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News item - History revised by an olive branch

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  • Todd S. Greene
    From: http://www.livescience.com/history/060427_olive_volcano.html [go to link for full article] ... Olive Branch Buried by Volcano Revises History by Ker Than
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 28, 2006
      From:
      http://www.livescience.com/history/060427_olive_volcano.html
      [go to link for full article]

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      Olive Branch Buried by Volcano Revises History
      by Ker Than
      (LiveScience.com, 4/27/2006)

      About 3,500 years ago, a volcano on the Greek island of Thera
      erupted with such force that it created a column of smoke and debris
      23 miles high and flung ash to places as far away as China,
      Greenland and the western United States.

      The blast also triggered 40-foot-high tsunamis that slammed into the
      island of Crete nearly 70 miles away and likely contributed to the
      downfall of its famed Minoan civilization.

      Despite its widespread influence, the precise date of the eruption
      has been hard to pin down. Some archeologists have put the event at
      around 1500 B.C., based on similarities between pottery shards found
      in Akrotiri, a town buried in ash by the blast, and pottery in Egypt
      from a period known as the New Kingdom.

      Radiocarbon experts, meanwhile, have consistently dated the event to
      about 100 years earlier.

      Now, two new radiocarbon studies detailed in the April 28 issue of
      the journal Science support the other radiocarbon studies.

      One study, led by archeologist Sturt Manning at Cornell University,
      dated wood and seed samples collected from Akrotiri.

      Another study by geologist Walter Friedrich of the University of
      Aarhus in Denmark and colleagues, uses a single branch to pinpoint
      the time of death for an olive tree believed to have been buried
      alive during the eruption. Together, the two studies strongly
      suggest an eruption date of somewhere between 1600 and 1660 B.C.

      About the olive branch, Manning told LiveScience, "It's the only
      direct piece of evidence that's come along since the beginning of
      the debate."
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