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Gene Green





Joined: 13 Mar 2007

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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 3:38 pm    Post subject: The "Catastrophe" of 1200 BC         Reply with quote

Most of you have probably read about the subject and know much more about it than I do.

Around 1200 bc, in a very short time period (about 10-20 years IIRC) virtually every major city in the East Mediterranean was conquered and practically annihilated - destroyed kingdoms of Hittites, Mycenae, Ugarit and many others, and the killing and devastation were so massive that whole cultures literally ceased to exist, in some cases even basic literacy was lost for generations (or so is claimed) and it sometimes took centuries for strong cities to develop once again.

I was looking for some references to who caused it (surprisingly, very little seems to be known). I did stumble upon several mentions of a book by Robert Drews. It seems he claims that the destroyed civilizations based their military strength on armies of chariots, and that by 1200 bc new tactics were developed (use of skirmishers, pikes, Neue II type swords are some things mentioned) and these tactics suddenly spelled doom for chariot based armies.

This doesn't make much sense to me. It seems this wouldn't be a revolutionary new technology, just some improvements over existing technology and tactics, and it's unclear why all of a sudden this would lead to the collapse of many very strong states and fortresses over such a short time. (Besides, I fail to see how you protect a fortified city with an army of chariots. Surely they all had infantry, archers, fleet etc.)

I'm really interested to learn more about this event, about this theory, and views on both. Obviously, MyArnoury is probably one of the best places to learn such things !
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Kimon Andreou




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 4:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Coincidentally, this period coincides with the start of the iron age in the region....
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Mike Prendergast





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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 5:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have not heard of such an abrupt and huge event in this period, but I do have a parallel in a larger disaster 400 years earlier...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_eruption

The second largest volcanic explosion in human history occurred at the Greek island of Thera (modern Santorini) in the mid second millennium BC.

Though dated to approx. 1630 BC, this was a cataclysmic event for the civilisations surrounding the Mediterranean basin and is associated with the fall of the Minoan civilisation. It is even a popular theory that this event is the source of the Atlantis legend - a great empire fallen beneath the sea all of a sudden (at least ravaged by tsunamis and with crops destroyed by volcanic ash).

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5287124.stm
www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/santorini.html


I would be interested to hear of your sources of info on the 1200BC event
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Gene Green





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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Prendergast wrote:
I have not heard of such an abrupt and huge event in this period, but I do have a parallel in a larger disaster 400 years earlier...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_eruption

The second largest volcanic explosion in human history occurred at the Greek island of Thera (modern Santorini) in the mid second millennium BC.

Though dated to approx. 1630 BC, this was a cataclysmic event for the civilisations surrounding the Mediterranean basin and is associated with the fall of the Minoan civilisation. It is even a popular theory that this event is the source of the Atlantis legend - a great empire fallen beneath the sea all of a sudden (at least ravaged by tsunamis and with crops destroyed by volcanic ash).

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5287124.stm
www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/santorini.html

I would be interested to hear of your sources of info on the 1200BC event


Just do a search on the web for "1200 BC catastrophe". There's tons of pages popping up. It's even mentioned in the manual to the Microsoft's Age of Empires - Ist edition game.

I am aware of the Minos, and also Mycenae (this one happened right in that 1200 bc time). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycenae and scroll down to "Decline". However these two events were local, the destruction was much more widespread than that.
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Myles Mulkey





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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 7:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is fascinating. I was not aware of any catastrophic event taking place. I had heard that the Iron Age began in these places because the trade and distribution of tin suffered greatly. Since tin is basically what turns copper into bronze, any disruption in its trade would also disrupt the production of bronze. Perhaps this trade disruption is related to the disappearance of these cultures. From what everyone else has said though, it just seems like there were alot of bad things happening all at once. I doubt I could have kept up...
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Mike Prendergast





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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 10:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yup, having looked around, I've certainly found plenty of references to the 1200BC catastrophe!

Including an interesting one...

www.ucd.ie/archaeology/news/1200bc/

This is the introduction to a conference on the topic. Interestingly it suggests there was widespread disruption beyond the East Mediterranean, including in Eastern Europe:

'Even though we do not have documentary sources for cultures north of the Danube, it is
clear from the emerging archaeological evidence of warfare, weapon
technology and usage, site destructions and changes in settlement patterns,
that the 1200 BC period is indeed one of immense cultural disruption'

It seems the aim of the conference was to go beyond what happened and look for overall causative factors. i.e. not just what peoples invaded and caused the disaster, but also why they were on the move. Of course you'd need to get at the conference findings to get answers and so far I haven't been able to locate them.

Elsewhere I see someone's published a book suggesting earthquakes as a cause, but I don't know on what evidence...

www.nature.com/nature/journal/v452/n7188/full/452689a.html


It's definitely an interesting topic!
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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 12:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There seem to be more reasons for this beyound mere military action - namely, accordingly to some researchers, the time coincides with the climate changes, bringing more dry weather which was literary catastrophic for the agriculture, causing famine and making it highly problemetic to support the cities like Mycenae that relied on surrounding lands for nourishment. It is interesting how often and how drastically the human history is affected by seemingly minor changes in the climate (only a few degrees of yearly average).
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Bill Tsafa




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 12:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Prendergast wrote:
I have not heard of such an abrupt and huge event in this period, but I do have a parallel in a larger disaster 400 years earlier...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_eruption

The second largest volcanic explosion in human history occurred at the Greek island of Thera (modern Santorini) in the mid second millennium BC.

Though dated to approx. 1630 BC, this was a cataclysmic event for the civilisations surrounding the Mediterranean basin and is associated with the fall of the Minoan civilisation. It is even a popular theory that this event is the source of the Atlantis legend - a great empire fallen beneath the sea all of a sudden (at least ravaged by tsunamis and with crops destroyed by volcanic ash).

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5287124.stm
www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/santorini.html


I would be interested to hear of your sources of info on the 1200BC event



Last I herd The Thera Eruption was the largest in human history. 10 times larger the Krakatau based on ash finding that stretch from the Black Sea to Egypt. It probably dates back to 1600 bc but geologic dating can often be off by many years. This explosion Distoryed the Minion colony at Thera and the subsequent tidal waves and tsunamies cased devastation on Create. It certainly would have destroyed the shipping fleet that was the power or the Minoan Civilization and left a void that was later filled by the Myceans on mainland Greece. The Minoan Civilization was the most likely Atlantis that Plato and Solon mention. Solon learned of Atlantis in his travels to Egypt and described the amazing advances such as interior toilets with running water. There is a place in Egypt with Hieroglyphs that mention this advanced civilization in detail as Plato describes it. It was called Ketchum (or something like that) and it was the Egyptian word for the Minoan Civilization.

The Thera Eruption happened about the same time as the Moses story in Egypt so that may also explain a lot of anomalies and social unrest down there. When you think about it such powerful geological activity that spanned from the Black Sea to the Nile is the sort of thing that would myths and legends would grow out of.

1200 bc is probably just after the Trojan War at the height of the Mycean Civilization in Greece. It probably represents the Dorian Invasion. Little is known about this. It was once thought to have been an invasion from the north but now there is speculation that it may have been an uprising. It has been suggested that this uprising or invasion may be connected to absence of the Nobility for a long period of time while at Troy. This started the Greek Dark Age where writing (Linear B) was lost . The Dark Ages lasted from about 1200 bc to about 800 bc.

Kimon Andreou wrote:
Coincidentally, this period coincides with the start of the iron age in the region....


This is obviously significant too as well as the continued domestication of horses. Prior to 1200 I believe they only used horse drawn chariots as archery platforms. At some point they around there they started mounting horses. This must have been a shock to many who thought the man and horse were one animal and thus the rise of the Centar legend. We know that they had forgotten how chariots were used by 700 bc when the Iliad was first put the paper. In the Iliad, as it come down to us, the Chariots are used mainly as taxis to get to the battlefield and fight on foot. We know chariots were used as Archery Platforms in Anatolia (Turkey), from other sources.

No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 1:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sure Matthew Amt will chime in on this, but here's a link to what he has to say on the subject:
http://www.larp.com/hoplite/chronology.html
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Boyd C-F




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 2:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its a long time since I have studied the classics and earlier but recently on one of NZ's Sky History or Doco channels (I suspect they would have shown overseas as well! Wink ) they reviewed the damage of Crete using info from the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia based on the eruption in Thera/Santori and the damage was obscene, however this occured in 1600-1500 BCE. In some sites the damage residue was situated much, much higher than the original settlement (sorry it was a while ago and I don't remember the exact figures, something makes me think 30m but it seems phenomenal - ok this makes me feel better about my memory! - " The initial wave in the generation region at Santorini that best fits the stratigraphic data is a wave with +35 to -15 m initial amplitude and a crest length of about 15 km"

Judging on how much of an impact the mini/little ice age of the 1350-ish-1850-ish had on world history perhaps an event such as the Thera eruption may have started a power struggle for domination. Surely any race that somersaulted over bulls and had topless chicks, sorry I mean ladies with a healthy breast appreciation, would have kicked ass!

here's a few sites after googling the topic: some seemingly more "colourful" than others...

www.drgeorgepc.com/TsunamiSantorin.html
http://cio.eldoc.ub.rug.nl/root/2008/JArchaeolSciBruins/
http://discovermagazine.com/2008/jan/did-a-ts...vilization
http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showflat.php/Cat/0...n/0/page/2
http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2006AM/finalprogram/abstract_111872.htm
http://cio.eldoc.ub.rug.nl/FILES/root/2008/JA...Bruins.pdf

enjoy

Boyd
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hooo, yup, I'm here! This is a HUGE topic, or rather several huge topics all wrapped together. We've discussed it some on the Bronze Age Center (an even better place for such topics!),

http://z8.invisionfree.com/Bronze_Age_Center/...wtopic=276

There is also a more likely explanation for the so-called "sea peoples",

http://z8.invisionfree.com/Bronze_Age_Center/...wtopic=117

In short, yes, the Catastrophe does seem to have been very real and VERY wide-spread, though there does not seem to be enough evidence to it all to a single cause. It could easily have been a chain of events, or a chain reaction of events, and it could have taken longer than a couple decades. Note that on many Mycenaean sites, the citadels have been sacked and burned, but the surrounding town shows little damage. They also had a tendency to build a temple right on top of the original Mycenaean palace, which I find very interesting.

None of the sites examined so far show evidence of earthquake damage at the Catastrophe destruction level. There is often fire damage, but no human remains, and no valuables--both of which should have been buried in the rubble by such a cataclysm. Similarly, if climate change is related, it's more likely because warming trends tend to lead to bursts of prosperity and population explosions, hence more people to go on the move looking for someone else's crops to eat.

Drews' book has a lot of good information, and his ideas are intriguing, but don't necessarily hold water. Chariot archers were indeed the main force of many Bronze Age armies, and early on the infantry forces seem to have been pretty ineffective. Clearly that started to shift at some point, with more effective infantry including nobles fighting on foot. Not sure I can really get much farther into it, though, since it's been a long time since I read his book!

On a related issue, yes, the dates are ALL messed up! You have to knock about 300 years off all the dates, so the Catastrophe actually happens around 900 BC, pretty much eliminating the "Dark Ages". Here's the definitive site and book:

http://www.centuries.co.uk/

Every historian who has worked in this era has noted with puzzlement and confusion that EVERY detectable aspect of culture in the 9th century BC is indistiguishable from that of the 13th century. In fact those strata on archeological sites are either immediately adjacent or even mixed, with no intervening levels. For example, at Mycenae there was a "13th century" Cyclopean wall built OVER a tenth century grave! There are NO stratified finds from the "Dark Ages", nor any documentable strata, for that matter. Granted, in some areas, confused or fragmentary levels are arbitrarily assigned to the Dark Ages, and it's a convenient dump for some artifacts. There are numerous artifacts that have been dated to both c. 900 and c. 1200 based on which feature is being looked at... This affects practically every culture and site west of India, because all the absolute dates are based at least in part on the Egyptian King List, which has been artificially stretched.

At the moment, I tend to agree that the Trojan War was part of the whole Catastrophe, in some way. Most "orthodox" modern dates place the Trojan War between 1150 and 1050, but knock a few centuries off that and you get very close to the usual date for the life of Homer! In other words, he may very well have lived within a lifetime of the events he records.

Lower the dates, really! Everything suddenly makes sense when you chop out the "Dark Ages" and close up the gap. All the scientific evidence points that way.

Khairete,

Matthew
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 10:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Chariot archers were indeed the main force of many Bronze Age armies, and early on the infantry forces seem to have been pretty ineffective. Clearly that started to shift at some point, with more effective infantry including nobles fighting on foot.


Wasn't the Egyptian army largely infantry-based, though? Their chariots were employed rather like cavalry in the gunpowder age, serving to either disrupt the enemy prior to the primary blow by the shock infantry or to deliver the coup-de-grace to an enemy already weakened by friendly infantry. There's some speculation that this was one reason why Egypt survived the cataclysm, but I'm not too convinced by it since I'm not convinced by the theory that puts a tactical revolution as the sole or primary cause of the catastrophe either.
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Bill Tsafa




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 12:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Matthew Amt wrote:
Chariot archers were indeed the main force of many Bronze Age armies, and early on the infantry forces seem to have been pretty ineffective. Clearly that started to shift at some point, with more effective infantry including nobles fighting on foot.


Wasn't the Egyptian army largely infantry-based, though? Their chariots were employed rather like cavalry in the gunpowder age, serving to either disrupt the enemy prior to the primary blow by the shock infantry or to deliver the coup-de-grace to an enemy already weakened by friendly infantry. There's some speculation that this was one reason why Egypt survived the cataclysm, but I'm not too convinced by it since I'm not convinced by the theory that puts a tactical revolution as the sole or primary cause of the catastrophe either.


The Old Kingdom was infantry based. It likely collapsed due to power struggles among the Nobles/Prists. They had a 200 year darkage out of which the Middle Kingdom emerged. They too were infantry based. Both theses kingdoms used their infantry in Nubian raids. The Middle Kingdom fell because they where invaded by a group Mediterranean people called the Hixos. These Hixos had a new technology not seen before in Egypt... The Chariot.

The Hixos invasion caused another dark age in Egypt our of which the New Kingdom was born. The New Kingdom used chariots. It is near the end of the New Kingdom that we get the Moses story about Egyptians pursuing Isrealits in chariots.

No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 2:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Drews book is one of the best references though his conclusions about new weapons being the deciding factor are dodgy. By the time of "the catastrophe" both sides were using the same weapons and tactics. The chariot archer ceased to dominate the battlefield a century earlier. Even Rameses is depicted, not in a chariot, but on foot swinging his sword at the enemy. In Mycenae at least, the most likely reason for the collapse is the fragmentation of centralised authority and internal strife - not an external invasion. FWIW there was no interruption of Mycenaean culture. The people who lived just before the Catastrophe are culturally indentical to those who lived afterwards. And Matt is right about the timeline. It is almost certain that 1200BC is wrong (too early), but nobody has proposed a convincing alternative timeline. We could remove anywhere from 100 years to 300 years from the timeline. The reason why few artefacts are found dating to those centuries is because those centuries never existed! It is possible that the Trojan War occurred only a generation or two before Homer's time.
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John Cooksey




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 4:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt,

I have to chime in on this one.

The "Low Chronology" has not achieved widespread academic acceptance, and there are several very good papers in the last couple of years, published by multidisciplinary teams of excellent credentials, that have refuted most of James' assertions on (almost) a point by point basis. Of course, it was never just James making these claims . . . . the entire Glasgow Conference, which sounds so academically impressive, was made up of the students of Velikovsky. Of course, most of Velikovsky's students have veered away from his extreme Catastrophism, but utilize a variant of his Low Chronology for reasons of their own.

We have several excellent new series of C14 dates, well-calibrated with dendrochronological records from the Eastern Mediterranean basin.
I have read James' work, and quite a bit of Velikovsky's . . they are fine writers, but the data is just not there to support their versions of a Low Chronology.

I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 8:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The low dates have not been widely enough accepted because too many of the "old school" leaders have too much of their careers and reputations tied up in the high dates! They've been trained to believe they're right, and can't accept the fact that pretty much every piece of evidence has to be "interpreted", twisted, rationalized, shoe-horned, or just plain ignored to make the high dates work. If you just ACCEPT the evidence in a scientific manner, the low dates are unavoidable.

For instance, why did the Greeks give up writing for 300 years, then adopt an alphabet which had been abandoned 300 years earlier? Why are ivory carvings and luxury bronze items like tripods identical in 1200 and 900? Why are some pottery styles dated to 1200 on one site but 900 on another? Why did the entire population of the entire Mediterranean basin suddenly give up living in stone structures in 1200, along with metalworking, writing, and many other crafts, live as nomads for 300 years (never letting ANY items from 1200 enter the archeological record, by the way), then suddenly in 900 move back into the same houses they had left and take up their culture exactly as it had been, down to the style of women's clothing pins? Heck, why isn't there even any silt separating the archeological layers of 1200 and 900? No rain or wind for 300 years? Greece, the Balkans, Asia Minor, Syria, Israel, Mesopotamia, Arabia, Nubia, Libya, Spain, Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Malta, Crete, Cyprus, and even Egypt--all have weird empty gaps in time, or amazing numbers of "heirlooms", or the bizarre phenomenon of entire populations "going retro" with their whole culture. There are thriving villages found right next to nice cemetaries, but because the two are 300 years apart, you get a village with no dead, and a graveyard with no population to supply the stiffs! Sorry, but even a 7-year-old isn't going to swallow all this.

I've read some of the articles and papers that try to refute the low chronology, and they generally fail. Some of them simply lapse into tirades and name-calling, others use circular arguments, or cite a handful of very old and inaccurate carbon 14 dates, etc. Egyptologists have literally invented pharaohs and arbitrarily assigned them nice long reigns just to fill in gaps. James et al. are happy to respond to them and pick them apart. James and his colleagues have actually stated that they'd LOVE to see better evidence for the high dates, but it just hasn't shown up. In fact, the major props and benchmarks for the high chronology have been eliminated over the years *by the mainstream historians*. Sothic dating, for example, has dropped out of use. At some point the old school has to realize that a tabletop with no legs is going to drop to the floor.

I'd love to see those new accurate C14 dates. I believe it was Collin Burgess's "Age of Stonehenge" that said Egyptologists were planning to calibrate C14 dates with "objects of known date", a completely circular system! In other words, if you just KNOW King Tut died c. 1350 but all the carbon dates for the stuff in his tomb somehow comes out to 1050, well, just slap on 300 years and presto! Perfect corroboration! If that's what they're using now, sorry, count me out.

The attempts I've seen to use dendrochronology haven't been convincing, either. The "dating" of a scrap of junk cedar from the Ulu Burun shipwreck was an amazing case of wishful thinking which even the archeologist in charge has publicly retracted.

http://www.centuries.co.uk/uluburun.pdf

Other dendro dates are covered here:

http://www.informath.org/ATSU04a.pdf

Last I heard, the whole Anatolian tree-ring sequence was "floating", not a continuous sequence from the present on back, so it can NOT be used to absolutely date anything.

Ha, I knew someone would bring up Velikovsky! If he bothers you, just ignore him. No, he's not a trained historian or archeologist, and I'm not into his catastrophism, either. But he certainly quotes a ton of respected authorities who note some very bizarre twists of history. Velikovsky did NOT invent the idea of the low chronology, by the way! It was the system of preference in the early days of scientific archeology, when people decided that artifacts all found in the same layer of dirt were generally pretty much the same date, while stuff below that had to be older and stuff above was later. Most of these basic scientific principles are still rigorously adhered to in modern archeology, EXCEPT for most any site from the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age, for which we concoct involved and wonderful scenarios, or wreck the reputation of a perfectly innocent and competent archeologist because he MUST have ruined the stratigraphy of his dig site. Why was a graduate student denied his degree and forced out of school, apparently just because his thesis was a study of the chronology debate? Why do the old school guys bring up little green men when Peter James or some poor gullible amateur like myself point out the problems with the high chronology? Sounds to me like they're losing the debate. But it doesn't HAVE to be a debate! These guys could all get famous by having the courage to pool their knowledge and work out the problem! You can't study history without good dates--why are they so afraid to fix them? Geez, think of all the great new books they could write. Instead they circle the wagons, and hope to scare the next generation of students into avoiding the issue entirely. It might work. Good thing I'm not a student any more.

Sorry, don't mean to sound like a frothing radical! It's after my bedtime and we had a long Halloween party this evening... I entirely agree that the high chronology is still the accepted mainstream, but I do *not* agree that the low chronology has been refuted in any way. The high dates are only hanging on from sheer momentum--that's what you see in all the textbooks and popular press, right? Doesn't mean they're right. There are just too many glaring problems.

Gotta sleep. Khaire!

Matthew
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John Cooksey




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 10:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, me too. I am about ready for bed, myself.

Actually, I sort of see it the opposite way (naturally, right?).
I see James and the other Glasgow members doing name calling, accusations of conspiracies and cover ups, while denying very real data. At first they claimed there were no radiocarbon dates for Egypt, which was nonsense. When this was pointed out to them, they said that the dates had been deliberately falsified, and purported to have secret documents (which they couldn't show to anyone outside the group for fear that their source would be punished) that explained what the "real dates" were.

I also see that James et all are cited much more often in popular press than they are in the literature of the field.
I know several Egyptologists, and none of the dirt archaeologists in that group seem to be very convinced of the Low Chronologies merits.

Thing is, these new series are giving us pretty confirming dates for the period before 1200, with a margin of error. Just as always, the dates for some sites and periods are still turning up to old, with the usual problem of "old wood". Others are dead on the money, within one standard deviation. None of this is ever going to be exact of course, given the limitations of radiometric dating in general.

There is existing good stratigraphy in *many* locales between 1200 and 900.
At least in the case of Egyptian art, there has always been a remarkable conservatism, but there are very distinct differences between funerary art at 1200 and 900.

I wouldn't necessarily say that any given date for a given locale is exactly correct, given the limitations of science, but I would suggest that categorically stating that all dates need to be reduced by a drastic amount is a serious failure to look at all the available data.

As a archaeologist and historian, I have real problems with the Low Chronology.

Agree to disagree, I suppose? We are not going to change each others' minds at all, I know . . .

I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender.
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Sat 01 Nov, 2008 12:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some of the most current thinking on this subject is that it involved the spread of a virus similar to the so-called Spanish Influenza pandemic of the early 20th century. There have many many global pandemics, most apparently originating in the Norther area of China and perhaps Mongolia. These have spread with amazing rapidity through ancient cultures regardless of the state of weapon technology and natural phenomena. If you closely study plague (and I will use this term in its broadest sense not as a synonym for the bubonic style) vectors, the secondary effects after the primary hosts are killed off or the plague mutates (as it did between 2 and 3 times in the 1918-1923 version), famine and opportunistic diseases did a fair job of killing off another 15-20% of the survivors. For instance, the Spanish Influenza primarily affected the most ordinarily healthy segment of the population with devastating effect. The age cohort 20-40 was devastated in the first mutation and presentation. Unusually, the age cohort one would have expected to be most affected, the 60-80 group, was among the least affected initially. This particular stain of virus prompted an overreaction of the host immune system causing the victim to literally drown in fluid meant to purge the virus. Older adults with a less healthy immune system tended to survive at a higher rate.

I use this epidemiological example to show that modern plague vectors such as AIDS, ebola, hanta, and influenza are just one small gene mutation away from becoming catastrophic any any time and in any place. The history of earth is filled with such pandemics and they affected the rise and fall of civilizations much more that we can ever imagine simply because there are no really good records and disease leaves no geological traces as do some natural phenomena.

Interestingly, there was another catastrophic period in about 1200AD which may have culminated with the mutation of a virus into what is commonly called the Black Death which wiped out 25% of the European population and may have had a pneumonological revival in the great English plagues of the mid-1600s.

My point is that such a virological disaster has occurred many times in the past and even with today's technology a particularly virulent stain of plague could devastate earth's population before an effective anti-virus could be synthesized and manufactured in sufficient quantity to be palliative. The flu shot you got today was someone's guess a year ago as to what stains would probably appear. The more you know about this area of science the more you realize mankind sits on a ticking bomb.

"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Sat 01 Nov, 2008 12:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

IMO, we are paying too little attention to the subtle and not so subtle climate changes that had happened - it is enough for annual temperature to change by a couple of degrees for mass famine to happen.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Sat 01 Nov, 2008 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Artis Aboltins wrote:
IMO, we are paying too little attention to the subtle and not so subtle climate changes that had happened - it is enough for annual temperature to change by a couple of degrees for mass famine to happen.


Drews goes through all the usual theories and climate change is one of those he debunks (pp77-84). Famine is definitely not a valid explaination. The only evidence for famine at the time is a direct result of military action, not the other way around.

FWIW I completely agree with James' debunking of the chronology that is currently used. There is no way that it can be accurate. But I'm not sure he has presented enough evidence supporting his alternative chronology. I don't think we'll have a definitive answer until the dendrochronological record is completed (and all the old Egyptologists die off Razz )
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