Climate History Network

Late Bronze Age Drought and Collapse

leave a comment »

23ISRAEL-popupA new study identifying a major drought during the Late Bronze Age crisis (ca.1250-1100BCE) in the Eastern Mediterranean has received considerable media attention, including a write-up in the New York Times.  The theory that a drought had set off the century of famines, migration, and political instability at the end of the Bronze Age has been proposed by various historians and archaeologists for almost 50 years.  Recent advances allowing for higher-resolution dating of certain proxy data have finally established that the drought was real, prolonged, and severe, and it overlapped very closely with the period of crisis (see Kaniewsky et al. 2013).  The authors of the new study have added high-resolution analysis of a pollen core from the Sea of Galilee to provide the clearest indication of the drought yet.  The study compares this evidence with the sparse written records indicating drought and famine in Egypt and the Levant at the time; and they argue for a climate-led “collapse” similar to the one Ronnie Ellenblum has proposed for the region in the 11th-12th centuries AD.  Unfortunately, there are only the vaguest indications how such a catastrophe scenario might have unfolded or what other circumstances might have contributed.

Dafna Langgut, Israel Finkelstein, and Thomas Litt, “Climate and the Late Bronze Age Collapse: New Evidence from the Southern Levant,” Tel Aviv 40 (2013): 149–75, doi:10.1179/033443513X13753505864205.

About these ads

Written by Sam White

October 23, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Posted in In the News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: