1200 BC – War, Climate Change, and Cultural Catastrophe
A conference organised by the Schools of Arcaheology and Classics at University College Dublin 7th-9th March 2008

1200 BC stands as one of those symbolic dates in human civilisation. Its significance lies in its association with a period of momentous change, a period of catastrophic destruction and uncertainty for the people of the time. From the Atlantic coast of North-west Europe to the shores of the South-east Mediterranean, from Ireland and Scandinavia to Egypt and the Levant, archaeologists increasingly recognise that the period around 1200 BC is one of dramatic cultural disruption giving way to profound cultural transformation.
Archaeologists specializing in the Mediterranean are searching for the key to understanding changes like the collapse of Mycenaean civilization and the migrations of the Sea Peoples, while their colleagues working on Northern European, and especially Irish archaeology are stuggling with another iconic event on the edge of history and legend, the Coming of the Celts, also attributed to this period. Even though there are regional differences in relation to the archaeological manifestations of disruption and transformation, it is important for us to establish and explore the commonalities as well as the differences. We need to ask questions about the scale of these events. Are they linked? Are we witnessing a cascade of migrations of people throughout Europe? Is violence and warfare a common factor in these events? Does the multiple evidence for environmental factors point to global climate change? Are violence and migration the only solutions we witness to the crises?
Gathering together and offering our individual views on the phenomena of this period, we can collectively develop a global perspective. In 1200 BC we have an opportunity to examine the causes, pressures, and consequences of what seems to be one of the most disrupted and violent periods in the history of human civilisation. It is a truism that we live in a modern world that commentators increasingly characterise as driven by global cultural disruption, violence, and migration, all exacerbated by the crisis of climate change. It would be absurd to suggest that we as archaeologists can provide solutions for the world’s contemporary problems. But as we bear witness to the events of 1200 BC, when the comfortable Bronze Age world was transformed by similar crises of war, climate change, and cultural catastrophe, there are some obvious lessons and warnings to be heeded.

The conference will be held in Lecture theatre R of the Newman (Arts) Building on the Belfield Campus at University College Dublin.
Conference fee 40Euros (students 10Euros)

Further details are available from Dr Philip de Souza, School of Classics, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland. E- mail: philip.desouza AT ucd.ie

Final programme and registration information will be posted on the following website

Friday 7 March
4.00-4.15 Philip de Souza (UCD)
4.15-4.45 Alan Peatfield (UCD)
1200 BC: A period of momentous change
4.45-5.15 Coffee/tea
5.15-5.45 Mike Baillie (QUB)
Can the severe environmental downturn in the mid 12th century BC be implicated in the cause of the Greek Dark Age?
5.45-6.15 John O’Neill (UCD)
Connectivity, climate and chronology: Ireland in 1200 BC
6.15-6.45 DISCUSSION

Saturday 8 March
9.45-10.15 Muiris Ó Súilleabháin (UCD)
A long sleep atTara?
10.15-10.45 Barry Molloy (UCD)
Developments in later Bronze Age battle panoplies of the British Isles from a combat archaeology perspective
10.45-11.15 DISCUSSION

15. -11.45 Coffee/tea

11.45-12.15 Gareth Roberts (Greyfriars, Oxford)
Influence, Destruction Patterns, and the Final Years of Ramessid Egypt
12.15-12.45 Shelley Wachsmann (Texas A & M)
On Helladic Galleys and Sea Peoples
12.45-1.15 DISCUSSION

30. Lunch

2.30-3.00 Ilan Sharon (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)
(title to be confirmed)
3.00-3.30 Sharon Zuckerman (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)
Trouble from within: the fall of LB Canaanite kingdoms as a social process
3.30-4.00 DISCUSSION

30. Coffee/tea

4.30-5.00 Ian Shaw (Liverpool)
Contextualizing Egyptian military technology in 1200 BC
5.00-5.30 Krzysztof Nowicki (Warsaw)
1200 BC collapse: Crete & other South Aegean Islands and the case of the Sea Peoples in the Eastern Mediterranean
5.30-6.00 DISCUSSION

Sunday 9 March
11.15-11.45 Coffee/tea
11.45-12.15 Erik Hallager (Aarhus)
(title to be confirmed)
12.15-12.45 Kristian Kristiansen (Göteborg)
Transformation, migration and demographic expansion: 13th - 12th century reverberations in Northern Europe and beyond.
12.45-1.15 DISCUSSION

30. Lunch

2.30-3.00 Brian Ferguson (Rutgers)
1200 BC: The anthropology & archaeology of war
3.00-4.00 DISCUSSION

30. Coffee/tea

Dr Philip de Souza FRHistS