December 04, 2008

Thera eruption: 1,613BC

The dating has been previously reported in 2006. It would be interesting to see the analysis of the olive branch discovered in 2007.

The eruption of Thera left a lasting impression in the survivors of the event. We can be certain that many coastal settlements were destroyed by the ensuing tidal wave, while the volcanic clouds caused a substantial loss of life and property. See Thera Eruption Revisited.

Thera volcano in 1613 BC
Two olive branches buried by a Minoan-era eruption of the volcano on the island of Thera (modern-day Santorini) have enabled precise radiocarbon dating of the catastrophe to 1613 BC, with an error margin of plus or minus 10 years, according to two researchers who presented conclusions of their previously published research during an event on Tuesday at the Danish Archaeological Institute of Athens.

Speaking at an event entitled "The Enigma of Dating the Minoan Eruption - Data from Santorini and Egypt", the study's authors, Dr. Walter Friedrich of the Danish University of Aarhus and Dr. Walter Kutschera of the Austrian University of Vienna, said data left by the branch of an olive tree with 72 annular growth rings was used for dating via the radiocarbon method, while a second olive branch -- found just nine metres away from the first -- was unearthed in July 2007 and has not yet been analysed.

The researchers said both olive tree branches were found near a Bronze Age man-made wall, giving the impression that they were part of an olive grove situated near a settlement very close to the edge of Santorini's current world-famous Caldera. The two trees were found standing when unearthed, and apparently had been covered by the Theran pumice immediately after the volcano's eruption.


terryt said...

"precise radiocarbon dating of the catastrophe to 1613 BC, with an error margin of plus or minus 10 years".

I have noticed that many people claim the eruption was responsible for the miracles God performed around the time of the Israelite 'Exodus'. The dating presented here would put Moses a little earlier in time than these people claim though.

However the Hyksos were pushed out of Egypt around 1570 BC (plus or minus 10 years? or more?). Any chance the Exodus stories actually record the Hyksos expulsion?

arclein said...

Recent conference reports that a broad based analysis of data is placing Thera about 1500 BC.

carbon dating is very important but there is gathering evidence that it is modifiable by another variable, in this case a full hundred years.

That is still a seven percent error factor.

I am seeing possible massive errors on carbon dating in the americas been speculated on.

It is possible that fresh volcanics may age carbon?

At this time, a time of 1500 based on many distant proxies is very convincing.


terryt said...

Thanks Arclein. As far as I know the dating of the Hyksos is not reliable either. so I suppose we can conclude both may belong to around the same era. Besides which, extraordinary events tend to become associated in myth even if originally separated.