Publication details

Interception of earthquakes during period of crisis on LM IB Crete



Year of publication 2018
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description It’s been almost one hundred years since the scientists became fascinated by the decline of the Minoan civilization. During this period views on the causes of this decline were changing significantly. Evans´s original idea, that the destructive force of earthquakes was the reason to it, was refused in 1939 by Marinatos. According to him it was the disastrous eruption of the Thera volcano that destroyed the Minoan civilization, an event which Evans himself did not notice. Eventually new theories emerged. These theories claimed that humans caused the decline, not the natural disasters. The question was whether the destructions were caused by Greeks from mainland or by Minoans themselves. By merging these two theories a new one was born, claiming that the decline of the civilization was caused by the combination of all the factors - that means the forces of nature as well as the human activities. Nowadays it is considered by majority of scholars that the natural disasters alone could not be the sole cause of the annihilation of the Minoan culture. However, there are scientists who claim that single devastating earthquake occurred and destroyed sites across the island in the LM IB period. Their main argument is the assumption that the destructions occur at the same time throughout the island. Some archaeologists also believe that the earthquakes themselves did not cause destructions all over the island, even though there are sites where the destruction by earthquake was confirmed. On the basis of historical earthquake datasets and up to now discovered archaeological contexts, this paper attempts to evaluate the earthquake records in the archaeological contexts of the period of New Palaces in Central and Eastern Crete and subsequently attempts to interpret their influence on the decline of Minoan civilization during LM IB. Based on the results of the work, it is possible to say that there is currently no evidence to prove that there was a single devastating earthquake in this period that destroyed the settlements across the island and caused the decline of the Minoan civilization. These conclusions are based on direct evidence of the earthquakes recorded on individual sites as well as on the current views on the chronology of the LM IB period. It is more likely to be explained by the fact that during the LM IB several weaker earthquakes occurred which are traceable in the archaeological context. Evidence of these earthquakes was preserved probably not because the earthquake itself caused the destruction of the localities but because these sites were already in decline or abandoned at the time of the earthquake. Therefore, damage caused by earthquakes was not removed.
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