Originally identified by archeologists with Avaris, the capital of the Hyksos, or the much later city of Pi-Ramses, Tanis is now thought to have come into existence long afterwards, during the Third Intermediate Period (1070–664 BC). Confusingly for scholars, the founders of Tanis plundered masonry from cities all over the Delta (some predating the Hyksos, who had earlier usurped it). In 1939, Pierre Montet discovered the tombs of Psusennes II and Osorkon II, containing the “Treasure of Tanis”, which is now in the Cairo Museum. Perplexingly, it was soon noted that the tomb of the XXI Dynasty ruler Psusennes seems to have been built after that of Osorkon, who is supposed to have lived well over a century later, during the XXII Dynasty. In his book A Test of Time, British Egyptologist David Rohl argues that the two dynasties were actually contemporary, and that by assuming that they were sequential, archeologists have overestimated the duration of the Third Intermediate Period by at least 140 years – thus distorting the whole chronology of Ancient Egypt. Rohl uses his “new chronology” to try to match archeological evidence with events described in the Bible, but it should be said that most Egyptologists do not take his arguments seriously.

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