December 12, 2004

Why were Minoan palaces abandoned in the Late Minoan period?

Journal of Archaeological Science (In Press)

Abandonment of Minoan palaces on Crete in relation to the earthquake induced changes in groundwater supply

Yuri Gorokhovich


Mysterious abandonment of palaces on Crete during the Late Minoan period was always a challenging problem for archeologists and geologists. Various hypotheses explained this event by effects of tsunamis, earthquakes or climatic changes that were caused by the volcanic eruption of the Santorini volcano. While each of them or their possible combination contributed to the abandonment of palaces and following Late Minoan crisis, there is another possible cause that appeared as a result of studies within the last 20–30 years. This cause is depletion of groundwater supply caused by persistent earthquake activity that took place during the Bronze Age. This explanation is supported by field observations and numerous studies of similar phenomena in other locations.


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