Friday, October 26, 2012

The End of the Bronze Age As They Knew It

Ayia Sotira Tomb 4 chamber floor east burial 2 pottery
Despite most efforts the economic situation in Greece seems to be going from bad to worse with the rest of Europe not far behind. Rampant consumerism financed by unsustainable debt is surely at the heart of the problem. Has this potent mixture ever happened before?

This coming Thursday, November 1st, Dr. Mary Dabney, will give the first lecture in the fall program of the Institute. Mary is a Research Associate in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology and a Senior Research Associate at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. With Prof. Angus Smith (Brock University), she was the Co-Director of the Institute’s excavation of the Ayia Sotira LH III cemetery near Nemea. The title of her lecture is, “Consumerism, Debt, and the End of the Bronze Age Civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Map of the region
In her presentation she will show how the interplay of consumerism and debt contributed to the end of the Bronze Age civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean, with a particular focus on the Mycenaeans. Her interest in this topic grows out of her study of the Late Helladic settlement of Tsoungiza in the Nemea Valley and its relationship to the nearby center at Mycenae at the end of the Bronze Age. She will put that relationship in the larger context of the Eastern Mediterranean, with a particular emphasis on economic factors. She will also provide a detailed account of the archaeological evidence, which has not yet been published, for Late Helladic IIIB2 activity in the settlement on Tsoungiza and its cemetery at Ayia Sotira as well as for early Late Helladic IIIC activity on Tsoungiza. Finally, Mary will discuss the ways in which the economic relationship between Tsoungiza and Mycenae at the end of the Bronze Age matches the contemporary relationship between the towns in the Pylos region and the Palace at Pylos that has been reconstructed on the basis of archaeological and Linear B evidence.

Pylos pantry
Does this radical change in the nature and level of sociopolitical organization at the end of the 13th century BC in the Aegean basin and beyond provide any insights into what our future may look like??? So, come on November 1st to the Institute to learn about the end of the world as they knew it and if they felt fine.

David Rupp

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