Greek Dark Ages
|Geographical range||Greek mainland and Aegean sea|
|Dates||c. 1100 – c. 750 BC|
|Characteristics||Destruction of settlements and collapse of the socioeconomic system|
|Preceded by||Mycenaean Greece, Minoan civilization|
|Followed by||Archaic Greece|
|History of Greece|
The archaeological evidence shows a widespread collapse of Bronze Age civilization in the Eastern Mediterranean world at the outset of the period, as the great palaces and cities of the Mycenaeans were destroyed or abandoned. At about the same time, the Hittite civilization suffered serious disruption and cities from Troy to Gaza were destroyed and in Egypt, the New Kingdom fell into disarray that led to the Third Intermediate Period.
Following the collapse, fewer and smaller settlements suggest famine and depopulation. In Greece, the Linear B writing of the Greek language used by Mycenaean bureaucrats ceased and the Greek alphabet would not develop until the beginning of the Archaic Period. The decoration on Greek pottery after about 1100 BC lacks the figurative decoration of Mycenaean ware and is restricted to simpler, generally geometric styles (1000–700 BC).
It was previously thought[by whom?] that all contact was lost between mainland Hellenes and foreign powers during this period, yielding little cultural progress or growth. But archaeologist Alex Knodell considers that artifacts from excavations at Lefkandi on the Lelantine Plain in Euboea in the 1980s "revealed that some parts of Greece were much wealthier and more widely connected than traditionally thought, as a monumental building and its adjacent cemetery showed connections to Cyprus, Egypt, and the Levant as markers of elite status and authority, much as they had been in previous periods", and this shows that significant cultural and trade links with the east, particularly the Levant coast, developed from c. 900 BC onwards. Additionally, evidence has emerged of the new presence of Hellenes in sub-Mycenaean Cyprus and on the Syrian coast at Al-Mina.