Hitherto, conventional chronology has placed the 18th. Dynasty in the time span of 1539-1295 BC. The fifteen pharaohs forming this dynasty are well recorded and are not disputed. However, the historical relationship between the Egyptians and Israelites has had to be refined more accurately.

In AD 1887, a peasant woman of Tell el-Amarna, nowadays a small village on the Nile and midway between Cairo and Luxor, dug up 380 clay tablets from beneath the floor of a ruined mudbrick house. They subsequently transpired to be part of the contents of the 'House of Correspondence of Pharaoh'. The majority of these letters were either from notables of the Levant or Pharaoh's own file copies of replies. They also included letters to both Akhenaten and his Queen Nefertiti. It seems that all these letters were lost when the then city of El Amarna was abandoned (for whatever reason) early in the reign of Tutankhamun.

 



These letters also contained reports of military campaigns in Canaan, including David's raids and his seizure of Jerusalem. One vital document helped to pin-point the death of Amenhotep III in 1012 NC. It was from Abimilku, King of Tyre, commiserating upon the death of Amenhotep. It went on to describe a disastrous fire in the palace archives of King Nikmaddu II at Ugarit (about 120 miles (200 km) up the coast from Tyre). Subsequent archaeological digs beside the palace ruins found a blackened tablet which described the total eclipse of the sun at sunset in April/May of that year, and which was watched by Nikmaddu and his priests.



Total eclipses of the sun occur at the same place, on average, every 360 years. Only once in recorded history has this happened near sunset. Advanced computer technology (by M.I.T.) has been able to calculate the exact time as 6.09 pm. on 9th. May 1012 NC, and 30 minutes before sunset. Clearly, therefore, Akhenaten must have succeeded Amenhotep that year. Consequently, it has been possible to bring forward the 18th. Dynasty's time span by as much as 345 years to 1194-952 NC.