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What can climate change have to do with the depths of the centuries with the rise or fall of civilizations in Crete; And yet, the connection is very strong! Scientists from American, European and Chinese universities in collaboration with the University of Patras and the ITE, visited Crete and were hosted by the Network of Messara Associations.

The members of the Network, Michalis Spyridakis and Evelina Fragiadakis, offered traditional goodies and souvenirs to the members of the interdisciplinary team, as well as a dinner with Cretan dishes and traditional flavors highlighting the local cuisine of the island.

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The purpose of the research project is to collect detailed and highly accurate paleoclimate data from many different locations along Crete. An attempt is made to fully record the variety and the variations presented by the climate of Crete over the last 10,000 years, as well as the role that climate conditions probably played in the development and decline of the cultures that developed in Crete, including the Minoan culture.


The research team consists of a large number of foreign as well as Greek researchers.

The soul of the group and to whom this collaboration is due is James Bendle Associate Professor of Organic Geochemistry at the University of Birmingham, Vasile Ersek Associate Professor of Palaeoclimate and Geochemistry at Northumbria University. On the Greek side, George Iliopoulos, Professor of Paleontology and Stratigraphy at the University of Patras, Nikos Papadopoulos, scientific manager of the Laboratory of Geophysics – Satellite Remote Sensing and Archeological Environment of the Institute of Mediterranean Studies of the ITE, Anastasia Christopoulou, postdoctoral researcher at the Nicolaus Copernicus University and Michalis Spyridakis are participating. , Cartographer-Environmentalist from the Ephorate of Antiquities of Heraklion of the YPPOA.

The research for paleoclimate it is multifactorial. Analyzes and explains many cases in depth, such as, pollen grains found in caves, lake sediments, soil, peat deposits, marine sediments, glacial deposits. For example, pollen analysis provides information on changes in vegetation, climate, and disturbance of terrestrial ecosystems due to human intervention.

In this way, the climatic conditions in which the plants grew are identified, thus also the rather distant climatic past which is compared with the current one and conclusions are drawn about any future climatic changes for our region.

The climate is known to change periodically and according to the Milankowitch theory, the main causes of this periodicity are astronomical. This explains the ice age, the warm periods, the mini-glaciations, and the constant temperature of the climate, during which the first civilizations developed.

The role of climate in culture

Every time the climate changes, civilizations collapse!

The favorable climate ensured prehistoric man his basic food items without much effort and thus man had free time that allowed him to socialize with other people, thus laying the foundations of socialization. In order to be able to stand in his small society, he learned to discuss, argue, form an opinion, contradict, agree or disagree with his interlocutor. All of the above are the basic elements of Democracy, the politics of speech and counter speech.

The physical-geographical and geological changes during the mythological and generally the prehistoric era have determined directly or indirectly all the individual elements in the evolution of ancient Greek culture.

The interdisciplinary team will continue to visit Crete, and when the research is completed, it will be handed over to the Region of Crete and institutions on the island for use.

The Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Phaistos, Mr. Fasomytakis, and the former prosecutor, Mr. Markakis, visited the scientific team during an autopsy they were carrying out in the wider area of ​​Phaistos, and expressed their support for the team and its work.

The scientific team was received by the office staff, the deputy governor of Heraklion, Mr. Nikos Syrigonakis, where in a warm atmosphere he discussed with the leaders of the team about the research and its findings in the area of ​​Crete.