Minoan Earthquakes: Breaking the Myth through Interdisciplinarity

In a recent post on this forum, Angela Landgraf shared a digest of the long and winding road having led to the publication of Seismicity, Fault Rupture and Earthquake Hazards in Slowly Deforming Regions. Reading this post in the midst of wrapping up the edition of our Minoan Earthquakes volume, I could only sympathize with her concerns and hopes for the future of edited books at a time when impact factors and other author-level metrics all too often dictate academic choices.

Four years and a half (!) after the Out of Rubble Leuven workshop (29-30 November 2012), we are proud to announce the publication of Minoan Earthquakes: Breaking the Myth through Interdisciplinarity at Leuven University Press. Reasons for such delay are manifold but chief among them is our editorial choice of producing a coherent volume that might be used as an up-to-date toolbox for readers interested in the broader field of archaeoseismology – not just Minoan archaeoseismology – and its (necessary) relationship to other, better established, disciplines. This choice is reflected by the structure of the book and breadth of topics covered by its authors, ranging from seismology, paleoseismology, geophysics, architecture, engineering and, of course, Minoan archaeology. Although we will ultimately leave readers to judge how successful we were in this endeavor, we are encouraged by Iain Stewart’s appreciation of the volume: Continue reading “Minoan Earthquakes: Breaking the Myth through Interdisciplinarity”

4-year postdoctoral research position in coastal paleoseismology

The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Geological Survey of Belgium, Brussels, invites applicants for a 4-year research fellow (postdoctoral level) in coastal paleoseismology/Quaternary environmental change. Starting date: 1 June 2014.

The successful candidate will work in the framework of a 4-year research project, funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office: ‘QuakeRecNankai’ – Paleo-tsunami and earthquake records of ruptures along the Nankai Trough, offshore South-Central Japan.

Continue reading “4-year postdoctoral research position in coastal paleoseismology”

Farming community killed by earthquake-related mudflows in China c. 4000 years ago

Recent archaeoseismological studies have provided us with spectacular examples of skeletons as earthquake archaeological effects. Cases include the Neolithic skeletons of Tell es-Sultan, ancient Jericho (one of them beheaded by a fracture crossing the site!) published by Alfonsi et al. in SRL (2012) and the skeletons smashed by building collapse reported by Berberian et al. in JAS (2012).

To this list should now be added the case of Lajia (Guanting Basin, central China), where a team of Chinese researchers uncovered a series of skeletons buried under a thick layer of clay interpreted as the result of an enormous, earthquake-related mudflow c. 3950 cal BP. Continue reading “Farming community killed by earthquake-related mudflows in China c. 4000 years ago”

New archaeoseismology paper in Geoarchaeology

A new article on archaeoseismology appeared yesterday in Geoarchaeology’s Early View section. In this paper, Karabacak and colleagues present archaeoseismological evidence in the Roman stadium of ancient Kibyra (southwest Turkey). Earthquake archaeological damage includes surface faulting, systematically collapsed columns, dilated and collapsed walls, as well as rotated and displaced blocks. Their study suggests that a previously unknown seismic event (Io = VIII-IX) may have struck this region of Turkey around the 10-11 th century AD. Continue reading “New archaeoseismology paper in Geoarchaeology”

Earthquakes and Late Bronze Age collapse: the end of an old myth?

The collapse of Bronze Age civilizations c.1200 BC remains a persistent riddle in Eastern Mediterranean archaeology. Earthquakes, attacks of the Sea Peoples, climatic deterioration, and socio-political unrest are among the most frequently suggested causes for this phenomenon. In the last issue of Seismological Research Letters (January/February 2013), Manuel Sintubin and myself attempt to retrace the origins of the idea according to which earthquakes may have caused the demise of Late Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean societies. The article features reproductions of unpublished archival documents held by the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (Nicosia). The free-access version of the paper can be found here. Happy reading!


Ancient Geohazards in the Eastern Mediterranean – Call for posters

In the frame of the forthcoming international workshop “Out of Rubble: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Minoan Earthquakes” (Leuven, Belgium, 29-30 November 2012), we welcome poster proposals on the topic “Ancient Geohazards in the Eastern Mediterranean”. Posters should address any issue related to the definition of ancient geohazards in the Eastern Mediterranean (e.g. tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, extreme climatic events).
More information: click here

Continue reading “Ancient Geohazards in the Eastern Mediterranean – Call for posters”