The Late Bronze Age Theran Eruption: A Spatial Analysis Study of Permanent Abandonment Processes

Author(s): Stephanie Martin

Year: 2015


Societies have been responding to natural disasters through evacuation and abandonment for all of human history. The same forces of nature continue to threaten human societies today and trigger many of the same responses. By engaging in cross-cultural comparisons, a pattern of responses may be articulated, directed towards answering such questions as: how far do people flee? For temporary evacuation, do they stay in existing settlements or build impermanent refugee camps? If evacuation is permanent, do they establish new settlements or integrate into existing ones? What are the archaeological markers of refugee integration in existing communities?

This study focuses on what is likely one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the last few millennia – the 17th century B.C. eruption of Thera. The inhabitants of the island were warned of the impending disaster and staged a full evacuation. Using GIS and spatial analysis to model abandonment and resettlement across cultural and temporal boundaries, I investigate the immediate and long term processes of the abandonment of Thera, what neighboring settlements might have taken in refugees, and how refugees were integrated into these communities.

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The Late Bronze Age Theran Eruption: A Spatial Analysis Study of Permanent Abandonment Processes. Stephanie Martin. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397951)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;