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14 January 2016

Recent fieldwork at Knossos on Crete has found that during the Iron Age (1100-600BC) the town was rich in imports and was nearly three times bigger than believed from earlier excavation – go to www.uc.edu/news/NR.aspx?id=22648

This suggests Knossos revived from the collapse of Bronze Age Greece rather quickly (assuming 1100BC refers to the very early stages of the Iron Age, date immaterial). Knossos actually has a very long occupation life, going back 7000 years and through all the Bronze Ages. In the Iron Age it was a cosmopolitan hub – and probably was to a degree from year dot.  – www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/research/projects/knossos

At http://phys.org/print371391832.html … pre Columbian seafarers left mainland Panama 6000 years ago to settle on an island 50km away, according to Smithsonian archaeologist Richard Cooke. He asks – were they dolphin hunters or scavengers as a lot of dolphin and tiger shark remains have been found in midden heaps. Seasonal upwellings bring nutrient rich water to the Gulf of Panama and this attracts huge shoals of fish that are preyed on by dolphins, following them into shallow waters. They are therefore risking beaching themselves (hence the idea of scavengers as opposed to hunters on the sea). The  sharks in turn pursued the pods of dolphins and may also have beached – but less likely.

The odd thing, which is not over-played, is that these people disappeared after 800 years (around 3200BC) and were replaced a few  thousand years later by a completely different people with a different diet. What happened in S America in 3200BC? We know there was a rapid growth in mountain glaciers at that time that has been associated with a sudden onslaught of cold weather which in turn appears to be connected with a major low growth tree ring event. All across the world it was a period of migration and change, from Egypt and Sumeria to the Russian steppes and beyond. The fate of the seafaring islanders must go into this general mix.

Nowadays the 3200BC seems to have been shifted back to 3500BC as a result of calibration methodology. Therefore one has to be careful if you are reading old dates (pre recent) and new dates (on the back of the new methodology). Why they have to keep doing this is a mystery. Okay for a new students but for people used to using the old dates it can be confusing. The result of this is to distance the cultural changes from the tree ring anomalies – which says it all really.

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