Eberhard Zangger

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Eberhard Zangger during fieldwork at the Palace of Nestor in Pylos, Greece, in 1998.

Eberhard Zangger (born in 1958, Kamen, Germany) is a Swiss geoarchaeologist, corporate communications consultant and publicist. Since 1994 he has been advocating the view that a Luwian civilization existed in Western Asia Minor during the 2nd millennium BC.

Life and Work[edit]

Eberhard Zangger studied geology and paleontology at the University of Kiel and completed a PhD program at Stanford University between 1984 and 1988.[1] After this he was a senior research associate in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge (1988–91).[2] In June 1991 he founded the consultancy office Geoarcheology International[3] in Zurich, Switzerland, from where he participated in about six archaeological projects in the eastern Mediterranean each year until 1999.

Zangger began concentrating on geoarchaeology in 1982. His early research work and discoveries included the coastal situation of Dimini Magoula in Neolithic Central Greece, the extent of Lake Lerna[4] in the Argive Plain, the age and function of the Mycenaean river diversion and extent of the lower town of Tiryns,[5] the insular character of Asine,[6] the artificial harbor of Nestor at Pylos,[7] including its clean water flushing mechanism, and a human-made dam in Minoan Monastiraki in central Crete.

Zangger gained international recognition in 1992 with his interpretation of Plato’s Atlantis as Troy.[8][9] According to Zangger, Plato used an Egyptian version of the story about Troy for his legendary report on Atlantis. Zangger based his argument on comparisons between Mycenaean culture and Plato’s account of the Greek civilization facing Atlantis, as well as parallels between the recollections of the Trojan War and the war between Greece and Atlantis. He recognized similarities between the Sea People invasions and the aggressors described by Plato and he also saw parallels between the Sea People invasions and the Trojan War. In 1992 Zangger arrived at the conclusion that Troy must have been much bigger than the archeological scholarship had presumed, and that the city must have had artificial harbors inside the modern floodplain. In an article for the Oxford Journal of Archaeology in 1993 Zangger listed many commonalities between Plato's description of Atlantis and different accounts of Troy as it looked in the late Bronze Age.[10]

In 1994, another book followed in which Zangger for the first time presented a chronology of political and economic developments in the eastern Mediterranean during the 13th century BC.[11] This time, Zangger interpreted the legend of the Trojan War to be the memory of a momentous war which led to the collapse of many countries around the eastern Mediterranean around 1200 BC. Zangger’s overall research goal was to find an explanation for the end of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean around 1200 BC. In contrast to the archaeological scholarship of the time, Zangger attributed greater importance to the states in Western Anatolia that are known from Hittite documents, including the Luwian kingdoms Arzawa, Mira, Wilusa, Lukka and Seha River Land. In Zangger’s view, if these petty kingdoms had stood united, they would have matched the economic and military importance of Mycenaean Greece or Minoan Crete.[12]

In his third book, Zangger turned to developments in the 12th century BC after the Trojan War.[13] According to Zangger, scattered groups of survivors of the Sea People invasions and the Trojan War founded new settlements in Italy and Syria/Palestine from which the Etruscan and Phoenician cultures emerged. Zangger also argued against the overrating of natural disasters as a trigger for cultural change. In his opinion, natural scientists and specialists in urban development and hydraulic engineering should become more often involved in archaeology.

In collaboration with the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources in Hannover, Zangger prepared a helicopter-based geophysical exploration of the plain of Troy to locate settlement layers and artificial port basins using ground-penetrating techniques.[14] The Turkish Ministry of Culture did not grant permission to conduct this project. In 2001 Zangger spoke at a symposium on Troy at the Heidelberg Academy of Science, telling the audience that because of a vigorous scholarly dispute with the Troy excavator Manfred Korfmann, Zangger was ceasing his research.[15][16]

In the fall of 1999, Zangger became a business consultant specializing in corporate communications and public relations.[17] In 2002 he founded science communication GmbH, a consultancy firm for corporate communications.

Since April 2014, Zangger is president of the board of the international non-profit foundation Luwian Studies. The commercial register of Canton Zurich (Switzerland) states as the foundation's purpose “to explore the second millennium BC in Western Asia Minor as well as to spread knowledge of it”.[18]

Public Culture[edit]

The German novelist Gisbert Haefs produced a small literary monument for Zangger by basing the character Tsanghar on him in the 1997 novel Troy. Haefs processed the Troy-Atlantis-thesis for his novel.

Selected Publications[edit]

  • The Landscape Evolution of the Argive Plain (Greece). Paleo-Ecology, Holocene Depositional History and Coastline Changes. PhD dissertation at Stanford University, University Microfilm International, Ann Arbor, Michigan 1988
  • Prehistoric Coastal Environments in Greece: The Vanished Landscapes of Dimini Bay and Lake Lerna. Journal of Field Archaeology 18 (1): 1-15. 1991
  • Geoarchaeology of the Argolid. Argolid, volume 2. Edited by the German Archaeological Institute. Gebrüder Mann Verlag, 149 pages, 1993 ISBN 3-7861-1700-4
  • The Island of Asine: A paleogeographic reconstruction. Opuscula Atheniensa XX.15: 221-239. 1994
  • Zangger, Eberhard; Michael Timpson, Sergei Yazvenko, Falko Kuhnke & Jost Knauss: The Pylos Regional Archaeological Project; Landscape Evolution and Site Preservation, Hesperia 66 (4): 549-641. 1997
  • Athanassas, Constantin et al.: Exploring Paelogreographic Conditions at Two Paleolithic Sites in Navarino, Southwest Greece, Dated by Optically Stimulated Luminescence. Geoarchaeology 27: 237-258. 2012
  • Plato’s Atlantis Account: A distorted recollection of the Trojan War. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 18 (1): 77-87. 1993
  • The Flood from Heaven – Deciphering the Atlantis Legend. Sidgwick & Jackson, London; 256 pages 1992 ISBN 0-283-06084 0
  • Ein neuer Kampf um Troia – Archäologie in der Krise. Droemer Verlag. Munich, 352 pages 1994 ISBN 3-426-26682-2
  • The Future of the Past: Archaeology in the 21st Century. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2001 ISBN 0-297-64389-4
  • Zangger, Eberhard, Michael Timpson, Sergei Yazvenko and Horst Leiermann: Searching for the Ports of Troy. In: Environmental Reconstruction in Mediterranean Landscape, ISBN 978-1-900188-63-0
  • Some Open Questions About the Plain of Troia. In: Troia and the Troad – Scientific Approaches. Springer, Berlin, 317-324. 2003 ISBN 3-540-43711-8

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Eberhard Zangger's (then Eberhard Finke) PhD dissertation at Stanford University". Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  2. ^ Tjeerd van Andel, Eberhard Zangger, Anne Demitrack. "Land Use and Soil Erosion in Prehistoric and Historical Greece" (PDF). Journal of Field Archaeology, Vol. 17 (1990). Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  3. ^ "Author bibliography by Hachette Australia". Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  4. ^ "Prehistoric Coastal Environments in Greece: The Vanished Landscapes of Dimini Bay and Lake Lerna" in Journal of Field Archaeology 18 (1991) pp1–15 Abstract
  5. ^ Zangger, Eberhard: Landscape Changes around Tiryns during the Bronze Age in American Journal of Archeology 98 (2) (1994) pp189–212.
  6. ^ Zangger, Eberhard: The island of Asine: A palaeogeographic reconstruction in Opuscula Atheniensia XX:15 (1994) pp221–239.
  7. ^ "The Pylos Regional Archaeological Project". Retrieved 2015-01-22. 
  8. ^ "The Flood from Heaven – Deciphering the Atlantis Legend." Sidgwick & Jackson, London; 256 pages 1992
  9. ^ "Wegweiser nach Utopia". Der Spiegel (in German). 1992-05-11. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  10. ^ "Plato's Atlantis account - a distorted recollection of the Trojan War". Oxford Journal of Archaeology, Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 77–87, March 1993. Retrieved 2014-09-05. 
  11. ^ "Ein neuer Kampf um Troia – Archäologie in der Krise." Droemer Verlag, Munich, 1994
  12. ^ "Who Were the Sea People?". Saudi Aramco World Volume 46, Number 3 (May/June 1995). Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  13. ^ "The Future of the Past: Archaeology in the 21st Century." Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2001
  14. ^ "Das Puzzle des Philosophen". Der Spiegel (in German). 1998-12-28. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  15. ^ Zick, Michael. "Das Enfant terrible". Bild der Wissenschaft (in German). Retrieved 2012-10-08.  Issue 6/2001, p. 114
  16. ^ Some Open Questions About the Plain of Troia. In: Troia and the Troad – Scientific Approaches. Springer, Berlin, 317-324, 2003.
  17. ^ Gabriela Bonin: „Geoarchäologie: Provokateur Eberhard Zangger“ (in German), Merian, Kreta, October 2000
  18. ^ Entry for the foundation Luwian Studies in the commercial register of canton Zurich

References[edit]