First, if you are looking for the free resources, scroll down below this article to the three columns containing the links to the freebies. If you would like to read my pre-commentary–stay right where you are. 😉
If you have ever played the game “Pick Up Sticks” you may have some idea of how difficult it is and has always been for historians and archaeologists to sort out the chronology of ancient Egypt. Though many scholars would love us to believe that they have had it sorted out for years, this is simply not true when you look at the Biblical narrative of the Old Testament as potentially historically accurate.
Therefore, before I give you links to some fantastic resources about history and archaeology I want to give you some food for thought about the subjective science of archaeology and why it is important for Christians to look at the chronology of Egypt outside of conventional thinking.
David Rohl, an English Egyptologist and historian has upset the apple cart when it comes to traditional dating, and with good reason. Rohl, who isn’t a Christian as far as I know, has this to say about his changing of the traditional chronology–“Is the Old Testament history or myth? The only way to answer that question is to investigate the biblical stories using the archaeological evidence, combined with a study of the ancient texts of the civilisations which had a role to play in the Bible story. But this has to be done with an open mind. In my view the biblical text – just like any other ancient document – should be treated as a potentially reliable historical source until it can be demonstrated to be otherwise.” The Lost Testament, Pg. 3
That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Well, Rohl’s research and subsequent conclusions have the archeological and historical community in a bit of an uproar. It appears the Bible is the exception to the rule when it comes to being examined objectively.
The funny thing is, the conventional dates were set long before many of the more current archeological discoveries were even made. We have much more information now to corroborate the Biblical account.
In addition, the traditional chronology for Egypt was set based largely on the writings of an ancient historian, Manetho, whose writings we do not even possess. His list of dynasties was quoted by Josephus (an ancient Jewish historian in the first century AD) and, though the dynasties existed, it is widely recognized that we may have been mistaken in assuming these dynasties were laid end to end as history goes and that they instead, were often happening simultaneously.
Considering the Egyptians did not mark time the way we do, but rather by the year of the reign of any given king, it is easy to see how confusing it could be to get an accurate understanding of which dynasties existed at a specific point in time.
In addition to the problem of Manetho are the many discrepancies in the traditional dates. For instance, only 21 or less lunar month lengths are recorded in 12th dynasty contracts during the conventional dates, when there should be 39. In Rohl’s revised chronology astronomers can confirm 37 lunar month lengths mentioned in the 12 dynasty list of kings. This list can be found on temples in Abydos and Saqqara, thus making the 12th dynasty the most stable in terms of what we know to be true about its chronology.
I am not a scholar and have only scratched the surface of the issues surrounding chronology but I would encourage you to do your own research and keep an open mind yourself about the possibilities. The archaeological evidence for the veracity of the Old Testament is piling up!
With this information in mind, the following links will give you a head start on some fascinating resources for teaching ancient history. I hope you enjoy diving in and sparking the interest of your children as you take a peak into the past.
This free e-book introduces educators and students to Greek art from the pre-historic times to the Classical Era. Designed to give an overview of the history and culture of the Greeks, as well as show the beautiful art pieces of these eras, this is a fantastic resource for anyone teaching ancient history.
This online book (it can’t be downloaded but you can view it in the Google search engine) is a collection of art from Israel compiled by the art museum curators in Jerusalem. Over 200 pieces are shown, with descriptions of the history, culture and religious implications of each work of art. If you have a google account you can save this resource and bookmark it to refer back to later. To do this, open the resource online, click add to my library, and choose your favorite option in the drop-down menu.
Being so interested in home remedies and using the resources God gave us in nature whenever possible to treat and cure disease, ancient medicinal art is a fascinating topic for me. This is one of the freebies on the Met Art Museum’s site that really excites me. From a teaching perspective, you can learn so much by researching how cultures dealt with disease and injury. I can’t wait to fully dive into this one!