Σάββατο, 17 Αυγούστου 2013

A prolonged drought possibly wiped out the Mycenaean civilization.




Analysis of sediments in a series of lakes outside Larnaca Cyprus shows that a sharp and prolonged climate change might be the cause of the mysterious collapse of civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age, 3,200 years ago.
Archaeologists have disagreed for years about the causes of the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization of the Hittites and other peoples of the region, an event that has been baptized "crisis of the Late Bronze Age."

"Before the crisis of the Late Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean hosted some of the most advanced civilizations of the world," note the authors of this new study.

"In the Aegean, the Mycenaean civilization was flourishing with strong urban centers like Mycenae and Tiryns in Argolis, Pylos in Messenia, Athens in Attica, Thebes and Orchomenus in Boeotia Iolcos in Thessaly and Knossos in Crete '.

At the same time, "the Hittites had created a vast empire that included much of Anatolia and northwestern Syria and extends east to Mesopotamia. In Egypt, too, the New Kingdom was at its peak."

Many suspect that the causes of the collapse may have been financial, but in recent years have shown no evidence of physical factors such as the fall in temperature and drought. Previous study at the University of New Mexico, for example, recorded a reduction in the surface temperature of the sea around 1200 BC

"Climate change has destroyed crops and brought shortage of wheat and famine, which was caused or accelerated socio-economic crises and led to migrations" write the researchers, led by David Kaniefski of Toulouse University.

Mr Kaniefski and his colleagues collected ancient sediments from four saline lakes located just outside of Larnaca, near the mosque of Hala Sultan Tekke. The lakes were once parts of a bay which ultimately surrounded by land around 1450 BC.

The study of pollen found in sediments revealed that agriculture collapsed in around 1200 BC and did not recover even 850 BC, three centuries later. At the same time, however, the proportion of plants resistant to cold and drought increased.

The conclusion is that the crisis of the Late Bronze Age coincides with an abrupt climate change to drier and colder, but this can not be easily explained.

It is therefore likely that the prolonged drought caused or hastened the disappearance of these advanced peoples.

However, they might not ever realize what the cause of their afflictions was. Climate change maybe happened so slowly to be able to recognize it.

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