Articles to 2018-03-16

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On the one hand the widely diverging dates for the third Egyptian intermediate period seem to come down to the original identification of Shoshenq I with Shishak. Looking more closely, the whole of Schneider looks more like dedicated model tweaking towards a desired goal than like proof from independent and firm new data. It all comes down to Dever’s question of when the Biblical record was written, what the writers knew at the time, and from which sources.

While Schneider is of course convenient, he is not convincing enough to dismiss other constructs like James & van der Veen's 2015 – 9th century – making it possible to equate Shoshenq to the unnamed saviour of 2 Kings 13, 5. Deviating in the opposite direction, Finkelstein 2013 asks whether he may have been the Philistine sealing the demise of Saul. This view incidentally is compatible with Schneider when employing his residual leeway in the other direction away from Salomon.


In my parents' time physicists had to build most of their equipment themselves and lived with their experimental setups. They knew exactly what it was they were measuring and the limits of what it might mean. Nowadays measurement is easy and comes out of sealed grey boxes to an apparent precision of dozens of digits. Experimenters are in danger of losing all feeling and understanding of their subject matter. Price et al. are a timely reminder of the importance of asking questions before citing numbers and the meaninglessness of measurements as such, however precise they may happen to seem to be.


Tin arrived and was understood and used in Mesopotamia some time in the third millennium. Massa & Palmisano's map (figure 15) shows some intriguing tin sources without however naming sources, but more importantly they elucidate the old trade networks that may have enabled the innovation in the first place. This may prove to turn out the most promising avenue of research so far discussed.

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