laatste nummer


Crisis in prehistoric Syria, 8200 years ago?

Hans van der Plicht & Peter Akkermans

Tell Sabi Abyad is a key archeological site in Northern Syria, extensively excavated from 1986 to 2010. The excavations give evidence for a continuous settlement in the Neolithic period, from about 7200 to 5500 BC. Significantly, substantial change in the nature of settlement and the associated material culture was found to occur at about 6200 BC. There were alterations and innovations in, for example, settlement area, architecture, pottery production, ceramic symbolism, use of seals, farming strategies, and burial practices. The many changes predominantly occurred at a time of substantial climate change, associated with cold and drought: the so-called 8k2 climate event. Often, changes in climate are associated with societal crisis, culture collapse and forced migration. However, the research at Tell Sabi Abyad indicates a remarkable resilience of the local Neolithic population: the community did not collapse but successfully adapted to the changing environmental conditions.

The eruption of the Santorini Volcano and its impact on the Minoan civilization

Fred Woudhuizen

One of the most controversial subjects in Mediterranean pre- and protohistory is the dating of the eruption of the volcano on the island of Santorini (ancient Thera). Although adherents of the traditional method of dating and those of the so-called scientific method of dating seem to reach common ground and assign the eruption to ca. 1600-1550 BC, such a date is at odds with the evidence from the Egyptian king lists. A way out of this
dilemma is provided by archaeological evidence in the form of tephra found in destruction layers of archaeological sites on Crete. This tephra points to a dating of the Santorini eruption not during Late Minoan IA, as commonly assumed, but at the end of Late Minoan IB, ca. 1450 BC. If correct, it follows that the eruption had a huge impact on Minoan society.
From a position of supremacy in the Aegean waters and along the maritime routes to the Levant and Egypt before the eruption owing to its fleet, Crete became the prey of adjacent powers after the eruption and was immediately annexed by the empire of Assuwa or Arzawa from western Turkey and the Mycenaean Greeks from the Greek mainland.

Under the volcano and far away. Effects of the Bronze Age eruption of Monte Somma-Vesuvius on settlement and land use in the Campanian and
Pontine coastal plains

Peter Attema & Martijn van Leusen

This article discusses the consequences of the Early Bronze Age eruption of the Monte Somma-Vesuvius that devastated the proximal areas around the volcano around 1900 BC and must have caused a crisis as the substantial population sought refuge elsewhere. In particular, it investigates the hypothesis that refugees fled north along the Tyrrhenian coast and settled in the Pontine coastal plain, which lay at the basis of the NWO Open Competition program The Avellino Event. Based on new environmental reconstructions of the Pontine plain and on the available archaeological evidence both there and in the buried landscapes near the Vesuvius itself, its suitability for Early Bronze Age settlement and land use is assessed in detail. The article concludes that though suitable, the population density of the Pontine plain remained very low until at least the Middle Bronze Age, some 150 years after the eruption.

Crisis in the Roman Empire, AD 249-268

Lukas de Blois

The years AD 249-268 presented a period of serious crisis. The Roman Empire lost its military supremacy and started to incur losses and defeats at practically all borders. Furthermore, devastating epidemics returned from 252 onwards. In seriously devastated areas, where war became an endemic phenomenon, such as the Balkans, southwest Germany, and northern Gaul, this amalgam resulted in a collapse of prosperity and in demographic decline. But not just there: fiscal pressures and incidental wars also hit
other regions. Foraging soldiers added to the misery, especially along busy transit routes. There was a decline of governmental stability. Lost battles regularly led to usurpations of imperial power by dissatisfied soldiers who proclaimed their general emperor, hoping to receive more food, reinforcements and commodities, and they subsequently had to fight
the armies of reigning emperors and other pretenders. Traditional forms of imperial representation, to which most emperors adhered, were no longer convincing and did not keep soldiers from unruliness.

Crisis or Metamorphosis? The end of the Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean

Jorrit Kelder

There can be no doubt that the eastern Mediterranean saw momentous changes during the late 13th and 12th century BC. Various ancient kingdoms, including major states such as the Kingdom of the Hittites and the palace world of the Mycenaean Greeks collapsed, and numerous important cities, such as Ugarit, Troy, Mycenae or Hattusa, were either destroyed or abandoned. Most scholars argue that a number of factors, including climate change (with droughts causing bad harvests and famine), natural disasters, piracy, migrations and invasions by the so-called ‘Sea Peoples’, and perhaps even plagues caused a perfect storm, that caused a ‘system collapse’. New discoveries and reevaluations of old evidence suggest, however, a slightly different picture. This paper argues that, amidst all the destruction and mayhem, this period is also characterized by a number of important technological innovations, the emergence of new identities and ideas, and – in some areas – a remarkable degree of stability.


From ‘LUGAL.GAL’ to ‘Wanax’. Kingship and political organisation
in the Late Bronze Age Aegean

Youp van den Beld

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Silk Roads: Peoples, Cultures, Landscapes

Peter Attema

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The Archaeology of Late Bronze Age Interaction and Mobility at the Gates of Europe.

Iris Rom

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Social Interactions and Status Markers in the Roman World

Caroline van Toor

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introducties op lopend onderzoek

Afratì-Arkades (Crete) between the Early Iron Age and Orientalizing Period

Giacomo Fadelli

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Anchoring Roman power in the Greek world: the political culture of Roman Athens

Manolis Pagkalos

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Een duik in het verleden: zeeschildpadden uit het oostelijke Middellandse Zeegebied

Willemien de Kock

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Spatial organisation, fragmentation and development of city-states in Central Crete (Late Minoan II – Hellenistic period)

Quentin Drillat

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Hellenistic and Roman landscapes of Southern Italy: integration and comparison of field survey data for settlement and land use analysis

Martina Cecilia Parini

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