Unit 1 - Bronze Age Greece
Theory 1 – Volcanic eruption
The Minoan eruption on the island of Thira occurred at a similar time to that of the Minoan decline. Thira is the present-day island Santorini which is a caldera about 100 km from Crete with an area of approximately 73 km2. This eruption was the second largest volcanic explosion in the history of civilization, ejecting approximately 60 km3 of material. Ash from the volcano fell on Crete and choked off plant life, causing the starvation of the local population. The ash also possibly caused a dramatic change in the climate which made the crops fail.
Theory 2 – Earthquake
Terrible earthquakes took place under the sea to the north of Crete. They flattened or seriously damaged the Minoan palaces and towns. The earthquakes also helped to cause huge tsunamis or tidal waves, which swept southwards across the sea to the coast of Crete. The huge waves smashed houses, flooded farms and drowned people and cattle.
1. Explain what is meant by ‘historical interpretation’.
2. Explain the volcanic eruption theory for Minoan demise. As part of your explanation draw a map of the island Thira, of how you imagine it may have looked before and after the eruption.
3. Explain the earthquake theory for Minoan demise. As part of your explanation draw a diagram to show how the movement of continental plates causes earthquakes in the region.
4. Explain the invasion theory for Minoan demise. Explain why archaeologists believe Minoan demise is not explained by earthquakes and volcanoes alone.
Watch this longer film 'Atlantis' that explains in more detail the most recent thinking about Minoan demise.