Radiocarbon dating of material from the volcanic destruction layer itself can provide some evidence for the date of the eruption, but because of the shape of the calibration curve for the relevant period, the value of such dates relies on there being no biases in the data sets.
However, by dating the material from phases earlier and later than the eruption, some of the problems of the calibration data set can be circumvented and the chronology for the region can be resolved with more certainty.
The importance of a precise date of the Minoan eruption is given by mainly two factors: the deposit of the eruption is very widespread in the whole region of the Eastern Mediterranean and even beyond, and it can thus be used as a time marker: everything beneath is older, everything above it is younger.
The second fact is that it happened during an epoch in Early history that attracts great interest among historians for various reasons: the era of decline of the Minoan civilization, where wide-spread effects of the eruption (such as disruption of regional trade lines, tsunami damage, climatic perturbations in years following the eruption) might play a significant role, a mysterious period of foreign leadership in Egypt, possible connections to many ancient myths and stories from many cultures including biblical references and so on.
The caldera cliffs near the site looking north; the Minoan deposit is the thick topmost layer including a 5 m thick base of fall-out pumice.
Using Bayesian models to synthesize the data and to identify outliers, we conclude from the most reliable To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure [email protected] added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Note you can select to send to either the @free.or @variations.Before the eruption, the island was host to a sophisticated and rich, seafaring and trading society who was related to the Minoans on Crete.Their city was totally buried under many meters of volcanic ash.Virtually all vegetation and wood present in man-built structures seems to have been burnt,- despite intense geological, archaeological research, excavations and mining on the island for about 200 years, no significant amounts of preserved wood, organic material or charcoal from the time of the eruption have been recovered (although once found and tragically lost, but this is another story,- read Walter's book...!) Unfortunately, because it would have provided geologists and archaeologist with a means to determine the precise age of the eruption using the C-14 radiocarbon method.