Apr. 20, 1961
Dear Rev. Sizemore:
I find in our Departmental files a letter from Dr. Velikovsky written on June 13, 1955 requesting objects from the Egyptian collection for Radio Carbon dating. There is also a letter from Professor Robert Pfeiffer, Curator of the Semitic Museum, Harvard University written in behalf of Dr. Velikovsky and also requesting objects. Dr. Hayes, Curator of the Egyptian Department replied to Dr. Pfeiffer that we could possibly provide organic samples datable to the New Kingdom if the request was made in his official capacity as Curator and in behalf of Harvard University as we are not allowed to give material to private individuals. Since I find no reply from Dr. Pfeiffer, I gather that the matter was dropped there.
Over the years during which the Radio Carbon method has been developed, all excavations in Egypt have been under the jurisdiction of the Egyptian Government and no objects have been released to foreign institutions with the result that datable material for Radio Carbon tests has been virtually nonexistent. . .outside of Egypt. And I do not know whether the Egyptian Department of Antiquities has conducted any tests. Excavated material from the earlier years when foreign excavators were allowed to take home 50 per cent of the finds is most often contaminated from handling, storing, exhibiting, etc., and it is not worth chancing the destruction of valuable objects only to produce valueless readings. In our particular case material from the Egyptian Expedition, which was conducted between 1906 and 1936, was given to the Institute of Nuclear Studies in 1947.
In the last two years the Egyptian Government has begun to offer excavation concessions to foreign countries in connection with the flooding which will occur when the new High Dam is completed at Aswan. If. then, there is a resumption of excavation activities, there is a good chance that reliable tests could be made not only in the period in which you are interested, but in all periods of Egyptian history. I hope the above will clarify the situation.
Sincerely, Virginia Burton