New Study Reveals that Mysterious Minoans Were not Egyptian

New Study Reveals that Mysterious Minoans Were not Egyptian

A new study published in the Journal of Nature Communications has revealed that the founders of the first advanced European civilization were European and not Egyptian as previously believed.

The Minoan culture is most famous for the myth of the minotaur, a half-man, half-bull that was said to have lived deep within a labyrinth. The Minoans lived on Crete, which is now part of Greece, and the Minoan culture reached its peak sometime between 2700 BC and 1420 BC.

While it may seem logical that the Minoans were European, a long-held theory maintained that the original inhabitants of Crete had arrived there from Egypt. Part of this belief came from the fact that the ancient palace of Knossos, which was discovered more than 100 years ago, had art and decoration that was very similar to Egyptian art.

The team of researchers made their discovery by comparing DNA from 4,000-year-old Minoan skeletons found in a cave in Crete’s Lassithi Plateau with genetic material from 135 modern and ancient people living throughout Europe and Africa in the past and today. It was found that the Minoan skeletons were genetically very similar to modern-day Europeans and genetically distinct from Egyptian or Libyan populations.

"They were very similar to Neolithic Europeans and very similar to present day-Cretans" said study co-author George Stamatoyannopoulos, a human geneticist at the University of Washington.

The findings suggest that the ancient Minoans were likely descended from a branch of agriculturalists in Anatolia (what is now modern-day Turkey and Iraq) that spread out into Europe about 9,000 years ago.

It is not entirely clear what happened to the Minoan population but it is suggested that a massive volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini doomed the Bronze Age civilization.


    New Study Reveals that Mysterious Minoans Were not Egyptian - History

    DNA analysis unearths origins of Minoans & Mycenaeans, the first major European civilizations

    Ever since the days of Homer, Greeks have long idealized their Mycenaean “ancestors” in epic poems and classic tragedies that glorify the exploits of Odysseus, King Agamemnon, and other heroes who went in and out of favor with the Greek gods. Although these Mycenaeans were fictitious, scholars have debated whether today’s Greeks descend from the actual Mycenaeans, who created a famous civilization that dominated mainland Greece and the Aegean Sea from about 1600 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E., or whether the ancient Mycenaeans simply vanished from the region.


    (A Mycenaean woman depicted on a fresco at Mycenae on mainland Greece)

    Now, ancient DNA suggests that living Greeks are indeed the descendants of Mycenaeans, with only a small proportion of DNA from later migrations to Greece. And the Mycenaeans themselves were closely related to the earlier Minoans, the study reveals, another great civilization that flourished on the island of Crete from 2600 B.C.E. to 1400 B.C.E. (named for the mythical King Minos).

    The ancient DNA comes from the teeth of 19 people, including 10 Minoans from Crete dating to 2900 B.C.E. to 1700 BCE, four Mycenaeans from the archaeological site at Mycenae and other cemeteries on the Greek mainland dating from 1700 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E., and five people from other early farming or Bronze Age (5400 B.C.E. to 1340 B.C.E.) cultures in Greece and Turkey. By comparing 1.2 million letters of genetic code across these genomes to those of 334 other ancient people from around the world and 30 modern Greeks, the researchers were able to plot how the individuals were related to each other.


    (The Lion Gate was the main entrance to the Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae, the center of the Mycenaean civilization)

    The ancient Mycenaeans and Minoans were most closely related to each other, and they both got three-quarters of their DNA from early farmers who lived in Greece and southwestern Anatolia, which is now part of Turkey, the team reports today in Nature . Both cultures additionally inherited DNA from people from the eastern Caucasus, near modern-day Iran, suggesting an early migration of people from the east after the early farmers settled there but before Mycenaeans split from Minoans.

    The Mycenaeans did have an important difference: They had some DNA—4% to 16%—from northern ancestors who came from Eastern Europe or Siberia. This suggests that a second wave of people from the Eurasian steppe came to mainland Greece by way of Eastern Europe or Armenia, but didn’t reach Crete, says Iosif Lazaridis, a population geneticist at Harvard University who co-led the study.


    (This dancing Minoan woman from a fresco at Knossos, Crete, 1600–1450 B.C.E., resembles the Mycenaean women -above-)

    Not surprisingly, the Minoans and Mycenaeans looked alike, both carrying genes for brown hair and brown eyes. Artists in both cultures painted dark-haired, dark-eyed people on frescoes and pottery who resemble each other, although the two cultures spoke and wrote different languages. The Mycenaeans were more militaristic, with art replete with spears and images of war, whereas Minoan art showed few signs of warfare, Lazaridis says. Because the Minoans script used hieroglyphics, some archaeologists thought they were partly Egyptian, which turns out to be false.

    The continuity between the Mycenaeans and living people is “particularly striking given that the Aegean has been a crossroads of civilizations for thousands of years,” says co-author George Stamatoyannopoulos of the University of Washington in Seattle. This suggests that the major components of the Greeks’ ancestry were already in place in the Bronze Age, after the migration of the earliest farmers from Anatolia set the template for the genetic makeup of Greeks and, in fact, most Europeans. “The spread of farming populations was the decisive moment when the major elements of the Greek population were already provided,” says archaeologist Colin Renfrew of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the work.


    The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals

    Ever since the days of Homer, Greeks have long idealized their Mycenaean “ancestors” in epic poems and classic tragedies that glorify the exploits of Odysseus, King Agamemnon, and other heroes who went in and out of favor with the Greek gods. Although these Mycenaeans were fictitious, scholars have debated whether today’s Greeks descend from the actual Mycenaeans, who created a famous civilization that dominated mainland Greece and the Aegean Sea from about 1600 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E., or whether the ancient Mycenaeans simply vanished from the region.

    Now, ancient DNA suggests that living Greeks are indeed the descendants of Mycenaeans, with only a small proportion of DNA from later migrations to Greece. And the Mycenaeans themselves were closely related to the earlier Minoans, the study reveals, another great civilization that flourished on the island of Crete from 2600 B.C.E. to 1400 B.C.E. (named for the mythical King Minos).

    The ancient Mycenaeans and Minoans were most closely related to each other, and they both got three-quarters of their DNA from early farmers who lived in Greece and southwestern Anatolia, which is now part of Turkey, the team reports today in Nature . Both cultures additionally inherited DNA from people from the eastern Caucasus, near modern-day Iran, suggesting an early migration of people from the east after the early farmers settled there but before Mycenaeans split from Minoans.

    The Mycenaeans did have an important difference: They had some DNA—4% to 16%—from northern ancestors who came from Eastern Europe or Siberia. This suggests that a second wave of people from the Eurasian steppe came to mainland Greece by way of Eastern Europe or Armenia, but didn’t reach Crete, says Iosif Lazaridis, a population geneticist at Harvard University who co-led the study.

    Not surprisingly, the Minoans and Mycenaeans looked alike, both carrying genes for brown hair and brown eyes. Artists in both cultures painted dark-haired, dark-eyed people on frescoes and pottery who resemble each other, although the two cultures spoke and wrote different languages. The Mycenaeans were more militaristic, with art replete with spears and images of war, whereas Minoan art showed few signs of warfare, Lazaridis says. Because the Minoans script used hieroglyphics, some archaeologists thought they were partly Egyptian, which turns out to be false.

    The continuity between the Mycenaeans and living people is “particularly striking given that the Aegean has been a crossroads of civilizations for thousands of years,” says co-author George Stamatoyannopoulos of the University of Washington in Seattle. This suggests that the major components of the Greeks’ ancestry were already in place in the Bronze Age, after the migration of the earliest farmers from Anatolia set the template for the genetic makeup of Greeks and, in fact, most Europeans. “The spread of farming populations was the decisive moment when the major elements of the Greek population were already provided,” says archaeologist Colin Renfrew of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the work.


    NUBIAN HISTORY REVEALS MANETHO LIED ABOUT EGYPTIAN HISTORY Part One

    (1)Egyptian king Pepi I was the first Egyptian king to use Nubian mercenaries in war against the Amorites, when Egyptian historians state Menes formulated Egyptian history over 1,000 years before Pepi I established relations with the five major African Cushite tribes. There are seven Cushite tribes. (Genesis 10:7) Five are African. Sheba and Dedan are Asian.

    (2)Nubia borders Egypt and Nubians equaled a mere 10% of Elephantine, Egypt's population when Pepi I reigned over Egypt when the Egyptians of Elephantine elected their first Nubian mayor in Pepi I's reign. It took 1,000 years for an Egyptian city to elect their first Nubian mayor? It certainly seems like Manetho invented many Egyptian dynasties.

    (3)Egyptian king Pepi II continued to use Nubian mercenaries in his army. Pepi II lived to be 100 years old and Amorites burned down the Egyptian temple in Byblos and also killed seven Egyptian shipbuilders in Byblos and Pepi II sent no troops against the Amorites whom attacked Pepi II's citizens late in his reign. Egyptians did, however, burn down the Amorite temple at Mendes, Egypt. Foreigners were traveling in Egypt during dangerous times as Abraham witnessed. (Genesis 12:10-12)

    (4)Egyptian priest historian Manetho did not use the Sakkara kings list which shows after the last Memphis king Pepi II died, the next king to arise to power in Egypt was the Thebean Nubian king Mentuhotep II who had declared Thebes independent, used Nubian troops to put down Egyptian nomarch's in the civil war following Pepi II death and ended the civil war in his 39th year reigning at Thebes, uniting the nation after driving the Amorites out of Egypt's delta.

    (5)Abraham made friends with the Amorites living in the plain of Mamre. (Genesis 14:13) Abraham made friends with Aner, Eshcol and Mamre (Genesis 14:24) when Mentuhotep II was involved in the Egyptian civil war. Abraham's army defeated Elamite king Kindattu/Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:1) whose army had invaded Canaan. Kindattu had destroyed Abraham's hometown UR. Abraham slew Kindattu/Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:17)

    (6)The Thebean Nubian Mentuhotep II had twelve wells dug along the Egyptian Nubian trade route during a Middle-East drought. The Egyptian maid Hagar searched for water in the wilderness of Beersheba when she ran out of water. (Genesis 21:14-15) God

    then provided Hagar with a well. (Genesis 21:17-19) Abraham had a dispute with the Philistines over a well. (Genesis 21:25)

    (7)The Thebean Nubian Mentuhotep III reopens trade with Punt (Somalia) which had been closed during Egypt's civil war. The Thebean Nubian Mentuhotep IV was assassinated by Amenemhet I who moved the Egyptian capital from Thebes to Itj-tawy. The Nubian Segerseni from lower Nubia would contest Amenemhet I right to the throne. Amenemhet I sends twenty ships with troops to fight Segerseni and Amenemhet I wins victory.

    (8)Amenemhet I builds "Walls of the Ruler" to keep nomadic Amorites from Canaan out of Egypt. Abraham age 175 (Genesis 25:7) having lived through the reigns of Pepi II, Mentuhotep II-IV and through most of Amenemhet I reign dies after the "Walls of the Ruler" has been completed. Senusret I is called "Throat Sliter of Asiatics" He is the reason God told Isaac not to enter Egypt. (Genesis 26:2) Senusret I invades lower Nubia and appoints Egyptian governors over Nubian conquered people's.

    (9)Amenemhet II wages war against Nubia in his 28th year of reigning over Egypt. Amenemhet II receives Nubian gold as tribute. Minoans from the island of Crete in Amenemhet II's 28th year bring him the Tod treasure. Senusret II also receives Nubian gold as tribute from Nubians visiting Egypt.

    (10)Senusret III four times in his reign must put down Nubian rebellions. Senusret III's 8th year he stops Nubian immigration into Egypt. Senusret III invaded Canaan and Joseph worked with both the economies of Egypt and Canaan. The Hyksos Canaanite Amorites went to Egypt exchanging their horses for bread. (Genesis 47:13-17) Senusret III let the Hyksos/Canaanites immigrate to Egypt. Senusret III builds the fortress at Buhen, Nubia. Archaeologist found a horse skeleton under the fortress ramparts dated to Senusret III reign in 1959 A.D.

    Joseph entered Egypt at age 17. (Genesis 37:2) Joseph died at age 110 (Genesis 50:26). Joseph spent 93 years in Egypt. Oxford History of Egypt by Ian Shaw 2000 A.D. states Senusret III's reign was 39 years, Amenemhet III 45 years and Amenemhet IV 9 years. (39 + 45 + 9 = 93 years!) Joseph entered Egypt in Senusret III's first year and died a few months before Amenemhet IV died.

    Hyksos chieftains: Sheshi, Yakubher, Khyan and Apepi I resided at Avaris, Egypt serving Joseph during the reigns of Egyptian kings Senusret III, Amenemhet III and Amenemhet IV.


    New Study Reveals that Famous Egyptian Mummy was Murdered

    Most mummy movie plots pivot around the mummy coming alive to avenge some wrong. The wrong most often involves looting their tomb and disturbing their sarcophagus. A new revelation about a famous female mummy may spawn a new genre – mummy murder mysteries. A new study of an old mummy taken from her tomb 185 years ago reveals that her cause of death was … murder! Even more shocking, she had unusual physical characteristics and her DNA shows she’s more European than Egyptian. Could she have been murdered because she was hiding her true identity? The potential plot thickens.

    “There is a rich history of testing Takabuti since she was first unwrapped in Belfast in 1835. But in recent years she has undergone x-rays, CT scans, hair analysis and radio carbon dating. The latest tests include DNA analysis and further interpretations of CT scans which provides us with new and much more detailed information.”

    Much was already known about Takabuti. While the exact date she was removed from her tomb in a cemetery west of Thebes is unknown, her encased body was purchased in 1834 by Thomas Greg of Holywood in Northern Ireland. He brought it to the Belfast Museum where mummy was unrolled on January 27, 1835. Edward Hincks, a leading Egyptologist at the time, deciphered the hieroglyphics on her case and determined her name (Takabuti), her mother’s name (Taseniric), her father’s occupation (priest), and Takabuti’s occupation – she was either a leading woman or a mistress of a great house, as indicated by her fine linens and expensive burial artifacts. Takabuti lived 2,600 years ago and died in her 20s.

    Takabuti Egyptian Mummy, Belfast Museum (Wikipedia Creative Commons)

    However, no one suspected she was murdered, even though her heart appeared to have been removed. Using modern technology, a team of experts from National Museums NI, University of Manchester, Queen’s University Belfast and Kingsbridge Private Hospital decided to check Takabuti out again in honor of the first unraveling of her mummy wrap. A new CT scan found her heart and an unknown blob where her heart should have been. The heart itself was a revelation, as Dr Greer Ramsey, Curator of Archaeology at National Museums NI, explained in a University of Manchester press release.

    “The significance of confirming Takabuti’s heart is present cannot be underestimated as in ancient Egypt this organ was removed in the afterlife and weighed to decide whether or not the person had led a good life. If it was too heavy it was eaten by the demon Ammit and your journey to the afterlife would fail.”

    The mysterious blob was scanned again, and its true identity revealed Takabuti’s cause of death … it was material used to pack a knife wound, and she died from the subsequent rapid loss of blood. The scan and X-rays also uncovered more mysteries. Takabuti had an extra tooth (giving her 33 – something only 0.02% of the population has) and an extra vertebrae (also rare). A DNA test exposed the biggest shock – Takabuti was more European than Egyptian.

    “This study adds to our understanding of not only Takabuti, but also wider historical context of the times in which she lived: the surprising and important discovery of her European heritage throws some fascinating light on a significant turning-point in Egypt’s history.”

    Professor Rosalie David, an Egyptologist at The University of Manchester, says even more research on Takabuti is needed, even though she’s been analyzed more than most mummies. Her unwrapping in 1835 was well-covered by the media – she had a poem written about her and a painting made of the mummy. The Irish must have been excited that she had curly auburn hair. Was Takabuti an Irish maiden who charmed a rich Egyptian into taking her to his land? Was he the one who murdered her? What provoked the murderer? Takabuti was buried in a manner signifying her high status, so her extra tooth and vertebrae were probably not known to those who might consider her a minor freak.

    It looks like we’ll have to wait for the planned book about her being produced by the project team.

    That means we have to move quickly to give her a more exciting movie – The Mysterious Mummy Murder.


    Tribe of Dan: Sons of Israel, or of Greek mercenaries hired by Egypt?

    Monumental Ancient Naval Bases Discovered in Athens' Piraeus Harbor

    Last practitioner of Minoan rituals may have lived in Jerusalem's Old City till '48

    Unknown monumental palace rewrites ancient Greek history

    Living almost 4,000 years ago, the Minoans were among the first people in the world known to have developed writing, a system called Linear A, not that we know what it says. On their dinky little island home of Crete, the Minoans built massively and grandly. Their art dazzled, and their legends – note ye the Minotaur – are appreciated, if not believed, to this day.

    In fact, they shone so brightly among the farming folk of antiquity surrounding them, that historians always assumed they had to have come from somewhere else (no, not outer space), and brought advanced knowhow with them.

    Not so, a new genetic study has shown. They were locals. The Minoans on Crete and their mainland neighbors, the Mycenaeans, both descended from the stone-age farmers of western Anatolia and the Aegean, plus smidgens of heritage from the Caucasus and Iran. The two were very closely related to each other, and to modern Greeks, says the team in their paper in Nature on their genetic origins.

    In other words, both the Minoans and Mycenaeans originated in Neolithic populations of what are today Turkey and Greece.

    There was a difference: unlike the island-dwelling Minoans, the Mycenaeans had genes from hunter–gatherers of eastern Europe and Siberia, says the team.

    "Our results support the idea of continuity but not isolation in the history of populations of the Aegean, before and after the time of its earliest civilizations," writes the team. That fits in well with their history of far-ranging travel, trade and war. Israel for one has plenty of artifacts of obvious Minoan and Mycenaean origin. Even far-off Sweden does: copper axes dating to 3,600 years ago were made using copper from the Aegean.

    Art in the Minoan palace at Knossos. Chris 73, Wikimedia

    Mysterious writing on the wall

    While Linear A remains enigmatic, Linear B, the writing of the Mycenaeans, was actually an early form of Greek.

    The conclusions are based on genetic analysis of remains from 19 bodies, including Minoans, Mycenaeans, a Neolithic individual from mainland Greece, and Bronze Age individuals from southwestern Anatolia.

    Why so few? Extracting usable genetic material from ancient bones is extraordinarily difficult, and is predicated on superb preservation – emphatically, not fossilization – of the tissue. Fossil means it's turned to rock and one can't get blood from a stone, let alone delicate DNA. "Preserved" means that the original tissue is still there, thousands of years old but still, somehow, not decayed. Classic environments for preservation include peat bogs, bone-dry desert caves, but not the lush, humid Mediterranean region. Hence the paucity of usable remains.

    However, the team could cross-reference their findings with previously published data from nearly 3,000 other human remains, ancient and modern, they explain.

    Atlantis still lost

    The result is that the Minoans didn't come from some unknown, fabulous civilization. They didn't arise in mythical Atlantis or anywhere else. They were locals, the scions of farming folk in Turkey and Greece, says the team, headed by Johannes Krause of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

    As for that introduction of genes to Mycenaeans from Iran and the Caucuses to the east, the archaeologists speculate this to be the remains of an unknown migration event. At least one fertile pastoralist, or a whole slew, from the northern steppes reached as far as mainland Greece, but did not reach the Minoans on Crete, it would seem.

    Though not identical to these Bronze Age populations from thousands of years ago, modern Greeks are genetically closely related to the Mycenaeans, says the team. Naturally, by now today's Greeks have other additions to their gene pools and a corresponding decrease in heritage from the Neolithic Anatolians.

    "It is remarkable how persistent the ancestry of the first European farmers is in Greece and other parts of southern Europe, but this does not mean that the populations there were completely isolated," says Iosif Lazaridis of Harvard Medical School, the lead author of the study, adding, "The Greeks have always been a 'work in progress' in which layers of migration through the ages added to, but did not erase the genetic heritage of the Bronze Age populations."


    Related Articles

    New species of hominin found in Philippines changes paradigm of human evolution

    2,600-year-old Jerusalem discovery leaves archaeologists shell-shocked

    Ancient Jewish town found in Be'er Sheva solves decades-old mystery

    Before Judaism: The 8,000-year-old history of pomegranate reverence

    In support of the dating, similar pillow-shaped ingots were found in Minoan palaces and settlements on Crete that date to an overlapping period of time with the new wreck, meeting their mysterious end in the 1450s B.C.E.

    In fact, it is possible that the ship was heading for Crete when it smashed on the rocks 50 meters off the coast in the ancient region of Lycia. A lot of ships met their maker in those somewhat treacherous waters.

    Or it could have been headed for Troy, another famed user of bronze for weaponry. The Trojans were not known for their flower-picking. Or it could have been headed even further afield. Axes found in Swedish graves were dated to 3,600 years ago — about the age of this newly found wreck — and turned out to have been made of Cypriot copper, which had to have been shipped to the far north.

    Sailing from Copper Island

    The use of copper can be dated back as much as 10,000 or even 11,000 years in the Middle East, where it was hammered out of the ore without heating. The earliest-known smelted copper artifact was found in Beit She’an, Israel, and dated to about 7,000 years — which is when the Copper Age proper is defined as beginning.

    Underwater excavation of the oldest shipwreck in the world: Copper ingots lying on the seabed by Antalya Tahsin Ceylan

    Copper, however, is soft, and by about 5,300 years ago, alloys with tin or arsenic or some other metal would create a metal stiffer, more useful than bronze.

    Goods were being exchanged much earlier, but by the Bronze Age there was a brisk international maritime trade in the raw materials, including copper in the form of ingots.

    Much of the copper in the late Bronze Age was mined in Cyprus, which began to produce it in the third millennium B.C.E. In fact, the island’s very name means “copper island,” Öniz says.

    Isotope analyses have shown that most (though not all) of the ingots found in the Uluburun and Gelidonya shipwrecks likely originated in Cypriot copper.

    Whether the newly found ingots also originated in Cyprus remains subject to extraction from the seabed, sampling and isotope analysis — but it is a reasonable postulation at this point.

    “There were a few places that worked in copper production in central Anatolya too, but almost 80 percent of the ingots found in Uluburun and Gelidonya are indicative of Cypriot mines,” Öniz says.

    At the newfound site, he and the divers have so far found 73 pillow-shaped ingots, as well as four round ingots (“bun-shaped”) that might be copper or tin. Though studied in situ on the seabed and encrusted, not to mention stuck to one another or to the seabed rock, their shape is discernible. These ingots seem to have more rounded corners than the later so-called “ox-hide”

    The Uluburun wreck had 313 ox-hide ingots and four ingots, which their finders described as reminding them of “pillow-shaped ingots belonging to an earlier group of findings.” Ergo, its ingot cargo seems typical of a later date. That supports the suggestion that the newly found wreck is older than Uluburun.

    Prof. Hakan Oniz Ceyda Oztosun

    The Gelidonya wreck contained ox-hide type ingots that date to between the 13th century and the first half of the 12th century B.C.E., Öniz says.

    Both the Uluburun and Gelidonya wrecks also had some bun-shaped ingots.

    While the production of pillow-shaped and ox-hide type ingots likely overlapped, there is general agreement that pillow-shaped ingots were earlier, and common in the 16th and 15th centuries B.C.E.

    It bears adding that the newly found ones were big and heavy compared with examples of pillow-shaped ingots held at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Heraklion Museum in Crete and the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology in Turkey. The “new” ones max out at 46.4 centimeters (18 inches) in length and 31.3 centimeters (12 inches) in width, with a maximal thickness of 5.4 centimeters (2 inches).

    Thutmose’s vizier dies

    Further supporting the theory of the ship’s dating are pictures in ancient Egyptian tombs, showing pillow-shaped ingots similar to the ones in the newly found wreck.

    For instance, tombs in Amarna show such ingots: for example, those of Ahmes, steward to King Akhenaten, dating to the reign of Akhenaten 1351-1334 B.C.E., and Huya, steward to Queen Tiye (mother of Akhenaten).

    Ingots still identifiable, despite 3,600 years of encrustation, as pillow-shaped and therefore, probably copper exported by Cyprus, found just off the Antalya coast Tahsin Ceylan

    So does the resting place of Useramon, vizier to the young Thutmosis III, who reigned from 1490 to 1436 B.C.E. Intriguingly, Useramon’s wall art shows 16 visitors wearing Minoan-style red, white and blue loincloths and holding Minoan-style pottery — and pictures of pillow-shaped ingots.

    Another tomb, that of Useramon’s nephew Rekh-mi-re, who would serve as vizier through Thutmosis’ reign, also depicts a delegation of Minoans and similar ingots.

    These copper ingots certainly got about, though it bears saying that our ship was either not headed for Egypt or was very, very lost.

    The process of studying the discovery began with detecting the spread of its cargo by divers, then documenting the finds, then a series of sonar scans. “We didn’t find the wreck by sonar,” Öniz points out. “We used a side-scan sonar study to study the geographical position of the wreck and its environment, then used photo-scanning work and Autocad to draw the wreck.”

    Nothing has been taken from the seabed at this point for fear of causing damage to this extraordinary, unique site, he tells Haaretz. They didn’t have the scientific infrastructure in place, for one thing. The next mission is to arrange funding for more undersea excavation, and sampling, which should enable carbon-14 analysis of any organic remnants, if there are any.

    The next stage of research will be done in collaboration with Cemal Pulak,a veteran of the Uluburun study. Given that interest in the oldest-known shipwreck in the world is vast, government funding will probably be attainable.


    RELATED ARTICLES

    Hittite texts reveal that the Luwian coalitions occasionally grew powerful enough to attack the empire.

    The new theory suggests the Luwians did so once more, roughly 3200 years ago, converging upon the capital Hattusa from both land and sea.

    Later Egyptian texts describe raids on Cyprus and Syria by the 'Sea Peoples,' and the researchers suggest these mysterious attackers are actually the Luwians.

    Attackers set fires to temples and palaces, and drove out the ruling class until the Hittite civilization 'vanished into oblivion for three thousand years,' according to the proposal.

    The massive Luwian civilization then ruled a territory from Northern Greece to Lebanon, they say.

    In the new scenario, it's argued that the many Luwian-speaking petty kingdoms and western Asia Minor, a peninsula also called Anatolia, joined together in a coalition (red) to attack the neighbouring Hittites (green). The new theory suggests the coalition converged upon the Hittite capital Hattusa from land and sea

    Shortly after, the Mycenaean kings in Greece banded together to destroy the Luwians, who could not defend their large territory. The Myceneans built a large fleet and attacked the port cities of Asia Minor, which were easily destroyed

    Shortly after, the Mycenaean kings in Greece banded together to destroy the Luwians, who could not defend their large territory.

    The Myceneans built a large fleet and attacked the port cities of Asia Minor, which were easily destroyed.

    Then, the two armies gathered before Troy.

    The subsequent battle – the infamous 'Trojan War' – ended in the complete destruction of the Luwian coalition, and the fall of Troy.

    But, the victors were met with their own chaos in the years to follow.

    Kings returned home from war to clash with the deputies who had since assumed their roles, and some didn't return at all.

    Few kings were able to resume their claim to the throne, and 'traditional Mycenaean kingdoms existed next to areas of anarchy,' the researchers explain.

    Eventually, a civil war tore through the civilization, and the Mycenaean Era was brought to an end.

    A Dark Age began soon after.

    Then, the two armies gathered before Troy. The subsequent battle – the infamous 'Trojan War' – ended in the complete destruction of the Luwian coalition, and the fall of Troy. But, the victors were met with their own chaos in the years to follow. 'The Burning of Troy,' pictured above

    The researchers from Luwian Studies say this scenario could explain the sudden end of the Late Bronze Age, but not all archaeologists agree with the concept of a 'lost' Luwian civilization, New Scientist explains.

    And, some debate the 'World War Zero,' narrative, and explain that that many archaeologists have become skeptical of the ancient narratives which describe 'approximate historical truth,' like Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.

    'Archaeologists will need to discover similar examples of monumental art and architecture across western Anatolia and ideally texts from the same sites to support Zangger's claim of a civilization,' Christoph Bachhuber, of the University of Oxford, told New Scientist.

    Though it's been met with some criticism, archaeologists say the research will bring the Late Bronze Age era of western Anatolia into the light for future studies.

    Kings returned home from war to clash with the deputies who had since assumed their roles. Few kings were able to resume their claim to the throne, and 'traditional Mycenaean kingdoms existed next to areas of anarchy.' Pictured above is a scene from the Iliad, an epic poem by Homer set during the Trojan War


    A recent study of ancient DNA suggests that there is genetic continuity between the predecessors of the Minoans and Mycenaeans and Greeks today. These civilizations emerged from Aegean farming communities and gave rise to the ancient Hellenes. The findings, which were published online August 2nd in the journal Nature, also raise some questions about prehistoric migrations that set the stage for the Bronze Age.

    The Minoans and Mycenaeans were the first advanced, literate civilizations to appear in Europe (around 3000 BC for the Minoans and 2000 BC for the Mycenaeans). They left archaeologists with a wealth of material to pore over: palaces, golden jewelry, wall paintings, writing (some of it still undeciphered) and, of course, burials, in what is today Greece. Now, an analysis of ancient DNA has revealed that Ancient Minoans and Mycenaens were genetically similar with both peoples descending from early Neolithic farmers. They likely migrated from Anatolia to Greece and Krete thousands of years prior to the Bronze Age. Modern Greeks, in turn, are largely descendants of the Mycenaeans, the study found.

    An international team of researchers from the University of Washington, the Harvard Medical School and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, together with archaeologists and other collaborators in Greece and Turkey, analyzed tooth DNA from the remains of 19 ancient individuals who could be definitively identified by archaeological evidence as Minoans of Krete, Mycenaeans of mainland Greece, and people who lived in southwestern Anatolia. They compared the Minoan and Mycenaean genomes to each other and to more than 330 other ancient genomes and over 2,600 genomes of present-day humans from around the world.

    Study results show that Minoans and Mycenaeans were genetically highly similar - but not identical - and that modern Greeks descend from these populations. The Minoans and Mycenaeans descended mainly from early Neolithic farmers, likely migrating thousands of years prior to the Bronze Age from Anatolia, in what is today modern Turkey. Iosif Lazaridis:

    While both Minoans and Mycenaeans had both "first farmer" and "eastern" genetic origins, Mycenaeans traced an additional minor component of their ancestry to ancient inhabitants of Eastern Europe and northern Eurasia. This type of so-called Ancient North Eurasian ancestry is one of the three ancestral populations of present-day Europeans, and is also found in modern Greeks. A passion for history inspired Stamatoyannopoulos to initiate this project:


    SAMOAN MINOANS FROM ANCIENT CRETE: The Origin of Polynesia

    In presenting these findings it will be important to remember that these themes and ideas are only introductory. Other comparative studies based on my hypothesis will appear in a final and complete compilation of theories and ideas in a new book called, Samoan Minoans from Ancient Crete, to be produced in the near future.

    One of history’s great mysteries that glitter in the realm of the unknown, just beyond the reach of scientific proof, is the origin of Polynesia. To this day scholars, historians, archeologists still speculate as to when and how the first people of Polynesia came to establish there new found homeland in the Pacific Ocean.

    My hypothesis simply draws on the popular notion that Samoa is the Cradle of Polynesia. Rev. John B Stair coined the phrase in his book Old Samoa (one of the earliest accounts of Samoan history written in 1843 ). ”Samoa is the fountain head and Cradle of Polynesia.”

    To construct a theory around the origin of Polynesia we must examine first the cultural and ancient oral traditions of Samoa itself. The undertaking is a difficult one, as it contradicts the traditional view, which is that the Samoan people did not migrate from any other island or motherland. Samoan traditions hold the view that Tagaloa-alagi created the world and the Samoan people out of the earth, hence their name Samoa. One traditional view states that anything born out of the ‘ moa ’ or centre of the earth was ‘ sa cred’ to ‘ moa ’ (Samoa).

    I believe that a migration narrative can be established for the Samoan people as the first and true descendants of Polynesia. The first Polynesians were made up of the ancient people of Crete, known to the modern world as the Minoans, and the people from the Aegean Sea, notably the people from the island of Samos.

    This view is founded on the theological and biblical account of creation, and the parallels within the Samoan culture and its ancient traditions, which are identical to those of the ancient Minoan civilization. To support this theory, I will present ideas around circumnavigation methods used by the ancient Minoans, to reach the Pacific region. Above all, we cannot understand the origins of Samoa without an in-depth knowledge of Samoa’s oral traditions and its proverbial statements, which are the “record keepers” of an older tradition and ancient world. An understanding of these older traditions and systems, was reserved only for those belonging to the ancient kings of Samoa and their heirs.

    For the Samoan people it is common knowledge that in ancient Samoa, there was a separate language known as the Kingly language (or Gagaga fa’atupu). Samoans today belonging to a much older generation still speak the language, and although much of its language is used in the general setting through oratory speeches (or in a Matai’s lauga), only a very small percentage of Samoans know of its true meanings and origins.

    Let us consider first of all the phrase Samoa is founded by God, E faavae e le Atua Samoa . This is Samoa’s national motto. If we place this within the context of Samoa’s Christian belief, we then arrive at the notion that the Christian God is paramount, and therefore the biblical traditions are fundamentally significant within the Samoan culture (Faa-Samoa).

    To unravel the mysteries around the origins of Samoa (and Polynesia), we must revisit the classic story of Noah and the flood, as described in the book of Genesis 7: 1-24.
    What we want to examine here is the aftermath of the flood. When the Ark finally comes to rest on Mt Arafat (part of present day Turkey), there is, if you like, the dawning of a new world. From Genesis 6:9 we are also told about Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth.

    This story can also be found in other western and eastern cultures where the story of Noah or variations of this particular event is part of their traditions. Greek, Indian and Chinese cultures are examples here. The origin of the first Polynesians begins here with Noah’s sons.

    Of the three sons, Ham’s descendants can be traced to the tropical areas of Africa, India, the Mediterranean and the Pacific. According to the Table of Nations by Tim Osterholm, the descendants of Ham (Ham which means dark coloured or ‘hot’) include the Egyptian, Ethiopia, Canaanites, Phoenicians and Hittites. His descendants appear to be the first to fill the earth, as they were the first settlers of Africa, Asia, Australia, the South Pacific and the Americas.

    The Mediterranean Sea and the location of Crete, are of great importance thus forming the centerpiece of my hypothesis. Crete is the center island of this particular region, the isolation of the island Crete is also crucial when comparing this to the Pacific Islands and in this case, Samoa’s central location geographically, from the other surrounding island groups in the Pacific.

    Also as a point of reference, the only other area in the world where the scattering of other smaller islands is within the area of the Aegean Sea. This unique formation is identical to the Pacific Island formation in the Pacific Ocean, only on a smaller scale.

    Again this is a systematic calculation by the Minoans for the selection of the Islands of Samoa as a settlement place of the first Polynesians. Centralization is a theme that runs profusely in ancient Minoan civilization, especially with its trading and commerce activities. This model has long been adopted in the modern world of today, such as centralized governments in New Zealand or in the U.S.

    Samoa was chosen for its central location within the Pacific realm surrounded by the main island groups of Tonga, Fiji, and Tahiti. The relationship between these island groups is well documented through their shared histories and oral traditions.
    One of the important features of my research deals with the naming process for Samoa in relation to the Island name of Samos. While the name Minoan is from a more recent tradition, the name Samos can be traced to an ancient period in history. The names given to other places in Samos bear a close resemblance to the place names given to Samoa and other Polynesian islands. For instance, Avlakia or Aulakia (Samos) is similar to the name Aitutaki, which is part of the Cook Islands. Also the Samiopoula Island (Samos), bares similarity to the name Upolu, a place both in Samoa and Hawaii. Finally, the names Samos and Samoa are very similar.

    The ancient Samoan proverb, E tala tau Toga ae tala tofia Samoa, is applicable to this analysis. The proverb states, The stories of Tonga are about war while the stories of Samoa are about a chosen people , with special appointments or blessings and bestowments. The first settlers of Polynesia chose the Samoan islands as their settlement place.
    The second point to note, deals with a reference to ‘The Sea People’, as discussed by Sanfold Holst in Sea People and the Phoenicians. Here we are reminded by Ham’s descendants the Phoenicians, that the Sea People were from the Aegean Sea. They were great navigators and masters of the sea. Ham’s descendants were characterised by interest and abilities in agriculture, trading and commerce.

    The Minoans were seafarers and skilled traders who established the first trade routes in this region, and often traded with Egypt and other countries during this period.
    History also states that Samoa was referred to as the ‘Navigators Islands’ by French circumnavigator Bourgainville in 1768. In ancient Samoan traditions the belief was and still is, O Samoa o tagata folau. Samoans are navigators. The term folau means ‘to sail, or travel.’ The word navigator means Tautai, Tau means reach or fight and tai means waves, sea or ocean.

    This proverb is the key to understanding the origin of Samoa as the first people of Polynesia. It alludes to a people who travelled from a distant place in search of new land. In other words, the Minoans were sea people and great navigators.

    The question then is, why did the ancient people of Crete, the Minoans, leave their original homeland, and how did they navigate through the vast oceans and into the pacific region?

    Minoans were highly skilled and advanced technologically. Their isolation from the mainland allowed them to construct a new system of government and culture that is unmatched even by today’s modern standards. They created the ideals of a utopian society and lived accordingly by these principles. A popular view today held by modern scholars, is that the Minoans are the same people who established the city of Atlantis.

    The Minoans were also the first to establish the trade routes, which enabled them to trade across this region they were a sea power and depended on their naval ships for their livelihood. They also established colonies at Thera, Rodos, Melos and Kithira. Frescoes found in these places, point to the political and social dominance of the Minoan culture, which included the region of the Aegean Sea and other surrounding islands.

    Minoan civilization, would flourish for hundreds of years, it would also give rise to the Greek world a generation later. The turning point would arrive around 1450 B.C. when the island of Thera within the Aegean Sea, erupted which decimated this region, crippling the Minoan civilization. By the time the Minoans rebuilt their cities and temples, Crete was under Mycenaean rule.
    What happened to the Minoans after this time is shrouded in mystery. The most remarkable of occurrence around this time, as indicated by ancient historians, anthropologists and archeologists, is the fact that on the other side of the world, the settlement of Polynesia takes place around the same time of the Thera eruption.

    If we place the settlement of Polynesia at about 1470 B.C., then there was a 20-year interim period for the Minoans to find a new settlement place after the eruption at Thera. The motive to leave their homeland of Crete was simply to avoid future natural disasters, and to rebuild their communities outside the Mediterranean Sea. What takes place next was the long search for new islands similar to the natural environment offered by Crete and the Aegean Sea their route would take them to the Indo-Pacific region and into the ‘gateway’ of Polynesia.
    This route is commonly known as the Trade winds or circumnavigation route used by the early European explorers, and also by today’s modern travellers.

    A typical sailing circumnavigation of the world by the trade winds and the Suez and Panama Canal, is an important feature in modern travelling activity. Although the Suez and Panama Canal was only completed in 1869, the passage through the Red Sea was still used in ancient times. This is a route followed by many cruising sailors going in the western direction the use of trade winds make it a relatively easy sail, through a number of zones of calm or light winds.

    The Trade winds ( trade in old English meant path or track) are the prevailing patterns of easterly surface winds found in the tropics, within the lower portion of the earth’s equator. (Glossary of Meteorology (2000) “Trade winds.” American Metrological Society 2008).
    Historically, the trade winds have been used by captains of sailing ships to cross the world’s oceans for centuries, and enabled European empires to expand into the Americas and trade across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Using circumnavigation which covers at least a great circle, and in particular one which passes through at least one pair of points ANTIPODAL to each other, the ancient Minoans who were masters of the sea, would have sailed across to Egypt, built their ships along the Red Sea, and then headed down the Red Sea and into the Indo-Pacific region.

    Once in open sea they would have entered the first antipodal points, the end of Yemen and Somalia. The second points are Maldives Island and Sri Lanka. The third points are the guiding shorelines of Indonesia and the points between the tips of Australia and Papua New Guinea. The forth points they would have entered in my view, is the ‘gateway’ to the Pacific Ocean these points are the two Island groups of Solomon Island, and Vanu atu . ( atu / alu in Samoan means go to or all of) . The final antipodal points are the Islands of Tuv alu and Fiji . When you join these points on a map and draw a line between these, you will discover that the dominant island group in direct line of this circumnavigation route following the trade winds, is the Islands of Samoa. Notice the geographic position of Tonga to the south and outside the circumnavigation route. This simply rules out Tonga, as the first point of contact as a settlement destination for the first Polynesians as supported by other commentators.

    With the settlement of Samoa, the Minoans then began a process of establishing a whole new culture called Polynesia (after the Greek word Poly = many and nesos = islands). The Island of Manu’a in Samoa based on the ancient traditions of Polynesia, is considered to be the first settlement place of Polynesia. After analysing new information, the actual site and region where the first Minoans settled before the dispersion to other parts of Samoa, may be established, and will be discussed at a later stage. Over time the Samoan Minoans would formulate a new language and oral tradition, and also a political system (later developing into the Samoan Matai system) based around the ideals of Monarchism, identical to those of Crete. The Minoans, the masters of the sea, would turn the islands of Samoa into the center point for navigational exploration into the wider Pacific Ocean. Samoa would become the hub for trading purposes, and through this activity, they would spread their new culture right across the Pacific region including the distant islands of Hawaii. They also reached the American continent but returned to its preferred isolated center of Samoa. These were natural traits from a system already grounded in Crete and the Aegean Sea. The Minoans had simply duplicated the Minoan civilization in their chosen place of settlement, which was Samoa.

    From this comparative study, the features which have a remarkably striking resemblance, are found in the religious (spirituality and demigod beliefs), the social, and creative art forms for both the Samoan, and Minoan cultures. These art forms and social activities were a key factor for the well being of its people in ancient times and also in today’s postmodern world.

    After examining numerous ancient Minoan pottery, and frescoes along side the patterns of traditional Samoan tattooing (Tatau), and the Siapo (or tapa cloths), the similarity in design motifs and imagery are incredibly identical in form and style. In an interview with world renowned Samoan Tattooist the late Su’a Suluape Paulo II in March 1999, Paulo addressing the question on Polynesian origins stated, “Eventually through the tattooing, I am going to write something, because all these motifs, the designs that are very similar in the Polynesian islands, are going to connect somewhere.”

    I have presented these ideas and themes, as a way of looking beyond scientific proof, and explored the possible origins more from a cultural perspective, considering ancient traditions of Samoa. Numerous theories on the origins of Polynesia have been expressed with little attention to the traditions of the indigenous people of the land. Only through this passage can we come to understand the complex nature of any known civilization and its origins. The Egyptians have its mysterious hieroglyphics, the Incas its many inscriptions, Asia the Confucius philosophy, and in Europe its sacred temples. Samoa and the rest of Polynesia share a common bond written in its oral traditions, and proverbial statements. One thing is clear, is that they each share the same origin story of a known race calling themselves O Samoa o tagata folau , people of the sea, from the motherland known as Samoa.
    There was once a unique civilization, which flourished in the heart of the Pacific for hundreds of years, before the rivalry and conflict, before the intermarriage across bloodlines, especially between the Melanesians of Tonga and Fiji, with pure Polynesian Samoans. Despite all these changes in Pacific history, there are still pure Polynesians living among us in the motherland of Samoa. When we examine our own ancestral lineage we will come to recognise them as pure Polynesians, Samoan Minoans from ancient Crete.