Tiryns: Climate Change or City Development?

The Cyclopean Masonry Walls of Tiryns | CC BY-SA 2.0 | Wikimedia Commons


In the last decade there has been much research done in the field of paleoclimate studies, particularly in the study of the ancient Aegean and eastern Mediterranean (Drake 2012; Weiberg et al. 2016; Kaniewski and Van Campo 2017; Weiberg and Finné 2018). This has created many debates about the role of climate change in the Mycenaean Collapse and has fostered some comparisons with the ongoing climate crisis (Middleton 2012; Drake 2012; Kaniewski and Van Campo 2017). From these debates, my interest comes from how humans react to adversity and adapt to their environments and in some cases adapt their environments to them.

Tiryns was a major palatial settlement in the Late Bronze Age, located in the Peloponnese in a region known as the Argolid. What drew me to it as a case study was the combination of geological knowledge and the dam on the River Manessi. There are many examples of Hydrologic engineering in Bronze Age Greece (see Koutsoyiannis and Angelakis 2004), the dam at Tiryns, although understudied, existed in an area where the context was known and the questions which had previously been raised about its role, age and construction had not been fully answered, but was in a position for further research. The surveys and excavation in Tiryns and the surrounding area meant that both the geographic and historic profile were rich enough for that study to consider the impact of human intervention in the landscape and of climate change in how the city developed. The Manessi River dam became the perfect case-study for how all this factors met and became representative for how best to approach the idea of linking how people reacted to human intervention in the landscape and the effects of climate change.


Pollen Data for Climate Change

Further Data for Climate Change

Tiryns in Context

Was the River Manessi dam constructed in response to Climate Change?


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