Session: #114

Theme & Session Format

2. Pandemics and climate change: responses to global challenges
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

1200 BC from the Atlantic to Asia: Social Collapse and Resilience in Regional Perspective. Part 1
East Mediterranean societies in the 13th century reached a zenith of connectivity and material affluence. This globalised world suffered a dramatic collapse around 1200 BC in less than 100 years. A comparison of East Mediterranean between 1300 and 1100 BC reveals fundamentally different places in terms of social organisation and connectedness. At around the same time social crises and collapse took place within several parts of Bronze Age Europe. Such rapid, transformative phenomena had a wholesale effect on domestic, subsistence, mortuary, ritual, economic and political spheres. The contemporaneity of such rapid developments across a broad region suggests possible causal connections.
A basic tenet of archaeology is to explain how such sharply punctuated changes transform the material features of an established socio-political order. However, simple mono-causal models explain poorly why and how societies collapse. Longer-term, integrative perspectives that explore the lead up, unfolding and aftermath of collapse horizons may better reveal the character of material and social change. Alongside papers that explore what is lost during crises, a core tenet of collapse studies, contributions exploring the nature of resilience in social change are also sought for this session.
A comparative approach to Late Bronze Age societies between the Atlantic and southwest Asia within a narrow window of time (1300-1000 BC) will be developed. This enables exploration of factors shaping change that go beyond the parameters of any given social network. Uniquely, this session draws upon contemporary complex urban and non-urban case-studies. Our contributors will focus on the pace, nature and physical markers of social change in the decades around 1200 BC using a variety of evidence from Europe, southwest Asia and north Africa. We will explore theoretical approaches which seek to explain rapid and catastrophic cultural change, and ultimately, how this specific period of crisis unfolded on a large geographic scale.
Collapse, Resilience, Bronze Age, Migration, Europe, Southwest Asia
Session associated with MERC:
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Main organiser:
Barry Molloy (Ireland) 1
Helle Vandkilde (Denmark) 2
Assaf Yasur-Landau (Israel) 3
Vana Orfanou (Greece) 1
1. University College Dublin
2. Aarhus University
3. University of Haifa