We're dealing with basically the entirety of Egyptology and Egyptian archaeology.
NOVA: Can you give us an example of a single aspect of material culture, from ancient Egypt that you might use as a starting point for dating the pyramids? All the pottery you find at Giza looks like the pottery of the time of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, the kings who built these pyramids in what we call the Fourth Dynasty, the Old Kingdom.
Rachel Wood does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
Australian National University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.
There are people who want them to be built by extraterrestrials, or inspired by extraterrestrials, or built by a lost civilization whose records are otherwise unknown to us. And in response to the evidence that we have for the time in which the pyramids are built, the criticism is often leveled at scholars that they're only dealing with circumstantial information. And sometimes we smile at that, because virtually all information in archaeology is circumstantial.
There are people coming from a New Age perspective who want the pyramids to be very old, much older than Egyptologists are willing to agree.
Throughout history, time has been defined in a variety of ways: by everything from the current ruler, or empire, or not defined at all.These various chronologies and their inherent inconsistencies, known as ‘relative dates,’ are a constant series of hurdles in the quest of historians and archaeologists to record mankind’s existence on earth.However, in the 1940s, the organization of time was transformed by the revelation of radiometric dating and the subsequent creation of a scientific chronology of humankind, known as ‘absolute dating’.Chances are, right now, you have a Gregorian calendar stuck to your wall.This calendar, with the months January through December, is a business standard used in many places round the world to define the year: one which hearkens back to Christian and Roman Imperial precedents.