April 17, 1961
Claude F. A. Schaeffer
Chaire dArcheologie de lAsie Occidentale
College de France
Dear Friend, Professor Schaeffer:
My last letter of February 25th raised once more the question: What is the result of the radiocarbon test on your Merneptah specimen? I have not heard from you. Here is an issue on which we agreed long ago to test the accepted chronology. You first wrote me in July 1956, five years ago almost, and these are your words:
I offer you gladly the material I have from dated Ras Shamra levels of the time of Amenophis III, IV (Akhnaton), and Ramses II. I could send it over to you for analyses by radiocarbon or. better, you come to collect it in Paris. Your dating could thus be proved or disproved. The lowering of the accepted chronology by 5 to 7 centuries is perhaps not impossible, but seems at tile present state of our knowledge improbable. But tests as you suggest (Earth in Upheaval, p. 278) would decide.
Since then I have not left you in peace. Even from my hospital bed in Haifa after surgery I wrote you reminding you your spontaneous offer you made me upon reading my Forum Lecture before the Graduate College of Princeton University, printed as a supplement in Earth in Upheaval, with the challenge that radiocarbon on New Kingdom in Egypt should be performed.
Finally in July and August of 1960 you let me know that material is being processed in Philadelphia. You expected the answer by the end of the year (1960). I have not heard from you save in the letter of February 10th that there is no answer yet from Philadelphia. In the meantime it transpired that more than one sample dating from the New Kingdom was examined—also in Chicago—and no test was ever published, apparently under pretext of a suspicion of contamination by carbon of other epochs. It [would be] a great service to science if all these contaminated cases were made public and thus subjected to scrutiny: Is not a single pattern in the age-displacement?
As long ago as 1950 the Metropolitan Museum of Art sent to Dr. Libby specimens of the New Kingdom; but in eleven years a period of 1350 years in conventional history (-1680 to -330) remained excluded from published results of radiocarbon. Lately, one strange case with a cartouche of Seti I was made known.
Here is a case for you to go to the roots of the issue. Then also you may know whether Velikovsky was right or wrong in a problem that cannot be foreign to you. . .
One of the most amazing spectacles that I have observed is this: Those very men who observed and described the great catastrophes fall back and defend the theory of uniformity with even greater jealousy than their colleagues who never wavered and never were even tempted to question the ever harmonious run of centuries. Here is the case of Professor F. Rainey, presently with the University of Pennsylvania; him I quoted on p. I of Earth in Upheaval and please look up: Wide cuts, often several miles in length are sliced by giant machines in Alaska; Thismuckcontains enormous numbers of frozen bones of extinct animals such as the mammoth, mastodon, super-bison and horse (Rainey).
I am in the possession of a letter by Prof. Rainey, whom I just quoted, and it was written to one of my readers. But how different from his own observations. The idea of great catastrophes is entirely strange to him and he asserts that Velikovsky was completely disproven by radiocarbon especially in Egyptian chronology which was proven very exact and many times so in their laboratory and in many other places. Do you know why such proofs were not made public? According to Rainey, the idea they had at the Museum (Penn. University) to write a collective work against Velikovsky is no more necessary, and was dropped. . .
Dont let the people at Philadelphia pass on another test without a public report or even a report to you. Although in my lecture I did not deal with Ages in Chaos and with the problem of chronology, but it is a high time to disclose the results of radiocarbon tests on objects dating from the New Kingdom. Apseudoscientistdemands, now for eight years, a laboratory test of his theory: the true scientists evade the issue supplying instead personal evaluations of their opponent. . .
Cordially, Immanuel Velikovsky