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The Sea Peoples, from Cuneiform Tablets to Carbon Dating

Kaniewski, David and Van Campo, Elise and Van Lerberghe, Karel and Boiy, Tom and Vansteenhuyse, Klaas and Jans, Greta and Nys, Karin and Weiss, Harvey and Morhange, Christophe and Otto, Thierry and Bretschneider, Joachim The Sea Peoples, from Cuneiform Tablets to Carbon Dating. (2011) PLoS ONE, 6 (6). 1-7. ISSN 1932-6203

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0020232

Abstract

The 13th century BC witnessed the zenith of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean civilizations which declined at the end of the Bronze Age, ∼3200 years ago. Weakening of this ancient flourishing Mediterranean world shifted the political and economic centres of gravity away from the Levant towards Classical Greece and Rome, and led, in the long term, to the emergence of the modern western civilizations. Textual evidence from cuneiform tablets and Egyptian reliefs from the New Kingdom relate that seafaring tribes, the Sea Peoples, were the final catalyst that put the fall of cities and states in motion. However, the lack of a stratified radiocarbon-based archaeology for the Sea People event has led to a floating historical chronology derived from a variety of sources spanning dispersed areas. Here, we report a stratified radiocarbon-based archaeology with anchor points in ancient epigraphic-literary sources, Hittite-Levantine-Egyptian kings and astronomical observations to precisely date the Sea People event. By confronting historical and science-based archaeology, we establish an absolute age range of 1192–1190 BC for terminal destructions and cultural collapse in the northern Levant. This radiocarbon-based archaeology has far-reaching implications for the wider Mediterranean, where an elaborate network of international relations and commercial activities are intertwined with the history of civilizations.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Public Library of Science editor. The definitive version is available at https://www.plos.org/ The original PDF of the article can be found at PLoS ONE website : http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0020232
HAL Id:hal-01517437
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Other partners > Collège de France (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - INPT (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - IRD (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UPS (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille I (FRANCE)
Other partners > Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - KU LEUVEN (BELGIUM)
Other partners > Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III (FRANCE)
Other partners > Vrije Universiteit Brussel - VUB (BELGIUM)
Other partners > Yale University (USA)
Laboratory name:
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Deposited By: Florence Amor
Deposited On:03 May 2017 09:32

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