in Year 48" [of Psusennes] .49Since linen was usuallymanufactured
shortlybefore its use, this implies a regnal Year1
shortlyafter Psusennes' death (ca. Year49). But
48 TIP,273.
49
77P,421.

AshakhetB
"
"
"
"

"
"
"
"
"
Ankhefensekhmet
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
Shedsunefertem
"
"
"

Bubastite
Pharaoh

Osochor
"
"
"
"
"
Shoshenql

"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"11
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
Osorkon
"
"

b.c.e.

1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

953
952
951
950
949
948
947
946
945
944
943
942
941
940
939
938
937
936

12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
1
2
3

935
934
933
932
931
930
929
928
927
926
925
924
923
922
921

if Amenemope was alreadyaccorded co-regency


year-datesthis must refer one of his successors,
Osochor or Siamun.Finallythe Memphite genealogies which mention Psusennes I and Siamun
as contemporaries of High priest Pipi-B ignore
Amenemope (and Osochor). I suggest that no
more than 2-3 years of independent reign can
realisticallybe assigned to Amenemope.
Pharaoh Osochor is reported by Manetho to
have held the throne for six years, but the only

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160

JARCEXXXIII (1996)

first hand reference is a damaged inscription interpretationof the evidence: the Year13 would
refer to Shoshenq I; Istemkheb C would have
referringto his second year.50There is no vestige
of his presence at Tanis, and his Libyan name
been alive eleven years after the death of Pinub(Osorkon) suggests that he may have belonged jem II, rather than twenty, and the deaths of
to the Bubastite family.51He may have been an
Nesitanebetasheru and Djedptahefankh would
uncle of Shoshenq I.52 In Table 3 Osochor is
have occurredwithin 2 yearsof each other rather
shownas preceding Shoshenq,but from the point
than 15. This revision also clarifies the 22nd
of view of chronology the question is almost irdynastic characteristics of Nesitanebetasheru's
relevant, since no more than two years of his
coffin, since the cultural shift would have taken
are
attested.
if
It
is
to
note
that
reign
interesting
place by that time.
HP Pinubjem II was succeeded by his son HP
Osochor did enjoy a six year chieftainship, this
that
Bubastite
was
first
Psusennes
II, of whose activities little is known.
chronology suggests
power
realized shortlyafter the death of Psusennes I.
On the death of Siamun the new pharaoh was
Siamun is one of the best-known pharaohs of
also named PsusennesII. Twopieces of evidence
the 21st dynasty and much evidence of his achave fueled a debate that these may have been
tivities at Tanis and elsewhere has survived.53 different individuals(PsusennesII and TIP). The
Manetho gives him nine years,a numberwhich is
firstargument,based on the reading of names on
emended
to
nineteen
on
the
basis
of
an
an inscription,has recentlybeen refuted by Dodgenerally
to
a
Year
17.54
For
the
son who showedthat the second name wasprobainscription referring
purof
it
is
to
use
valid
bly that of Shoshenq I.57The second is a piece of
pose
dead-reckoning
only
these attested 17 years.
linen referringto a Year5 during the pontificate
HP
the
successor
to
Smendes
of PsusennesII. Since Psusennes II became high
II,
II,
Pinubjem
is well known from copious epigraphs found at
Priest in Siamun's 10th year, it is argued that
Deir el Bahri where he was buried in Siamun's another Psusennes must have been involved.58I
10thYear.That collection has also yielded impor- propose that Year5 refers to Shoshenq I rather
tant information about his family relationships. than Siamun, thus removing the need for PsuHe had twowives,IstemkhebC and NesikhonsA.
sennes III. This also places a lower limit on ShoIt appears that the marriage to his second wife
shenq'saccessionby positioning his 5th year after
Siamun's 10th, which is reflected in the Table
Nesikhons was short, and that Istemkheb outlived them both. A bandage from the burial of a
above. The discoveryof the names of these phaof
and
Nesitaneraohs
on the same inscription supports this sugNesikhons,
daughter Pinubjem
betasheru, reads: "linen made by ... Istemkheb, gestion.59 Little is known of the activities of
in Year 13."55While this Year 13 could refer to
PharaohPsusennesII. With no building worksor
Siamun, Niwinskipoints out that the burial style decorations, nor mention in the genealogies, he
is typical of the early 22nd dynasty.He argues is "the merest shadow upon the stage of histhat Istemkheb outlived Pinubjem II by 20 years tory."60Not even his burial has been found. I
and that the burial took place during the reign
suggest that by the time of Siamun'sdeath Shoof Psusennes II.56He also mentions that Nesishenq was alreadythe dominant authorityin the
tanebetasheruwasprobablya wife of Djedptahef- land, at which time Psusennes II moved to Tanis
ankh who died in year 11 of Shoshenq I. My and faded to obscurity.We know virtuallynothrevised chronology allows a more comfortable ing about HP PsusennesII'sdeputies and successors in Thebes. The next attested High Priestwas
50 E.
Young,JARCE2(1963), 99-101.
Iuput, a son of Shoshenq I. I suggest that Iuput
51 Gardiner,
Egypt,323.
was
the direct successorto HP Psusennes II.
52
J. Yoyotte, Bulletin de la Societefrangaise d'Egyptologie77-

78 (1977), 39-54.
53 TIP,275-83.
54 On the basisof an
inscriptionfrom Year17. J. Cernyin
CAH311/2,647.
55 TIP,64.
56A.
Niwinski,/EA74 (1988), 226-30.

57
Dodson,/A 79, 267-68.
58 TIP,11-12.
59
Dodson,/A79, 268.
60 TIP,283-84.

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A CRITICAL REVIEW OF DEAD-RECKONING


Other Evidence
A number of marriages between the Tanite
and Bubastite families are recorded. Maatkare B
daughter of Psusennes II married Osorkon I, son
of Shoshenq I,61 and another daughter of Psusennes II, Tentsepeh B, married the priest Shedsunefertem, who served under Shoshenq.62 This
same priest also married a sister of Shoshenq.
These relationships are more easily accommodated by the chronology I propose. Conventional
dating requires a separation of two generations
between Psusennes II and Osorkon I, with the latter coming to power forty-eight years after Psusennes II first assumed office. My revision reduces
the time between the accession of Psusennes II
and Osorkon I to twenty years. None of this
conflicts with other evidence. Studies of other
officials of the period make it unlikely that there
was a great age difference between Psusennes II
and Shoshenq.63
A dedication
stela at Abydos records that
Shoshenq petitioned Amun asking to be associated with the pharaoh in the victory festivals; an
important step in Shoshenq's rise to power. It is
generally assumed that the pharaoh was Psusennes II.64 This, however, is not expressly stated,
and it may equally be assumed that it was Siamun.
Very little is known of Shoshenq's early years.
His famous campaign in Palestine took place
near the end of his life. This obscurity is more
easily understood if Siamun was on the throne
in Tanis for the first eleven years that Shoshenq
was aspiring to power (and counting) in Bubastis.
It is not known where Shoshenq established his
seat of power. Members of his family built at
Bubastis, and although his descendants settled at
Tanis, there is no sign of his presence there.65
There is thus no conflict with the suggestion that
he established his power-base in Bubastis while
Siamun and Psusennes II were still on the throne
in Tanis. There may have been rivalry between
Shoshenq and the reigning pharaoh: a fragment
from the priestly annals reads "Regnal Year 2 of
61 TIP,60.
62 TIP, 115-16.
63 Bierbrier, Late New
Kingdom,47.
64 TIP, 285-86.
65 D. B. Redford, Pharaonic
King-Lists, Annals and DayBooks (Mississauga, 1986), 309.

FROM THE 21ST DYNASTY

161

the Great Chief of the Ma, Shoshenq justified."


His name, given without cartouche, has an alien
determinative.66 While this may reveal slow acceptance of Shoshenq by the priesthood after the
death of Psusennes II, it could equally refer to resistance to the claims of this upstart Libyan during the reign of Siamun.
Priests and Burials
The genealogy of High Priests in Memphis
provides information of one of the only two families known to have bridged the 20th and 22nd
dynasties.67 Seven generations covered the period: Ashakhet A (contemporary with Amenemnisu) , Pipi-A and Harsiese-J (Psusennes I) , Pipi-B
(over the reigns of Psusennes I and Siamun),
the last
and Shedsunefertem,
Ankhefensekhmet,
being attested under Shoshenq I.68 Since in this
revised chronology only 6 years separate the accession date of Shoshenq and Siamun, it is perof priests
tinent to ask how four generations
could have served these two pharaohs. This can
be explained if Pipi-B's office ended near the
beginning of Siamun's reign while that of Shedsunefertem began near the end of Shoshenq's.
Ashakhet A was probably either appointed or
If the
died during the reign of Amenemnisu.
would have spanned
latter, three generations
the fifty to fifty-five years which separated the
reigns of Amenemnisu and Siamun. The average
of seventeen years per generation indicates a
succession of aged priests.69 This leaves two genfor
erations (Ashakhet B and Ankhefensekhmet)
the twenty-eight years of the reigns of Siamun
and Shoshenq I, or fourteen years each. This is
only one possibility: as Bierbrier points out, the
list itself was drawn up over a century after the
event, and could easily be in error.70
HP Iuput son of Shoshenq I, is attested in
Years 5, 10, and 11 on burial bandages of a third
priest of Amun, "King's Son of Ramesses" Djedptahefankh.71 Because this mummy was found
66 TIP, 288.
67 Bierbrier, Late New
Kingdom,45.
68 TIP, 115.
69 Bierbrier, Late New
Kingdom,48.
70 Bierbrier, Late New Kingdom,48.
71 TIP, 289.

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JARCEXXXIII (1996)

162

in the royal tomb at Deir el Bahri which had


been sealed in Siamun's 10th year, it has been
necessary to accept that the tomb was opened
35 years after its closure with no reason other
than to admit this single priest.72This revised
chronology allowsa simpler explanation. If Shoshenq's 11th year corresponded to Siamun'slast,
Iuput could have been appointed High Priest in
the year Djedptahefankhdied. The new dynastic
authorities might have welcomed the opportunity to open the tomb with the excuse of burying a priest with Ramessideconnections.
The induction of the priest Nespaneferhor is
recorded in the priestlyannals of Karnakin Year
2 of Osochor, and that of his son Hori in Year17
of Siamun.The next entry gives a Year13.73This
information can be more easily accommodated
if the second pharaoh was Shoshenq I rather
than Psusennes II. Conventionallyabout twenty
years separates the dates of the two inductions:
this number would be reduced to fifteen. In a
similar manner the gap between the latter two
entries would be reduced from fifteen years
(Siamun's 17th year to Psusennes II's 13th) to
two (Siamun's17th to Shoshenq's 13th).
The shabtis and Osiris figures found in the
burial caches at Deir el Bahri are another source
of information about the dynasty.This revised
chronology simplifies the complex relationships
between the figuresand the mummieswithwhich
they are associated.A couple of examples should
suffice:the shabtisfound with Masahartaburied
by conventional chronology ca 1030-1020 b.c.e.
around Year25 of Smendes, are of a type otherwise unknownbefore the reign of Amenemope.74
As discussed above I suggest that the pharaoh
under whom Masahartaserved was not Smendes
but Psusennes I. Using this revised chronology
Masahartawould have died ca. 980 b.c.e., and
Amenemope's reign would be ca. 955 b.c.e. The
gap between the date of burial and shabti style is
thus reduced from about forty to twenty-five
years. Another example concerns the common
TypeIC Osirisfigures found in the second cache
at Deir el Bahri which are associated with indi72 Gardiner,
Egypt,320; TIP, 289.
15 TIP, 203.
74 D. A. Aston,
JEA 74 (1991) 97.

vidualsburied by conventional dating over a 6585 year period. These include HenttawyB (mid
reign Psusennes) and Djedptahefankh.75The revised chronology reduces the lifetime of this figure type to about 35-45 years, without creating
conflict withvariationsin style during the period.
Conclusions
In this article I have argued that the standard
interpretationof the data from the 21st dynasty
is not incontrovertible. The evidence is better
served if the unknown pharaoh found in the references from the first part of the dynasty was
not Smendes but Pinubjem I. The alternate
chronology illustratedin Table 2 suggests a five
year reign for Smendes, and four for Amenemnisu, but logically the reigns of both Smendes
and Amenemnisucould be reduced to zero without affecting the outcome; in fact the distribution of epigraphs would look even better with
fewer gaps. The 21st dynasty could have been
founded by Amenemnisu, who might even have
come to power during the RenaissanceEra (except for a mention in the Memphite genealogies, Amenemnisu is unattested). It follows that
the actual period separating the mention of
Smendes by Wenamunand the accession of Psusennes to the throne is largelyguesswork.
In the second half of the dynastyI conclude
that the assumption of overlap between the 21st
and 22nd dynasties improves our understanding of the period. More specificallya best fit of
the data is obtained if the first year of Shoshenq I was contemporarywith Siamun'sYear6.
Since the length of Amenemope's reign may
have been no more than a couple of years, the
length of the dynasty after the death of Psusennes I could easily have been just eight years.
When this reduced dating is combined with the
unsubstantiatedyears earlier in the dynasty,it is
concluded that dead reckoning cannot support
a date for the end of the 20th dynasty higher
than about 1000 b.c.e. When in addition the
seventeen year spread between high and low
estimatesof the 19th and 20th dynastiesis taken
75 Aston

(1991), 102.

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A CRITICALREVIEWOF DEAD-RECKONINGFROMTHE 2 1ST DYNASTY


into account,76 it follows that dead-reckoning
cannot support an accession date for Ramesses
II above about 1200/1190 b.c.e., a century lower
than the conventional "medium"dating.
The objective of this paper has been to illustrate the limitations of the existing evidence. If
76
J. Cernyin CAH3,235-51, 606-16; TIP,533. Its length
cannot easily be extended beyond 211 years to compensate
for a removalof years in the 21st dynasty,since that action
would produce "severaloctogenariansand nonagenarians,"

163

indeed the Ebers papyrus does not provide a


trustworthyanchor, then one may realistically
ask whether the 12th century b.c.e. actuallyexisted. The onus of establishingabsolute dates for
the LBA falls therefore on other dating techniques such as historical synchronismsor archeometry. These may lead in turn to a resolution
of some or all of the troublesome lacunae which
exist in this period of history.
Hamilton, Ontario

Bierbrier, Late New Kingdom,112.

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