Archaeologists found ancient tsunami victims on the coast of Turkey

A human skeleton is located in the sediments of the ruins of a settlement in what is now Turkey.

The remains of the victims of the tsunami are 3,600 years old.
Photo: Vasif Shakhoglu

A team of archaeologists and geoscientists has just discovered the victims of the ancient tsunami off the coast of Turkey.The victim-a human male and a dog, now just skeletons-is very likely Killed after a huge volcanic eruption 3,600 years ago.

The eruption is the eruption of the Thira volcano on the island. Santorini, This happened around 1620 BC. The volcano erupted so violently that most of Santorini was razed to the ground.Sliver The remaining islands are Is now a popular tourist destinationThe eruption of the volcano caused severe damage to the Mediterranean Sea. A huge tsunami rolled outward from the island, and most of the area was covered by volcanic ash.

No wonder an event is called Possible origin The Egyptian plague discussed in the myth of Atlantis or Bible has victims, such as those recently discovered in Turkey.The team’s most recent discovery is Report In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.

According to the newspaper, the two skeletons were found in Çeşme-Bağlararası (Çeşme-Bağlararası) on the Turkish coast, which was occupied from the middle of the third century BC to the 13th century BC. Archaeologists had previously discovered artifacts from the late Bronze Age at the site.but recent, Ashes and volcanic ash—The material ejected by the volcanic eruption——Has been opened at the scene. Researchers were able to trace Turkey’s volcanic material back to the eruption of the Santorini volcano.

The co-authors of the research report, Beverly Goodman, a marine geological archaeologist at the University of Haifa in Israel, and Vasıf Şahoglu, a marine archaeologist, stated: “This volcanic eruption and its causes The impact of the tsunami was much greater, and it affected more areas than previously predicted.” At Ankara University, Turkey, wrote In a joint e-mail. “Çeşme-Bağlararası is the northernmost tsunami deposition site surveyed so far. Its unique feature is that it has a very clear cultural and commercial maritime connection with the Minoan world.”

But in addition to the volcanic material at the scene, the team also found evidence that the ocean had visited the inland. In addition to the human and dog remains at the scene, the researchers also found shells and sea urchins. They found a structure where a wall had collapsed inward; it seemed that a black silty deposit had rushed into the wall, causing the wall to implode.

The material appeared to enter the site from one direction, leading the team to conclude that this was not caused by the earthquake. The research team is not sure if this person-a healthy young man, perhaps a teenager-died of drowning, blunt-arm trauma, or suffocation under debris from the tsunami. But they are actively investigating this issue.

An aerial view of the archaeological site, surrounded by modern buildings.

The Çeşme-Bağlararası site, which was hit by a tsunami when the Thera volcano erupted.
Photo: Vasif Shakhoglu

The bones will be dated by the team in the next few months; if their date is the same as the time of the eruption of Thera volcano, then the remains of humans and dogs will be one of the very few victims of catastrophic events discovered so far. (one other The skeleton is According to reports, it was seen during archaeological work in Theresien, west of Santorini, in 1886. )

“This research-we think-will open the eyes of scientists working in the Aegean Sea. For decades, the main focus of research on the Theran volcanic eruption has been mainly on the issue of age or the impact and nature of the volcanic eruption itself, and the distribution of volcanic ash. And the tsunami it generated.” Goodman and Şahoğlu said.

“However, there are only a few locations reported to have tsunami sediments and none of them have human victims. The lack of human victims has always been a mystery, and it leaves a real knowledge gap in the human experience related to the incident,” they added. .

However, perhaps the most useful element in this new work is the nine new radiocarbon ages extracted from different materials on site. The date of Thera’s eruption is still controversial.Some people think that the outbreak is Around 1530 BC (Give or take ten years) or Around 1620 BC. last yearAccording to the tree rings used in ancient Phrygia tombs, a team of arbochronologists determined the time of this eruption as 1560 BC. The date of Çeşme-Bağlararası indicates that the sediment cannot be earlier than 1612 BC, but this may further limit the eruption date of Thera.

But in addition to determining whether they are really victims of Thera incident, the age of these skeletons can also help. It is difficult to accurately determine the age of marine materials with radiocarbon dating, so some researchers use different methods to determine the age of the tsunami.A team used light-excited luminescence technology last year Find out when the ancient tsunami hit the Levantine coast.

More interesting data will certainly be drawn from Çeşme-Bağlararası and the people who died there, including humans and dogs. Perhaps more northern sites will show the extent of Thera’s destruction in time.

More: Which volcanoes erupted last?

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