Monday, February 12, 2007

New chronology proposed for Minoan civilization


I think the Minoans and their connection to early Greek civilizations are fascinating so I was particularly interested in a new chronology put forth recently:

"It’s generally thought that these cultural developments in the eastern Mediterranean occurred during the 16th century B.C., along with the New Kingdom period in Egypt, when Egypt expanded its influence into western Asia.

The new studies suggests that these developments probably took place instead during the preceding “Second Intermediate Period,” when Egyptian power was weak and a foreign Canaanite dynasty even conquered northern Egypt for a while.

According to the new chronology, the Late Bronze Age civilizations in the Aegean and on Cyprus may have developed in association with 18th- and 17th-century Canaanite and Levantine civilizations and their expanding maritime trade world. These cultures were very different from the Egyptians’ in terms of culture, language and religion.

For more than a century, archaeologists have developed the chronology for this region by painstakingly comparing the various civilizations’ artifacts and artistic styles, such as how spirals were painted on pots or how metalwork was done. To pin the cultural periods to calendar dates, they then linked them to the accepted dates for the Egyptian pharaohs.

Since the 1970s, scientists have been measuring radiocarbon dates from the same areas, which don’t match with this artifact-based timeframe. Because of uncertainty about the dating methods, however, the radiocarbon results haven’t been convincing enough to overturn the archaeologists’ conclusions."