Late Bronze Age collapse
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Bronze Age collapse is the name given by those historians who see the transition in the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age, as violent, sudden and culturally disruptive. The palace economies of the Aegean and Anatolia which characterised the Late Bronze Age were replaced, after a hiatus, by the isolated village cultures of the Ancient Dark Age.
Between 1206 and 1150 BC, the cultural collapse of the Mycenaean kingdoms, the Hittite Empire in Anatolia and Syria, and the Egyptian Empire in Syria and Canaan, interrupted trade routes and extinguished literacy. In the first phase of this period, almost every city between Troy and Gaza was violently destroyed, and often left unoccupied thereafter: examples include Hattusa, Mycenae, Ugarit.