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The Minoan Santorini Eruption and its 14C Position in Archaeological Strata: Preliminary Comparison Between Ashkelon and Tell El-Dabca

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 October 2017

Hendrik J Bruins*
Affiliation:
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Sede BokerCampus 84990, Israel
Johannes van der Plicht
Affiliation:
University of Groningen, Center for Isotope Research, Groningen, The Netherlands University of Leiden, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden, The Netherlands
*
*Corresponding author. Email: hjbruins@bgu.ac.il.

Abstract

The volcanic mega event of the Minoan Santorini eruption constitutes a time anchor in the 2nd millennium BCE that is inherently independent of archaeology and political history. It was a geological event. Yet the dimension of time in geology is not different than in archaeology or human history. Why then does archaeological dating usually place the Minoan Santorini eruption in the 18th Dynasty around 1500 BCE, whilst radiocarbon dating of the volcanic event at Akrotiri (Thera) yielded a calibrated age of 1646–1603 cal BCE, a difference of more than a century? The crux of the problem lies apparently in the correlation between archaeological strata and political history. We present radiocarbon dates of Ashkelon Phases 10 and 11 in comparison to Tell el-Dabca and the Santorini eruption, based only on 14C dating. Tell el-Dabca Phase D/2 is slightly older than the volcanic event. But Phase D/1 or Phase C/2-3 could have witnessed the eruption. Ashkelon Phase 11 has similar radiocarbon dates as Tell el-Dabca Phases E/2, E/1 and D/3, all being significantly older than the Minoan eruption. It seems that the duration of Ashkelon Phase 10 includes the temporal occurrence of the Minoan Santorini eruption within the Second Intermediate Period.

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Copyright
© 2017 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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Footnotes

Selected Papers from the 8th Radiocarbon & Archaeology Symposium, Edinburgh, UK, 27 June–1 July 2016

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