As he told Discovery News, “It suggests that several segments of the composition were probably not the creation of Hermopolitan theologians, but had rather longer history of transmission before they were chosen to be used as coffin decorations.” The newly found manuscript is a few inches longer than the previous record-holder, an 8-foot long, 2,400-year-old, prenuptial agreement, written on papyrus, which detailed the financial agreements between the families of a soon-to-be-married couple.
The timing and pattern of this colonization event has been poorly resolved, with chronologies varying by 1000 y, precluding understanding of cultural change and ecological impacts on these pristine ecosystems. We show that previously supported longer chronologies have relied upon radiocarbon-dated materials with large sources of error, making them unsuitable for precise dating of recent events.
In a meta-analysis of 1,434 radiocarbon dates from the region, reliable short-lived samples reveal that the colonization of East Polynesia occurred in two distinct phases: earliest in the Society Islands A. ∼1025–1120, four centuries later than previously assumed; then after 70–265 y, dispersal continued in one major pulse to all remaining islands A. Our empirically based and dramatically shortened chronology for the colonization of East Polynesia resolves longstanding paradoxes and offers a robust explanation for the remarkable uniformity of East Polynesian culture, human biology, and language.
That is, to accept only those dates that () are capable of providing a calibration that is close to the “true” age of the actual target event (i.e., human activity).
One approach is to evaluate dates within their individual and comparative stratigraphic levels according to criteria of “chronometric hygiene” (11, 12) and build from those results toward a regional overview; but this method can be subjective, and it is impractical when dealing with very large databases, as is the case here.
Models of human colonization, ecological change and historical linguistics for the region now require substantial revision.
During the last prehistoric expansion of modern humans, Polynesians from the Samoa-Tonga area dispersed through more than 500 remote, subtropical to subantarctic islands of East Polynesia (a cultural region encompassing the islands of New Zealand, Chathams, Auckland, Norfolk, Kermadecs, Societies, Cooks, Australs, Gambier, Tuamotu, Marquesas, Line, Rapa Nui, and Hawaii), an oceanic region the size of North America (Fig. The timing and sequence of this expansion, debated vigorously since Europeans rediscovered the islands of East Polynesia (1, 2) and most intensively with the advent of radiocarbon dating (3, 4), remains unresolved. This analysis shortened East Polynesian prehistory just at the time when accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating became available for very small samples (e.g., individual seeds).The manuscript also features several drawings that have not been seen previously on any other known monuments.The drawings are believed to predate by 1,000 years those found in the Egyptian “Book of the Dead,” another, more famous ancient funerary text that dates from the beginning of the New Kingdom (around 1500 B. Sherbiny believes that this version of the Book of Two Ways may predate or be more an even more extant version of the Book than other examples of the text, most notably those found within coffins at an Upper Egyptian site now known as Hermopolis, and known to the Egyptians as Khemeu or “town of the eight gods.” While many Egyptologists consider the Hermopolis illustrations the creation of local priests, Sherbiny believes that the discovery of the older, more detailed Egyptian Museum manuscript indicates the opposite.That makes it one of only seven such manuscripts to have survived to the present day—and the only one on leather; the other six are on papyrus.While leather was considered a more prestigious material, making it the ideal choice for a religious text, it is much less durable and highly susceptible to damage from Egypt’s dry climate.We first categorized all radiocarbon-dated materials into one of six sample material types: short-lived plant, long-lived plant, unidentified charcoal, terrestrial bird eggshell, bone, and marine shell (Fig. Dates on these materials were then sorted into reliability classes, according to whether there was potential for any disparity between the age of the radiocarbon event (i.e., Fig. Calibration probabilities were then calculated for the subset of reliable dates to derive the most precise (within radiocarbon calibration error) estimate for the age of initial colonization on all East Polynesian island groups (.