Saturday, April 29, 2006

Olive branch solves a Bronze Age mystery

"Compared to the well-studied world of Homer�s Iliad and Odyssey, the civilizations that flourished in the eastern Mediterranean just before Homer�s time are still cloaked in mystery.

Even the basic chronology of the region during this time has been heatedly debated. Now, a resolution has finally emerged -- initiated, quite literally, by an olive branch.

Scientists have discovered the remains of a single olive tree, buried alive during a massive volcanic eruption during the Late Bronze Age. A study that dates this tree, plus another study that dates a series of objects from before, during and after the eruption, now offer a new timeline for one of the earliest chapters of European civilization. "

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