A Test of Time: The Volcano of Thera and the Chronology and History of the Aegean and East Mediterranean in the Mid Second Millennium Bc
The great mid second millennium BC eruption of Thera has been the subject of intense popular and scholarly interest for many years. The effects of the eruption have been linked with the destruction of the Minoan palace civilisation of Crete, the legend of Atlantis and even the events described in the biblical accounts of Exodus. Scientists have studied the remains of the volcano, traced eruption products across the east Mediterranean, and sought evidence for a climatic impact in ice-cores and tree rings. At Akrotiri, archaeologists have unearthed a major prehistoric town which was buried by the erruption, finding multi-storey houses decorated with wonderful frescoes, full of ceramics and other finds linking this site with the contemporary civilisations of Crete, Greece, Anatolia, Cyprus, the Levant and Egypt. The eruption of Thera represents a special, clearly defined, moment in Agean history. If the eruption could be precisely dated, it would offer a unique linchpin for the study and synchronisation of the history of cultures of the region in the mid-second millennium BC. Furthermore, it would provide a key test for the historical chronology of ancient Egypt (as determined by two centuries of scholarship) and the derived archaeological chronologies currently employed in the Aegean and East Mediterranean. But the date of the Thera eruption is the one question which has remained stubbornly unresolved: the subject of intense controversy for a generation in both archaeological and scientific publications. Dates differ in current scholarship by over 100 years. The book seeks a resolution of the Thera date, Sturt Manning presents a review of current data, and interpretations and understandings of the evidence for the eruption date, from tree-ring data, ice cores, pottery typologies, radiocarbon and relative dating techniques, and proposes a new 'early' chronology for the eruption. A wide-ranging and extremely detailed book.
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A brief history of the Thera debate
Aims and Preliminary issues for this Study
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17th century BC Aegean Aegean chronology Ahmose Akrotiri Alalakh Amenhotep Amenhotep III archaeological argued Astrom Avaris Beckerath Betancourt Bichrome Ware Bietak calibration curve ceramic Chapter contemporary context correlation Crete Cypriot Cyprus dataset debate dendrochronology destruction discussion earlier early 18th Dynasty early WSI east Mediterranean eastern Egypt Egyptian chronology Eriksson errors eruption of Thera example frescoes GISP2 Hattusili Hattusili III Hittite Hyksos ice-core important Keftiu king Knossos Kommos Kuniholm late Hyksos later 17th century later MBII LCIA LCIB LHIIA LMIA LMIA period LMIB LMII LMIIIA1 low chronology Merrillees mid-16th century BC Minoan eruption Niemeier noted Palace phase Popham possible pumice radiocarbon calibration radiocarbon evidence Ramesses range reign of Tuthmosis relevant Ryholt samples second millennium BC sherd style Syro-Palestinian Tell el-cAjjul Tell el-Dabca tephra Thera eruption tomb Toumba tou Skourou tree-ring Tuthmosis III volcanic eruption Warren and Hankey WSI bowl Zielinski and Germani