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Book Chapter

Commentaries and Perspectives on Archaeoseismological Research

Published:
October 01, 2010

The field of archaeoseismology has been plagued by a persistent problem. The problem has been the integration of several lines of evidence to produce a holistic conclusion without entering into a situation of circular reasoning, wherein the sources are used to build on each other without foundation. The four main sources of evidence are historical texts, epigraphy, archaeology, and geology. Any seismic event may appear in any or all of them, but only the most extreme events in fortuitous locations would be expected to appear in all four. This paper uses some aspects of the interpretation of the 551 C.E. earthquake in the Levant to illustrate how this circular reasoning can develop, and how it tends to corrupt the different lines of evidence. We conclude with a suggested new approach, making the database of regional seismic events both more specific and more complete.

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GSA Special Papers

Ancient Earthquakes

Manuel Sintubin
Manuel Sintubin
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan, Leuven, Belgium
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Iain S. Stewart
Iain S. Stewart
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Fitzroy, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon, UK
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Tina M. Niemi
Tina M. Niemi
Department of Geosciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
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Erhan Altunel
Erhan Altunel
Department of Geological Engineering, Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Eskisehir, Turkey
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Geological Society of America
Volume
471
ISBN print:
9780813724713
Publication date:
October 01, 2010

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