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PREFACE





















                  The absolute chronology of the Late Bronze Age vol-  methods which seem to make sense for use in archae-
                  canic eruption in Santorini and its effects across the  ology. I use the critical methodology of ‘hard’ science
                  wider region  has been a  focus of my research  since  for ‘autocriticism’ of the humanities, since I am prima-
                  I studied archaeology at Charles University in Prague  rily trained in the humanities. I am an archaeologist
                  (Klontza-Jaklova 2008; 2012a; 2014). This topic, the  and, although I collaborate intensively with physicists,
                  problem of placing the event within the absolute chro-  I don’t feel competent to criticize their methods. I aim
                  nology, is one of the most frequently discussed and  simply to underline the points where they may not be
                  studied topics of Aegean prehistory, especially since  accurate or can introduce errors. I am, however, rigo-
                  the mid 1970’s, when the first radiocarbon dates from  rous in criticizing archaeological results. I agree with
                  the region were published and the difference between  David Warburton: “…it is not chronological debate but me-
                  those dates and archaeological/historical dates ap-  thodological debate. (…) There is a fundamental problem
                  peared. The debate is invariably lively and creative,  and it must be admitted that that problem is fundamentally
                  sometimes even passionate. One particularly dramat-  archaeological.” (2009, 295)
                  ic phase ended at the turn of the millennium when   The problem of absolute chronology is not just
                  two monographs were published (Manning 1999;  a physical problem. Apart from the absolute and re-
                  Friedrich 2000). In the subsequent few years several  lative physical values (in Newtonian and quantum
                  conferences dealt with the problems of assigning an  mechanics), time possesses a  philosophical meaning
                  absolute date to the Santorini eruption and absolute  which can vary in different periods, regions and soci-
                  chronology  in  general  (Cornell  University  2006,  Co-  eties, including our own. (Klontza-Jaklova 2011). Pro-
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                  penhagen 2007, Halle 2011 ) and, circa ten years later,  blems with chronology cannot be solved by physical
                  both above mentioned authors reviewed and re-edited  science alone. It is also a part of human history and is
                  their monographs (Friedrich 2009; Manning 2014).  one of the dimensions wherein human lives are reali-
                  The  very  intensity  of  the  debate  provided  adequate  zed. We need solutions to answer the historical ques-
                  reason to place it (or the most significant represen-  tions we ask but we need to test our methods, their
                  tations of each opinion) on the pages of Antiquity  validity and accuracy.
                  (2014: 88/339). (More on the history of research can   One could argue that the problem of 120 years off-
                  be found in chapter 1.3). Albeit the bibliography of  set between the possible dating scales is not signifi-
                  this volume is bulky (about a fifth of the text), and my  cant for the Late Bronze Age or that we should resign
                  own, admittedly heuristic, approach has been continu-  ourselves to this problem because, at present, it looks
                  ous and meticulous for years, it has proved impracti-  as though we are not in a position to find convincing
                  cal to collect all the publications related to the topic  arguments or reach consensus. However, I  cannot
                  or even to establish with any degree of accuracy how  agree with such opinions. Archaeology, as a  part of
                  many exist. Thus, for the purpose of this publication,  the humanities, tries to explain the interactions be-
                  I have, of necessity, created just a choice of illustrative  tween people, societies and their environments, the
                  books and articles.                               evolution and changes in their ways of thinking and
                    What, you may ask, can I add to the work of so many  understanding of the world around them, or us. We
                  esteemed scholars? What is the aim of this monogra-  even try to define the regularities of human actions
                  ph? Obviously, it is yet another review of the opinions;  and interactions throughout time across the Earth. In
                  one in which I do not even try to compare the results  this understanding of and approach to archaeology
                  of each method or approach. I try instead to compare  the time frame is crucial, even, or indeed especially, in
                  the methodologies and approaches, their limits and  the Late Bronze Age, when a large part of the Medi-
                  uncertainties and I  examine mainly those scientific  terranean was organized in states with characteristics

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