Skip to comments.Thera eruption in 1613 BC
Posted on 12/03/2008 4:12:12 AM PST by Mike Fieschko
Two olive branches buried by a Minoan-era eruption of the volcano on the island of Thera (modern-day Santorini) have enabled precise radiocarbon dating of the catastrophe to 1613 BC, with an error margin of plus or minus 10 years, according to two researchers who presented conclusions of their previously published research during an event on Tuesday at the Danish Archaeological Institute of Athens. Speaking at an event entitled "The Enigma of Dating the Minoan Eruption - Data from Santorini and Egypt", the study's authors, Dr. Walter Friedrich of the Danish University of Aarhus and Dr. Walter Kutschera of the Austrian University of Vienna, said data left by the branch of an olive tree with 72 annular growth rings was used for dating via the radiocarbon method, while a second olive branch -- found just nine metres away from the first -- was unearthed in July 2007 and has not yet been analysed.
The researchers said both olive tree branches were found near a Bronze Age man-made wall, giving the impression that they were part of an olive grove situated near a settlement very close to the edge of Santorini's current world-famous Caldera. The two trees were found standing when unearthed, and apparently had been covered by the Theran pumice immediately after the volcano's eruption.
According to the two scientists, other radiocarbon testing from archaeological locations on Santorini and the surrounding islands, as well as at Tel el-Dab'a in the Nile delta in Egypt, corroborate the dating based on the olive tree.
On the other hand, as the two researchers pointed out, archaeological evidence linked with the Historical Dating of Ancient Egypt indicate that the Thera eruption must have occurred after the start of the New Kingdom in Egypt in 1530 BC.
The two researchers said their find (olive tree) represents a serious contradiction between the results of the scientific method (radiocarbon dating) and scholarly work in the humanities (history-archaeology), with both sides holding strong arguments to support their conclusions.
The radiocarbon dating places the cataclysmic eruption, blamed for heralding the end to the Minoan civilisation, a century earlier than previous scientific finds.
The eruption and the subsequent devastation throughout the Aegean has long piqued researchers' interest, with many scholars pointing to Plato's reference of the "lost continent of Atlantis" on vague memories, passed down generation to generation in the ancient Greek world, of the catastrophe.
Caption: A view towards the west from the crescent-shaped Cyclades island of Santorini (ancient Thera) overlooks the Caldera and the rock isle in the middle, where the inactive volcano that erupted in early antiquity is located today.
I guess we know what happened to Atlantis now.
Or, it just means there was a large eruption prior to the catastrophic eruption that affected Egypt.
1700 BC Minoan Linear A script.
1700 BC Palace of Knossos on Crete.
1680 BC Hurrians occupy Assyria.
1600 BC Founding of the kingdom of Kush, Nubia.
1600 BC Shaft burials in Mycenae.
1600 BC Canaanite alphabet.
1595 BC King Mursilis of the Hittites sacks Babylon. Begin of Babylonian dark ages.
1550 BC Kingdom of Mittani is founded.
1523-1070 BC The New Kingdom of Egypt.
Thanks! It’s been posted before, but that was a few years ago.
Well if the scientific results are confirmed, it means that the Egyptologists have mislaid a century in there somewhere, right?
"Even when, during the respective Thera Conferences, individual scientists had pointed out that the magnitude and significance of the Thera eruption must be estimated as less than previously thought, the conferences acted to strengthen the original hypothesis. The individual experts believed that the arguments advanced by their colleagues were sound, and that the facts of a natural catastrophe were not in doubt... All three factors reflect a fantasy world rather than cool detachment, which is why it so difficult to refute the theory with rational arguments." -- Eberhard Zangger, "The Future of the Past: Archaeology in the 21st Century", pp 49-50.
ARCHAEOLOGY: New Carbon Dates Support Revised History of Ancient Mediterranean
Science Magazine | 4/28/2006 | Michael Balter
Posted on 04/27/2006 4:59:30 PM PDT by Lessismore
Olive branch solves a Bronze Age mystery
Yahoo/MSNBC (Science) | 3:04 p.m. ET April 27, 2006 | Kathleen Wren
Posted on 04/28/2006 8:59:40 AM EDT by The_Victor
How Old Tree Rings And Ancient Wood Are Helping Rewrite History
Science Daily | 10-27-2007 | Cornell University
Posted on 10/28/2007 11:05:05 AM PDT by blam
New Ice-Core Evidence Challenges the 1620s age for the Santorini (Minoan) Eruption
Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 25, Issue 3, March 1998, Pages 279-289 ^ | 13 July 1997 | Gregory A. Zielinski, Mark S. Germani
Posted on 07/29/2004 12:25:45 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Debate Erupts Anew: Did Thera’s Explosion Doom Minoan Crete?
International Herald Tribune | 10-23-2003 | William J. Broad
Posted on 10/23/2003 2:47:33 PM PDT by blam
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Thanks Mike Fieschko.
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University Rhode Island ^ | 8-23-2006 | Todd McLeish
Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892
Santorini eruption much larger than originally believed; likely had significant impact on civilization
KINGSTON, R.I. August 23, 2006 An international team of scientists has found that the second largest volcanic eruption in human history, the massive Bronze Age eruption of Thera in Greece, was much larger and more widespread than previously believed.
Would you mind citing your source for the caldera being over 100,000 years old? I’ve never read this before and I’m not doubting, just very curious. I would like more information.
Herodotus lived in the 5th century BC and the volcano in the middle of the caldera and lagoon, Nea Kamena, rose above the surface of the water in 196 BC, I believe.
I’ve visited Santorini several times now and it’s as stunningly scenic as its history is fascinating.
The Greek archeologist Spyridon Marinatos originally proposed Santorini as the probably source of the Atlantis legends. The most compelling explanation of the source of the Atlantis legend can be read in Graham Hancock’s “Underworld”. It was not Santorini (or the town of Hellike, as others have theorized).
David Rohl now believes that it was the eruption of 1160 B.C., not an earlier one, that wasted Crete and left pumice as far away as the Nile delta. The critical point is that according to discoveries made by Manfred Bietak at Tell ed-Daba (Avaris), Thutmose III must have been the ruling pharaoh, whenever it happened.
:’) There was a big eruption tracing to Thera 22,000 years ago, and (although no one can probably figure it out for sure) the big gap on the west side of caldera may date from that. In the book linked above (the Zangger title) that 22K year ago eruption generated pumice (I think it was, I don’t have the book here) found in Crimea (ditto). But anyway, it’s an old volcano. Some pumice which had been worked into some kind of artifact was excavated in Egypt (I think at Tell ed-Daba; a google search of FR for “Sturt Manning” will locate a post about this) had been assumed to be from Thera, but turned out to be from the Kos volcano, iow, 102K year old eruption. :’)
:’) Schorr, writing as Isaacson to avoid problems during his postgrad studies, noted that the old conventional 1500 BC date was referenced by Velikovsky, but due to the artifacts found under the eruption layer, the supposed supereruption would have to be dated centuries later. [”Some Preliminary Remarks about Thera and Atlantis” Israel M. Isaacson; followed by editors’ “A Reply to Isaacson”, KRONOS, Vol. I, No. 2, summer 1975]
The Greek archeologist Spyridon Marinatos originally proposed Santorini as the probably source of the Atlantis legends. The most compelling explanation of the source of the Atlantis legend can be read in Graham Hancock's "Underworld". It was not Santorini (or the town of Helike, as others have theorized).I agree, not Santorini, not Helike; also not Crete, not Anatolia (both Zangger and Peter James put Atlantis there), or that little island that succumbed to a tsunami during the Peloponnesian War. :')
The claims get ever-more inflated. Even the so-called end of the so-called Bronze Age has been attributed to the supposed Thera supereruption.
I used to correspond with Zanngger until he left Basil. His field is Geo-Archeology he has a different view on a lot of things ancient.
Thanks. From his writing, I have to agree, at least in a couple or three areas.
That is what I was thinking, but SunkenCiv sure doesn't go for this approach.
Then you’ll be pleased to know that there’s no “hard science” to support A) tsunamis in the Aegean in the 2nd m BC, or B) a supereruption of Thera in 2nd m BC (or the 1st m BC for that matter).
I lava that statement!
Here ya go:
[snip] ...carbonized “fava” beans from a mining installation between the villagesÂ of Akrotiri and Meghalochori. The latter sample was found in a large jug buried beneath a layer of pumice at the edge of the preciptous side of the caldera. It dated to 1420 - 1400 Â± 60 B.C. [end]
Pompeii, by contrast, was covered by thirty feet of ash.
Akroteri, a Minoan city on the south part of Thera, is being excavated. About 3-6 feet (1-2 m) of ash fell on the city which had a population of about 30,000. The residents appear to have been successfully evacuated prior to the eruption. No bodies have been found in the ash like those at Vesuvius. Archeologists also reported that movable objects had been taken from the city...
The Kameni Islands formed after the caldera. Eleven eruptions since 197 B.C. have made the two islands. The most recent eruption at Santorini was in 1950 on Nea Kameni, the northern island. The eruption was phreatic and lasted less than a month. It constructed a dome and produced lava flows.
Identification of Aniakchak (Alaska) tephraMinute shards of volcanic glass recovered from the 1645 ± 4 BC layer in the Greenland GRIP ice core have recently been claimed to originate from the Minoan eruption of Santorini [Hammer et al., 2003]. This is a significant claim because a precise age for the Minoan eruption provides an important time constraint on the evolution of civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean. There are however significant differences between the concentrations of SiO2, TiO2, MgO, Ba, Sr, Nb and LREE between the ice core glass and the Minoan eruption, such that they cannot be correlatives. New chemical analyses of tephra from the Late Holocene eruption of the Aniakchak Volcano in Alaska, however, show a remarkable similarity to the ice core glass for all elements, and this eruption is proposed as the most likely source of the glass in the GRIP ice core. This provides a precise date of 1645 BC for the eruption of Aniakchak and is the first firm identification of Alaskan tephra in the Greenland ice cores. The age of the Minoan eruption of Santorini, however, remains unresolved.
in Greenland ice core
challenges the 1645 BC date
for Minoan eruption of Santorini
Nicholas J. G. Pearce
John A. Westgate and Shari J. Preece
Warren J. Eastwood
William T. Perkins
The studies you cited were conducted in 1967 and 1977. By today's standards the accuracy or precision of the test methods used was primative. (What kind of computer did you use in 1977? I thought so.) Aside from significant improvements in the supporting analytical equipment there have been improvements in methodology. A breakthrough has emerged from recent research into the fluctuation patterns of the original 14C content of the Earths atmosphere over the past 50,000 years.
Science is not relying on radiocarbon dating and tree ring analysis alone. Since the studies you cited were conducted there have been dramatic developments in a range of other specialist dating methods. Some of these are more suited to dating rocks, ash and ejecta adjacent to your "fava" beans. Methods include potassium-argon dating, uranium series dating, fission-track dating, amino acid racemization, and archaeomagnetic dating. Of far more value with prehistoric archaeological remains are thermoluminescence (TL), optical stimulation luminescence dating (OSL), and obsidian hydration. The last of these is restricted to obsidian finds associated with volcanic activity, which form a surface hydration layer when exposed to air, the thickness of this layer corresponding with the length of exposure.
The RC dates were all conducted by the same lab. The fava beans (or as you put it “the ‘fava’ beans”, for no apparent reason) are a better example, because they had an origin obviously closer to the date of burial than, say, a tree. The main problem with RC dates on Thera has been that the soil is poor in C14 due to past volcanism (imagine that), such that stuff grown today will test hundreds of years too old.
All the rest of your reply is irrelevant to the dating of the *very small ash layer* that buried the town — supposedly during a super-eruption. And that’s what I thought we were discussing, apparently you were not. Goodbye.
I think your problem is that you do not observe scientific process. Rather than see where the data leads you have started with a conclusion and are seeking data to support it. Sounds like agenda driven junk science to me.
Surprisingly, I’ve done nothing of the kind. The delusion that Thera had a supereruption in historical times (the Minoans did have a writing system, and did leave archives, even if they can’t be read today) is a modern invention, with no scientific basis whatsoever. You would know that if you followed the data, instead of following the camp.
I’m researching the Theran Eruption and the idea that it wasn’t as big as it is propagated in mainstream sources is really interesting. It could help explain a lot of the problems in the archaeological and historical record. Especially the FACT that except for some minor inconvenience on Akrotiri the general Minoan culture didn’t suffer any great loss or fall around this time. If I was to believe what such a cataclysm would do to a maritime, insular culture there would be no Minoans left after it. Yet they went on pretty well before the continental Greeks invaded them.
Also, there is this neat diagram and in the centuries around 1700BCE there have been AT LEAST 35 major eruptions around the world. It’s been a hyper-active volcanic period. Google image “global temperatures 2500 BC”.
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