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Thera and Crete

24 August 2012

At www.minoanatlantis.com/LM_IB_Destruction.php … some interesting information. LMIA and LMIB represent the zenith of Minoan civilisation, we are informed, with trade contacts to Egypt and the Levant etc. However, it all came to a sticky end, quite suddenly – blamed on the eruption of the Thera volcano (Santorini). Locations on the northern coast of Crete were severely affected by tsunami waves. Malia, for example, was almost scoured down to its foundations by the force of the wave or waves. In contrast, in the south of Crete and at inland urban areas, the water did not reach them, and they were left intact – Knossos, Vassiliki etc. In addition, relatively little ash from the volcano actually fell on Crete. At the end of LMIB the entire Minoan civilisation was subject to a massive destruction by fire – right across central and eastern Crete. The blog author thinks it happened at the same time as the volcano. It was an overwhelming catastrophe – destruction by fire consumed Ayla Tralia, Gournia, Palaikastro, Petras, Phaistos, and numerous other sites. The conflagration came without warning by an unknown cause. People on the island of Santorini had time to evacuate but on Crete they did not. Science has been unable to definitively explain what caused the conflagration – many sites were abandoned forever.

The object of the blog or web site author is to disassociate the eruption of Thera from the end of LMIA and places it at end of LMIB so that it is contemporary with the conflagration. Obviously, archaeologists have argued over this and a lot of the arguments have been based on pottery sequences, and the idea that LMIB pottery, with its depictions of marine animals, came after the eruption – and the tsunami. I don't know if the recent Japanese tsunami washed up lots of sea creatures – but it is feasible. The author is forced to suppose the evacuees from Santorini took their valuables, including the LMIB pottery, with them, which is perhaps a weak argument. Apart from that he has a good theory, a pyroclastic surge, a gas bloom of superheated dry steam generated by the volcano. He also argues from C14 dates from the olive tree buried in tephra on Santorini, providing a date of around 1627BC. This subject has been addressed elsewhere and it is not worth repeating the arguments. Suffice to say it is not entirely settled.

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