In the first half of the second millennium B.C.E., the Minoans on Crete invented a script, the as-yet undeciphered Linear A, to write their own language. When Mycenaeans from the Greek mainland conquered Crete, they adapted Linear A to record an ancient form of Greek; this script, called Linear B, was deciphered by the English architect Michael Ventris in the 1950s. Tablets inscribed with Linear B have been found on Crete and at Mycenaean sites on the Peloponnesus.



The destruction of the palace at Knossos has been dated c. 1400–1380 B.C.E. by Sir Arthur Evans. A review of the evidence from Knossos, however, makes it likely that the palace continued to exist under Mycenaean rule into the 13th century B.C.E.


For a survey of sites, see R. Hope Simpson and O.T.P.K. Dickinson, A Gazetteer of Aegean Civilization in the Bronze Age, Vol. 1: The Mainland and Islands (Göteborg: Âström, 1979); and Robert Drews, The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe ca. 1200 B.C. (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1993), pp. 21–26.


See V.R. d’A. Desborough, “The End of the Mycenaean Civilization and the Dark Age: (a) The Archaeological Background,” in I.E.S. Edwards et al., eds., The Cambridge Ancient History, 3rd ed., vol. II, part 2 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1975), pp. 658–671.


R.W. Hutchinson, Prehistoric Crete (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1962), pp. 320–325; d’A. Desborough, “Mycenaean Civilization,” pp. 675–677; Drews, End of the Bronze Age, pp. 26–29.


Michael C. Astour, “New Evidence on the Last Days of Ugarit,” American Journal of Archaeology 69 (1965), p. 255. For a different interpretation of this letter, see Harry A. Hoffner, “The Last Days of Khattusha” in William A. Ward and Martha S. Joukowsky, eds., The Crisis Years: The 12th Century B.C.: From the Danube to the Tigris (Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 1992), p. 49.


Astour, “New Evidence,” p. 255. Words in brackets were added by the author.


J. Neumann and Simo Parpola, “Climatic Change and the Eleventh-Tenth-Century Eclipse of Assyria and Babylonia,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 46:3 (July 1987), p. 178. See also D.J. Wiseman, “Assyria and Babylonia c. 1200–1000 B.C.,” in The Cambridge Ancient History, p. 465.


Neumann and Parpola, “Climatic Change,” p. 178.


Neumann and Parpola, “Climatic Change,” p. 181.


Amèlie Kuhrt, The Ancient Near East (New York: Routledge, 1995), vol. 1, p. 380. For the entire epic see Benjamin R. Foster, Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature (Bethesda, MD: CDL Press, 1993), vol. 2, pp. 771–801.


See, for example, Philip P. Betancourt, “The End of the Greek Bronze Age,” Antiquity 50 (1976), pp. 40–47; Nancy K. Sandars, The Sea Peoples: Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean, rev. ed. (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1985), pp. 47–49, 77–79, 197; Carlo Zaccagnini, “The Transition from Bronze to Iron in the Near East and in the Levant: Marginal Notes,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 110 (1990), pp. 493–502; and Oliver Dickinson, The Aegean Bronze Age (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994), pp. 307–309.


See the summary in Drews, End of the Bronze Age, pp. 33–37. See also Eberhard Zangger, The Flood from Heaven: Deciphering the Atlantis Legend (New York: William Morrow, 1992), pp. 82–85.


See, for example, Rhys Carpenter, Discontinuity in Greek Civilization (New York: W.W. Norton, 1966); R.A. Bryson, H.H. Lamb and D.L. Donley, “Drought and the Decline of Mycenae,” Antiquity 48 (1974), pp. 46–50; B. Weiss, “The Decline of Late Bronze Age Civilizations as a Possible Response to Climatic Change,” Climatic Change 4 (1982), pp. 172–198; William H. Stiebing, Jr., “Climate and Collapse—Did the Weather Make Israel’s Emergence Possible?” Bible Review, August 1994.


Karl W. Butzer, Early Hydraulic Civilization in Egypt (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976), pp. 30–33; P.A. Kay and D.L. Johnson, “Estimation of Tigris-Euphrates Streamflow from Regional Paleoenvironmental Proxy Data,” Climatic Change 3 (1981), pp. 251–263.


See, for general tree-ring sequences, H.H. Lamb, “Reconstruction of the Course of Postglacial Climate Over the World,” in A.P. Harding, ed., Climatic Change in Later Prehistory (Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press, 1982), pp. 147–148; and, for Gordion, P.I. Kuniholm, “Dendrochronology at Gordion and on the Anatolian Plateau,” Summaries of Papers, 76th General Meeting, Archaeological Institute of America (New York, 1974), p. 66.


See Drews, End of the Bronze Age, pp. 82–84.