Some 4000 years ago, one of the principal harbours of the great maritime civilization of the Minoans was at the port of Amnisos in northern Crete. This lay a few kilometres to the north of the principal city of Knossus, well-known as the site of the legendary Labyrinth of the Minotaur.
Today the site of Amnisos still exists, but the port has vanished. It has been replaced by a sandy beach. According to Homer’s classic stories of the Trojan War, “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey”, 90 ships sailed for Troy from here. Here the north wind kept Odysseus’s ship in port.
Now Australian scientist David Noel, who has put several articles on the Web about changes in land and sea levels and their causes, has examined the history of Amnisos and shown that a local change of levels of about 9 metres explains the loss of the harbour.
This level change was evidently a result of various earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic explosions, including the massive Santorini event of around 1500 BC which ended the Minoan civilization and led to the story of the destruction of Atlantis. That such level-changes are easily possible is shown by the 1964 Alaska Earthquake, where vertical displacements of up to 11.5 metres in one day occurred.
The date of the Trojan War described by Homer has not been known with certainty, but a commonly accepted figure has been around 1250 BC. This new study shows that this War must have been much earlier in Troy’s history, possibly around 1700 BC.
The article, “CM601: Amnisos, Port of Minoan Crete”, is at: http://www.aoi.com.au/Cameos/CM601/.