Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Arp, Ashley. 2024. "A Grim End for Europe's First Civilization: The Fall of Minoan Crete." Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Ashley Arp 2024.


Early popular theories about the collapse of the Minoan civilization center around natural disasters, but geoarchaeological research from the past few decades has disproved these earlier theories. It is evident that the Minoan civilization continued to thrive for around a century after the volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami that had previously been credited as the cause for the collapse. Evidence of manmade destruction has been uncovered across the island of Crete c. 1450 BCE and this period was quickly followed by a drastic cultural shift that included more Mycenaean elements than had been found on the island previously. These destructions, along with the new mainland cultural influence, indicate that Crete had been invaded and taken over by Mycenaeans. Despite this, Minoan culture was not entirely wiped out. Their art and architectural styles continued to influence the mainland, even after the Minoan collapse.