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The Absolute Chronology of the Middle Bronze Age Palace at Tel Kabri: Implications for Aegean-Style Wall Paintings in the Eastern Mediterranean

Eric H. Cline, Assaf Yasur-Landau, Andrew Koh


A recent set of radiocarbon dates, run by the Oxford laboratory, has returned results considerably higher than expected for several phases of the Middle Bronze Age Canaanite palace at Tel Kabri. The samples suggest a date that is at least a century earlier than expected, which would indicate that miniature frescoes were being painted at Kabri well before their appearance at Santorini. The dates also bring back into play a possible narrative of an artistic influence that traveled from east to west, rather than the opposite, just as Woolley originally suggested when excavating at Alalakh. However, the situation could conceivably also be much more complex and not nearly as linear in one direction or the other. Moreover, it remains to be seen if the radiocarbon dates are accurate; we will be retrieving more samples and dating them in coming seasons.

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