Archaeologists are looking into what caused the collapse of the great bronze age empires. The Hittites, Mycenaeans, Minoans, and Egyptians all fell within a single generation, but what great event caused the lightning destruction of the world’s super powers?
I found a very interesting documentary last week discussing the fall of the palace cultures found throughout the eastern Mediterranean in the late bronze age.
In a nutshell, there was a high point in ancient culture around 1200BC where the Egyptians and Hittites had signed a treaty and most of the civilised world was at peace. This newly established peace brought with it a boom in economies and quality of life and was a kind of golden age.
However, all good things come to an end and the archaeological record shows that the kingdoms of the Minoans, Mycenaeans, Hittites, and to some extent even the Egyptians were all destroyed in the span of a single generation.
To put this more bluntly, the civilised world was destroyed in the lifespan of a single person which threw the world into a dark age that lasted for centuries.
This documentary looks at trying to discover why and how this happened. Without going into too many details, it looked as if it was the compounding effect of natural disasters and civil upheaval. As these civilisations all exist along the same geological fault line, a series of earthquakes caused widespread destruction to civil infrastructure. The new found peace also forced soldiers into unemployment and thus there was a kind of disgruntlement at the lower end of the social pyramid. Local uprisings found success in the damaged kingdoms and began to spread, like dominos falling, this revolution went from Turkey to Greece to Crete to the Middle East and finally to Egypt where the invaders were recorded as the mysterious Sea People.
This theory is gathering support and evidence. What do you think?