Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


15 May 2010

The debate on Aegean high and low chronologies: An overview through Egypt

Tiziano Fantuzzi Rivista di Archaeologia, anno XXXI 2007 [2009]: 53-65.


One of the most important problems which affect the reconstruction of the Aegean Late Bronze Age (LBA), and its significance in the Mediterranean world, is the absolute chronology of the Minoan LM I-II periods, and, in turn, the absolute dating of the mature LM I A Theran eruption, and their relationships with the Egyptian and Cypriote relative chronologies. Since the last three decades, the traditional chronology has been challenged by radiocarbon results obtained from a few key sites, which, during the late 1990’s seemed to be confirmed by several other dating techniques. In turn, an impressive amount of new data, often supporting the traditional view, has been obtained from the (re)analysis of the Aegean, Cypriote and Egyptian assemblages, which have yielded good evidence for their chronological correlation. As a consequence, the archaeologists face with an impasse, given that none of the two parts involved in the debate can rely upon conclusive arguments, or be confident of the outcome. However, a slightly modified version of the traditional “Low” chronology might be put forward, maintaining both archaeological and radiocarbon evidence. It is interesting to point out that the radiocarbon results, when individually calibrated, do not seem homogeneous enough to justify a shift of some 120 calendar years in the traditional chronology.


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