Earthquakes during the Bronze Age -- A contributor to the Collapse?

In summary, my wife was listening to a program on Youtube that was discussing the collapse during the late Bronze Age. The narrator mentioned an 'earthquake sequence', which maybe what some others call a swarm. I think of a swarm as a near term sequence related to the to same geological structure.
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My wife was listening to a program on Youtube that was discussing the collapse during the late Bronze Age. I caught part of it when the narrator was discussing a series of large earthquakes in the region (Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean). The narrator also mentioned an 'earthquake sequence', which maybe what some others call a swarm. I think of a swarm as a near term sequence related to the to same geological structure.

An 'earthquake sequence' is a longer term event over 30 to 60 years (not a rigorous number range) in which stresses are not removed by each earthquake. It may also be regional, e.g., on the same fault, or in the same fault system.

I was trying to find the program by search "Fall of the Bronze Age", which is apparently the title of the program, but instead, I found other videos.

I also found this paper by Amos Nur and Eric H. Cline.
Poseidon’s Horses: Plate Tectonics and Earthquake Storms inthe Late Bronze Age Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean
http://www.ancientportsantiques.com...hivees/Tsunamis/Earthquakes-Nur&Cline2000.pdf

I'm still looking for the video I overheard, but I'm interested in other sources.
 
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  • #2
Read Eric Cline’s book 1177 BC and he looks to be the expert on the topic, bit not sure how this explains the sea peoples
 
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BWV said:
Read Eric Cline’s book 1177 BC and he looks to be the expert on the topic, bit not sure how this explains the sea peoples
I'm not sure either. Did the 'sea peoples' (who are apparently not identified ethnically) respond to the earthquakes, or to the drought, which was apparently affecting Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, or a combination.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Bronze_Age_collapse
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Peoples

In this forum, I'm primarily interested in the earthquakes, possible volcanic activity, and the drought (what would have been climate change in the era).

I was listening to another program on Egypt, which mentioned a severe drought 4200-4000 years ago, or 2200-2000 BCE. But the collapse of the Bronze age is dated around 1250-1150 BCE, a period which also experienced extensive drought. What caused that drought?
 
  • #4
Not really any on obvious explanations, right? If Santorini (VEI 6 or 7) did not cause a collapse across the whole Mediterranean, hard to see how a smaller eruption further away could.
 
  • #5
This video? Look around 35:22 minutes

 
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This is the video my wife was watching



There is mention of earthquakes, and Cline (younger) is one of those interviewed. The mention of earthquakes begins at 12:30. Cline mentions Mycenae being destroyed by earthquake, and also Troy 6, and maybe Ugarit and Megiddo destroyed by earthquakes at different times during a 50 year period. At 13:14, Cline mentions "earthquake sequence".

Certainly famine and foreign invasions would cause a diminished population, and a foreign invasion would result in destruction of buildings.

Natural events such as drought (causing famine) and large earthquakes could have played a role in displacing some peoples who then migrated to more stable regions, which also might have been experiencing famine if drought was regional, as in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.

I'm curious about the archeological and geological evidence of earthquakes. I'm also interested in evidence of climate change as manifested in drought, which is a separate topic.
 
  • #7
You might enjoy The Fate of Rome by Harper
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0691192065/?tag=pfamazon01-20

A couple of years ago, it was found that an Icelandic volcano exploded at the correct time to explain the cold summers of Justinian’s time.
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/11/why-536-was-worst-year-be-alive
Some believe that this is what got Justinian’s Plague moving.

I’ve heard good things about
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1040618206000474

Slightly off topic, but Tainter The Collapse of Complex Societies is a good read
https://www.amazon.com/dp/052138673X/?tag=pfamazon01-20
 
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  • #8
The earthquake explanation would tie with the collapse of elites that I remember Cline referring to - one can imagine earthquakes barely impacting peasants in thatch huts while the stone palaces of the elites crumbled to ruin
 

Related to Earthquakes during the Bronze Age -- A contributor to the Collapse?

1. What evidence suggests that earthquakes contributed to the collapse during the Bronze Age?

There are several pieces of evidence that suggest earthquakes played a role in the collapse of civilizations during the Bronze Age. One of the main pieces of evidence is the widespread destruction and abandonment of cities and settlements in areas known to be prone to earthquakes. Additionally, there are records of seismic activity and tsunamis during this time period, as well as geological evidence such as fault lines and liquefaction features.

2. How did earthquakes impact the daily lives of people during the Bronze Age?

Earthquakes would have had a significant impact on the daily lives of people during the Bronze Age. They would have caused damage to buildings and infrastructure, disrupted trade and transportation routes, and potentially led to food shortages and economic instability. The fear and uncertainty caused by frequent earthquakes would have also affected the psychological well-being of individuals and communities.

3. Were there any warning signs or precursors to earthquakes during the Bronze Age?

While there were no advanced warning systems or scientific understanding of earthquakes during the Bronze Age, there were some potential precursors that may have been observed by people at the time. These include unusual animal behavior, changes in groundwater levels, and foreshocks. However, without a thorough understanding of seismic activity, these signs may have been overlooked or attributed to other causes.

4. Did all civilizations during the Bronze Age experience the same level of earthquake activity?

No, the frequency and intensity of earthquakes would have varied depending on the location of civilizations during the Bronze Age. Some areas, such as the eastern Mediterranean, were known to be more prone to earthquakes due to their proximity to fault lines. Other areas, such as northern Europe, would have experienced less seismic activity. However, it is likely that all civilizations were impacted to some degree by earthquakes during this time period.

5. How did the collapse caused by earthquakes during the Bronze Age affect future civilizations?

The collapse of civilizations during the Bronze Age, whether directly or indirectly caused by earthquakes, had a lasting impact on future civilizations. It led to a period of cultural decline and disruption, as well as changes in political and economic systems. The collapse also resulted in the loss of knowledge and technology, which had to be rediscovered by future civilizations. Overall, the impact of earthquakes during the Bronze Age can still be seen in the development of societies today.

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