March 2, 1964
Dear Friend, Professor Schaeffer:
I enclose here a copy of the letter that I have received from the University Museum in Philadelphia. As you see, the carbon age of Tutenkhamons tomb is ca. 250 years younger than its historical age and is placed half-way between 1360 (Iskander: 1343) and 840 where the reconstruction (Ages in Chaos) would place it. But one obvious factor is not incalculated in Ralphs figures-the age of wood when used. Dr. Iskander giving the three little pieces of wood to Mrs. Fuhr told her that in his opinion the wood had been not more than 30 years old when used: but how could he know?
First alternative-it is assumed that the wood was over 140 years old when used. 1030 minus 50 (margin of error) minus 140 (age of the wood) = 840 before the present era.
Second alternative—it is assumed that the wood used for the tomb was grown over 171 years after Tutenkhamons death. 1120 plus 52 (margin of error) plus 171 = 1343 before the present era.
The assumption for the first alternative is reasonable. In Egypt, even stone, less precious, was often re-used. The assumption required for the second alternative is unreasonable.
As you see the result of the Tutenkhamons probe practically disqualified the result of Setis specimen. Already when first published, it was supplied with Ralphs cautious remark as to the probability that the branch with Setis name was most probably re-used. The specimen you have supplied is not entered in Ralphs catalogue of Egyptian specimens because, most probably, there was not more than circumstantial evidence as to its dating in the reign of Merneptah.
There are no valid arguments anymore why the period in the Egyptian history from the end of the Middle Kingdom till the time of the Ptolemies should be excluded from most exhausting and repeated tests. Could you use your authority and influence in persuading the Louvre Museum to participate in such a program. To obtain results that would exclude the possible effects of global catastrophes (change in the influx of cosmic rays, invasion of fossil carbon into the atmosphere) and to tackle the chronological problem-the conventional and the reformed time-tables-some objects from the 9th century Assyria should be compared with the age of the Tutenkhamens wood. I have also some other plans and I am going to write about them to Professor John Wilson at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Let us persist!
Cordially yours, Immanuel Velikovsky