Ancient Biblical Civilizations Killed by Climate Change, Study Says

Image: haaretz

Between 1250 and 1100 B.C.E., all the great civilizations of the eastern Mediterranean – pharaonic Egypt, Mycenaean Greece and Crete, Ugarit in Syria and the large Canaanite city-states – were destroyed, ushering in new peoples and kingdoms including the first Kingdom of Israel.

Now scientists are suggesting a climatic explanation for this great upheaval: A long dry period caused droughts, hunger and mass migration. Such is the conclusion of a three-year study published this week in Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University.

The researchers drilled deep under the Kinneret, retrieving 18-meter strips of sediment from the bottom of the lake. From the sediment they extracted fossil pollen grains. “Pollen is the most enduring organic material in nature,” says palynologist Dafna Langgut, who did the sampling work.

According to Langgut, “Pollen was driven to the Kinneret by wind and streams, deposited in the lake and embedded in the underwater sediment. New sediment was added annually, creating anaerobic conditions that help preserve pollen particles. These particles tell us about the vegetation that grew near the lake and testify to the climatic conditions in the region.”

For more, go to Haaretz

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Ancient Biblical Civilizations Killed by Climate Change, Study Says

Thank you!

This article has been sent!