THE IMPACT OF THE THERAN VOLCANIC ERUPTION BEYOND SANTORINI
Despite numerous and varied arguments by a host of reputable scholars [e.g. Marinatos (1939), Page (1970), Doumas (1974), Luce (1976)] that one or more of the events associated with the period of extreme activity of the Santorini volcano surveyed above [i.e. earthquake(s), ash fall(s), tidal wave(s)] had a direct and disastrous effect on Neopalatial Minoan civilization, the simple facts are that the great earthquake which badly damaged Akrotiri is to be dated quite early in LM IA (either ca. 1650 or ca. 1560 B.C.?), that the entire town was buried in meters of volcanic ash still within the LM IA period (ca. 1625 or ca. 1550/1540 B.C.?), and that the wave of destructions (most of them including fires) which defines the end of the Neopalatial period on Crete and to which the palaces at Mallia, Phaistos, and Zakro all fell victim cannot be dated earlier than LM IB (ca. 1480/1470 B.C.?). Hood [TAW I (1978) 681-690] claims that clear evidence of the earthquake which so severely damaged Akrotiri before the town was buried is to be found at several sites on Crete where it is clearly dated to LM IA. More importantly, tephra from the later eruption of the Theran volcano has been found within the past decade in LM IA contexts on Rhodes (at Trianda) and Melos (at Phylakopi) as well as on Crete itself, ample confirmation that the eruption preceded the LM IB destruction horizon on Crete by a significant amount of time. Thus no direct correlation can be established between the Santorini volcano and the collapse of Neopalatial Minoan civilization.
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