May 14th, 1975
Mr. G. B. Morris
Dear Mr. Morris,
Thank you for taking the time and the trouble to answer my letter about radiocarbon dating of putative XVIIIth Dynasty material. Are you not, however, begging the question rather than resolving it? As I understand it, Tutankhamuns tomb had never been disturbed, by robbers or anyone, until it was discovered; presumably all the precious contents were most carefully catalogued. Surely, then, you either knew or you did not know, already, whether those palm kernels (etc.) came from the tomb; the question of their origin - if it was really in doubt - quite obviously could not be resolved by dating. Contemporaneity would be the utmost that radiocarbon dating or any other method, indeed could possibly prove.
I suggest that there were no serious doubts about the origin of the material UNTIL the results of radiocarbon dating.
One can only suppose that so much painstaking scholarship and so many reputations are bound up with accepted ancient Egyptian chronology that the archeological Establishment will go to almost any lengths to preserve it intact; anything that doesnt fit palm kernels or whatever is quickly jettisoned.
But what about those chips of Cedar-of-Lebanon from Tutankhamuns casket? As you are no doubt aware, radiocarbon dating showed that the wood could not have started to grow as a sapling for at least two centuries after Tutankhamuns death. On the other hand, if Tutankharnun actually died about 850 B.C. and was buried with the palm kernels , the Cedar-of-Lebanon used for his casket could easily have been two centuries old or more at that time.
Im afraid I still think suppression is rife in this field, but the truth cannot be suppressed indefinitely.