Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol 1, No 1 (1988)

The Bronze Age Eruption of Thera: Absolute Dating, Aegean Chronology and Mediterranean Culture Interrelations

Sturt Manning
Issued Date: 21 Mar 2007


This paper presents and integrated chronological analysis of he archaeological, and other scientific evidence related to the absolute dating of the Bronze Age eruption of Thera, and of contemporary Aegean and Mediterranean cultures. The resulting composite interpretation is that the traditionally accepted date for the eruption ca. 1500 BC, and the traditionally accepted Aegean chronology, are both too low and must be reassessed significantly. In their place an 'earlier' eruption date, in the later 17th century BC, and a similarly 'high' ceramic absolute chronology, are proposed. The frost-ring date of ca. 1628-26 BC for the Thera eruption, suggested in 1984 by LaMarche and Hirschboeck, appears possible. These conclusions, requiring a revised 'high' Middle Minoan III to Late Minoan IIIA chronology are supported further by a statistical analysis of Middle Minoan III to Late Minoan IB Aegean radiocarbon dates (and now also by recently published Greenland ice-core and Irish tree-ring dates). In addition, such discussion may promote some rethinking of the synthetic interpretations of cultural relations between the second Millennium and Aegean and the outside world.

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DOI: 10.1558/jmea.v1i1.17


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