E1 Transformations in Early Greek Societies and Landscapes

Blick über Aigeira und den Korinthischen Golf
Blick über Aigeira und den Korinthischen GolfFoto: T.Keßler

Academic Staff:

Project description

The project aims to reconstruct environmental changes and their influence on the cultural development in the region around the Gulf of Corinth during the Bronze Age/Iron Age transition (12th to 8th century BCE) based on a complementary study of sedimentary and archaeological archives. hier weiterlesen

The former will be investigated by applying geochemical, sedimentological and pedological proxies to sequences from selected valleys on the northern Peloponnese, Aetolia, and Boetia, conducted by the Institute for Ecosystem Research and the Institute of Geosciences. The latter will compile and utilize a survey of archaeological data from relevant regions around the Gulf of Corinth. 

The project's three work packages (WP1–WP3) are jointly going to answer the following more detailed questions on the influence of climate on the settlement history of the study area:

  1. Which natural/initial environmental conditions did different societies of the Greek Early Iron Age encounter in the region?
  2. How strong was the effect of climate perturbations on the cultural development of the region? In response, how was this effect enhanced/mitigated by human activities?
  3. Does the profound social change at the end of the Bronze Age (the end of the palace system) correlate with environmental changes?
  4. To which degree did hydrological conditions and sedimentation processes change in the study area before the onset of human settlements and especially later under the impact of human land use activities?
  5. What role played local factors in the water supply of single valleys? How strong did (trans)regional changes in precipitation influence the different valleys?

The palaeo-temperature and palaeo-vegetation records will be integrated into a detailed and robust age model to be interpreted in a local archaeological context and to be synthesized with transregional climate models. 

A specific aim of this study will be not only to determine general trends in palaeo-climate/palaeo-vegetation but rather to interpret the shifts in environmental conditions in the context of human-induced changes in land-use with potential effects on microclimate. For this purpose, a differentiation of natural vs. anthropogenically controlled processes is attempted.

On the basis of the archaeological data, more general statements concerning the character of settlement activity between the 12th and 8th century BCE, possible reasons for a break-down at the end of the Mycenaean period and possible reasons for a recovery in the 8th century BCE shall be reached. This analysis of the social dynamics in the region of the Gulf of Corinth will, in turn, form the starting point for a systematic assessment of the interdependency of culture and environment, i.e. the role of environmental changes for the ongoing social changes and in return the role of human impact on environmental changes.

Bildnachweis: Blick über Aigeira und den Korinthischen Golf (Foto: T. Keßler)