Late Bronze Age
Late Bronze Age Collapse of civilisations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the second half of the 2nd millennium BC has been variously attributed to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and severe climate change. It is extremely unlikely that all these occurred around the same time through coincidence. Unfortunately, it is not clear to what extent these events were interrelated. As I see it, political upheavals do not lead to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or drought and so can be safely viewed as an effect rather than a cause. Similarly, climate change is just as unlikely to have caused eruptions or seismic activity and so can also be classified as an effect. Consequently, we are left with earthquakes and volcanoes as the prime suspects for the catastrophic turmoil that took place in the Middle East between the 15th and 12th centuries BC. Nevertheless, August 2013 saw further evidence published which blamed climate change for demise of civilisations in the region.
Robert Drews dismisses any suggestion that Greece suffered a critical drought around 1200 BC, citing the absence of any supporting reference by Homer or Hesiod as evidence. He proposes that “the transition from chariot to infantry warfare as the primary cause of the Great Kingdoms’ downfall.”
This extended period of chaos began around 1450 BC when the eruptions on Thera took place. These caused the well-documented devastation in the region including the ending of the Minoan civilisation and probably the Exodus of the Bible and the Plagues of Egypt as well. According to the Parian Marble, the Flood of Deucalion probably took place around the same time.
Professor Stavros Papamarinopoulos has written of the ‘seismic storm’ that beset the Eastern Mediterranean between 1225 and 1175 BC(a). Similar ideas have been expressed by Amos Nur & Eric H.Cline(b)(c). The invasion of the Sea Peoples recorded by the Egyptians, and parts of Plato’s Atlantis story all appear to have taken place around this period. Plato refers to a spring on the Athenian acropolis (Crit.112d) that was destroyed during an earthquake. Rainer Kühne notes that this spring only existed for about 25 years but was rediscovered by the Swedish archaeologist, Oscar Broneer, who excavated there from 1959 to 1967. The destruction of the spring and barracks, by an earthquake, was confirmed as having occurring at the end of the 12th century BC.
(this is a shorter version of (c) below)
‘they hunted after the bulls with staves and nooses but with no weapon of iron; and whatsoever bull they captured they led up to the pillar and cut its throat over the top of the pillar, raining down blood on the inscription’.
If this reference was part of the original story told to Solon it adds further evidence that Plato’s description of Atlantis is that of a Late Bronze Age/Iron Age society. The context of this reference would appear to infer that the use of iron weapons was either normal at the time of Atlantis or just an anachronistic addition by Plato, which would have been well within the boundaries of literary licence of that period. Although the use of meteoric iron can be traced back to 3200 BC(b) in Egypt, elsewhere, the first mention of smelted iron in the Aegean and the Middle East is dated to around 1200 BC.*Alternatively, the passage might indicate that by tradition the use of iron for the killing of the bull was inappropriate.
Bauval & Hancock in their Keeper of Genesis[1050.104] recount the strange tale of an iron plate removed from the Great Pyramid at Giza in1837 and believed at the time that it had been included in the structure of the Pyramid when it was built. It took over a century before it was subjected to rigorous scientific testing by Dr. M.P. Jones and Dr. Sayed El Gayer, who concluded that the item “is very ancient” and that “the metallurgical evidence supports the archaeological evidence which suggests that the plate was incorporated within the Pyramid at the time that structure was being built”, generally thought to be around 2550 BC. Their conclusions were rejected by the British Museum, presumably because their acceptance conflicted with the conventional date for the start of the Iron Age in Egypt around a millennium later. However, I note that pieces of iron were found in the Black Pyramid of Abusir, which probably dates before 2000 BC(a).