Greek Bronze Age ended 100 years earlier than thought, new evidence suggests

October 9, 2014

Conventional estimates for the collapse of the Aegean civilization may be incorrect by up to a century, according to new radiocarbon analyses.

While historical chronologies traditionally place the end of the Greek Bronze Age at around 1025 BCE, this latest research suggests a date 70 to 100 years earlier.

Archaeologists from the University of Birmingham selected 60 samples of , plant remains and building timbers, excavated at Assiros in northern Greece, to be radiocarbon dated and correlated with 95.4% accuracy using Bayesian statistical methodology at the University of Oxford and the Akademie der Wissenschaften Heidelberg, Germany.

The findings are published in the journal PLOS One.

Dr Ken Wardle of the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham said: 'These new results tell a story that is totally independent of and rather different from the conventional historical accounts of the date of the end of the Greek Bronze Age.

'Until very recently the chronology of the later part of the Greek Bronze Age was entirely based on historical dates derived from Egypt and the Near East with the aid of exported or imported objects such as Minoan or Mycenaean pottery or Egyptian scarabs.

'But if we accept the 14C radiocarbon dating – and there is no good reason not to – we have to rethink our understanding of a long sequence of dates from the middle of the 14th century BCE to the beginning of the 11th century BCE.

'This is a fundamental reassessment and is important not just for Greece but in the wider Mediterranean context. It affects the ways in which we understand the relationships between different areas, including the hotly debated dates of developments in Israel and Spain.'

The dates derived from the samples meticulously excavated at Assiros – 25km from modern-day Thessaloniki – represent the most complete data set for the Greek Bronze Age, covering 400 years from the mid-14th century to the 10th BCE. They tell a similar story to those determined for the volcanic eruption in Santorini (Thera), which has been re-dated from 1525 BCE to 1625 BCE as a result of scientific evidence.

Explore further: Homer's great literary masterpieces dated by study of Greek language evolution

More information: 'Dating the end of the Greek Bronze Age: a robust radiocarbon-based chronology from Assiros Toumba' (Kenneth Wardle, Thomas Higham, Bernd Kromer) is published in the journal PLOS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106672

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flashgordon
1 / 5 (7) Oct 09, 2014
How does the dating of timber and charcoal mean anything about the beginning of the iron age? Are you suggesting that the charcoal was used to makek iron? Where's the iron?
flashgordon
1 / 5 (7) Oct 09, 2014
Idiots . . .
Vietvet
3.7 / 5 (6) Oct 09, 2014
Idiots . . .


You do have have a history of not understanding articles at Phys.org and associated links.
OZGuy
5 / 5 (5) Oct 09, 2014
flash
These people are accredited scientists, you are what in this field?
You could always cross-check and do some research . Physorg is just a science news type site not a scientific peer reviewer.
http://www.ploson....0106672
flashgordon
1 / 5 (4) Oct 10, 2014
I've read about the Aegean collapse here,"1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed" , and here, "The Aegean from Bronze Age to Iron Age: Continuity and Change Between the Twelfth and Eighth Centuries BC". I got interested in the Aegean collapse because of all the other archaeology I've studies like the biblical archaeology of "The Bible Unearthed".

What have you done? And, somehow the great intellectuals that comes to physorg can't understand that this article doesn't mention neither bronze age artifacts or iron artifacts. The social science implications here are astounding!

- I ask simple questions, and point things out, and the only thing people around here can do is act like high schoolers and politicians.
flashgordon
1 / 5 (4) Oct 10, 2014
Idiots . . .


You do have have a history of not understanding articles at Phys.org and associated links.


No, I have a history of taking the unpopular view and questioning. Physorg and the people that comes here has a history of pseudo-science and not being interested in questioning pseudo-science and irrationalists.
Vietvet
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 10, 2014
@flashgordon

The article was about DATING the site. Pay attention.

flashgordon
1 / 5 (4) Oct 10, 2014
still more immaturity and hate;
Vietvet
3.4 / 5 (5) Oct 10, 2014
still more immaturity and hate;


Projection my friend. You started it with "Idiots".
flashgordon
1 / 5 (5) Oct 10, 2014
No, I started it with, "How does the dating of timber and charcoal mean anything about the beginning of the iron age? Are you suggesting that the charcoal was used to makek iron? Where's the iron?"

And apparently, people don't seem to understand my point here; instead of asking and discussing, they just play little high school games. Then, I said 'idiots.' And now, you just want to start there . . .
Vietvet
4 / 5 (4) Oct 10, 2014
@flashgordon

"No, I started it with, "How does the dating of timber and charcoal mean anything about the beginning of the iron age? Are you suggesting that the charcoal was used to makek iron? Where's the iron?"

The article had nothing to do with making iron or making charcoal or the beginning of the Iron Age. Did you read the link? It was about a more accurate method of dating the end of the Bronze Age. Nothing more.

Vietvet
4 / 5 (4) Oct 10, 2014
"And apparently, people don't seem to understand my point here; instead of asking and discussing, they just play little high school games. Then, I said 'idiots."

Nobody was playing games. You got down voted for not understanding the article. I get down voted all the time by the AGW denying trolls, the Creationists trolls, the right wing ideologue trolls, the EU trolls, the cold fusion trolls, and the ET believing trolls. And it is a badge of honor when they do.

OZGuy
5 / 5 (2) Oct 10, 2014
"I got interested in the Aegean collapse because of all the other archaeology I've studies like the biblical archaeology of "The Bible Unearthed". "

The scientists involved are devoting their careers to the subject, not just a couple of hours curled up reading a book. Guess who has more credibility...

"I ask simple questions, and point things out"

No you read headlines and articles but don't read the background supporting material and then call scientists idiots because you disagree with the article.
24volts
not rated yet Oct 10, 2014
The date readings might be perfectly accurate but it doesn't mean a whole lot. It took quite a bit of time for the technology and skills required for smelting iron to travel. Smiths that used bronze would not have the basic equipment or skills needed to work iron. It takes a lot hotter smelting setup to do iron than it does bronze. Even basic technologies can take a few generations to move through an area. Being brought in from elsewhere and being made locally are really different things.
chachi_drummond
5 / 5 (2) Oct 11, 2014
@flashgordon

The use of the terms Iron Age and Bronze Age were never formally tied to the use of Iron/Bronze. They more refer to the Ages of Man with only a tenuous link to the actual metals. In fact, there have been iron objects found at Bronze Age sites. Ceramic remains are the key dating and assignment criteria.
baudrunner
1 / 5 (3) Oct 12, 2014
On the subject of up/down voting, isn't that just another way to simplify trolling, by using one click of the mouse button? I never vote, it's immature. And who do these mouse clickers think they are, approving and disapproving other people's comments? Just read them, people. Clarify any misunderstandings if you feel a compelling need to, and move on. The insults and critical off-topic related viewpoints and personal attacks make this forum seem like just another high-school physics lab with a half-wit instructor who can't do, so teaches instead, and who can't control his class. I'm getting frustrated trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, folks.
Vietvet
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 12, 2014
When a poster makes claims that violate physics I'm damn sure going to down vote that comment. When a poster makes any claim not backed with empirical evidence I'm going to down vote them.

I don't have a problem separating the wheat from the chaff, even if it takes some research. Try it, you may learn something.

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