We study the pottery and how it changes over the broad sweep, some 3,000 years.There are people who are experts in all these different periods of pottery or Egyptian ceramics. 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.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.“Trying to understand what happened in human history to lead people to establish this sort of polity we felt was a gap in understanding that needed to be filled.”1 Before the mid-twentieth century, Egyptologists came up with dates for Egyptian unification ranging from 5500 BC to 2000 BC.
They have been compiled from ancient king-lists on papyri and stone, and been enhanced by archaeological evidence.
Radiocarbon dating is the technique used to determine the age of an object by measuring its radioactive carbon concentration.
It is the most widely used scientific method for dating archaeological artefacts and contexts.
We find the bones of the people who lived and were buried in these tombs. But primarily we date the pyramids by their position in the development of Egyptian architecture and material culture over the broad sweep of 3,000 years.
So we're not dealing with any one foothold of factual knowledge at Giza itself.