Academics are confident the oldest solar eclipse known took place on 30 October, 1207 BC, having used a combination of biblical text and ancient Egyptian text to establish it.
From their calculations, they have now determined the only annular eclipse visible at this time was on 30 October 1207 BC, in the afternoon.
The large granite block held in the Egyptian museum in Cairo, says that it was carved in the fifth year of Merneptah's reign and mentions a campaign in Canaan, in which he defeated the people of Israel.
Historians have previously used these two texts to try to date the possible eclipses, but not successful as they were only looking at total eclipses where the disc of the sun appears to be completely covered by the moon.
If their arguments are accepted, it would not only be the oldest solar eclipse ever recorded — but enable them to date the reigns of Ramesses the Great and his son Merneptah to within a year.
"Solar eclipses are often used as a fixed point to date events in the ancient world.