Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Archaeology/Classics Bleg

Do any of our classically/archeologically informed readers know whether Charles Pellegrino's Unearthing Atlantis is remotely worth reading? It wandered its way home from the library and MrsDarwin has been skimming it.

On the one hand, we'd be interested to read something solid about the Minoan excavations on Thera/Santorini, and I'd heard the book mentioned somewhere, which was why I picked it up. However, some of the bits MrsDarwin has been reading aloud to me covering other historical periods (he provides a whirlwind tour of medieval and classical history which is so ignorant as to be comical) suggest to me that he doesn't know what he's talking about. And I gather he signs on to the theory that the explosion of Thera was the source of the plagues of Egypt in Exodus -- a theory which fits neither Biblical nor archeological chronologies, and indeed is off by 200-400 years from the dates I've seen for Exodus.

Given all that, I'm deeply skeptical of his apparent claim (not having finished the book) that Minoan civilization was centered on Thera rather than Crete, and that it fell as a direct result of the Thera irruption.

Is there indeed any reason to think Thera was the center of Minoan civilization? Or is this guy simply smoking History Channel crack?


Kiwi Nomad said...

I don't know anything about this guy, but I am fully prepared to make you jealous by telling you that I have been to Santorini - many moons ago now though, when I was just a sweet young thing! I went on a boat trip out to the centre to see all the new volcanic rock. And I walked to the other end of the island to see the (Akrotiri, from memory) excavation of houses covered by an old eruption. It is a very beautiful island, Atlantis or no Atlantis!

Rick Lugari said...

Or is this guy simply smoking History Channel crack?

LMAO You know it, brother. They do a decent job with WWII stuff, which happens to be some of my favorite history, but anything to do with the Church or Christendom is automatically going to be 180 degrees from reality. Of course their "crack habit" extends to much more than that too. Anyway, it could be that this is author is one of the guys who manufactures crack for the History Channel.

Darwin said...


Wow. Yeah, I'm jealous. I did make it to Pompeii and Herculanium, but the ruins on Santorini sound really cool, and of course they're 1700 years older. (It's not the ruins I question, and I'm pretty much indifferent as to whether it's the source of the Atlantis legend, but I'm wondering if his analysis of Minoan civilization and political structure have any scholarly basis.)


Yeah, what can I say -- I've always had it in for the History Channel. I grew up on old school documentaries like Story of English, In Search of the Trojan War and Ken Burns' Civil War. The History Channel stuff always looks cheesy and sensationalistic to me.

mrsdarwin said...

According to the Wikipedia article about Charles Pellegrino, he's the co-author of the book about the Jesus Family Tomb. Credibility, begone!

Literacy-chic said...

History Channel crack? I gotta get me some 'o that!

(O.K., you killed me with that. Tears, even.)

Rick Lugari said...

...he's the co-author of the book about the Jesus Family Tomb...

Call the DEA, we found another one of the History Channel's crack manufacturers. I hear Dan Brown is holed up somewhere in the intellectual ghetto cranking out some good stuff with John Dominic Crossan.

Kiwi Nomad said...

Way back in 1983 I bought a slim little grey booklet about the legend of Atlantis. I think I bought it on Santorini (though it may have been Rhodes.) I think I gave it away for the Red Cross booksale though a few years back. So I can't check who the author was. I doubt it was the same guy you are quoting though, from that long ago.

Kiwi Nomad said...

There was an article on the BBC site today about recent research that shows a huge tsunami may well have hit Crete. They then make the jump to say this may have destroyed Atlantis;-)