Water management in Neopalatial Crete and the development of the Mediterranean climate

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jonathan Michael Flood (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Michael Lewis

Abstract: This study analyzes patterns of behavioral response to environmental stimuli recovered in the archaeological record in order to make inferences about the climatic conditions driving the response. In the years between 1700 and 1450 BCE, the people living on the island of Crete erected dams, dug wells, hung gutters, integrated water ritual into their socio-cultural fabric, utilized ceramic mulches to conserve soil moisture, and terraced hillsides. None of these water-centric behaviors existed on the island prior to this period, and Minoan civilization rapidly deteriorated directly afterwards. Conventional paleoenvironmental proxy datasets (palynological, geomorphological, isotopic, etc.) do not offer insights into the climatic conditions on Crete during this pivotal, final period. This study utilizes methods developed in a branch of geography known as hazard research and applies these methods to the available data concerning Minoan water management for the Neopalatial period. Hazard research methodology allowed for eight characteristics of the Neopalatial drying of Crete to be elucidated, they include: 1) the aerial extent of the event, 2) its magnitude, 3) frequency, 4) duration, 5) the speed of its onset, 6) the spatial dispersion of the event, 7) the temporal spacing (periodicity), and 8) the time the event began. This paper demonstrates that human behaviors recovered as material culture in the archaeological record can be used to make detailed inferences about the climatic conditions at the time of their creation.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Geoarchaeology, Paleohydrology, Water Resource Management
Water and civilization $x Research
Mediterranean climate $x Research
Archaeological geology $z Crete (Greece)
Paleohydrology $z Crete (Greece)

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