View Full Version : "Environmental Roots of the Late Bronze Age Crisis"

08-15-2013, 04:09 AM
Thought some might be interested in the below paper:


The Late Bronze Age world of the Eastern Mediterranean, a rich linkage of Aegean, Egyptian, Syro-Palestinian, and Hittite civilizations, collapsed famously 3200 years ago and has remained one of the mysteries of the ancient world since the event’s retrieval began in the late 19th century AD/CE. Iconic Egyptian bas-reliefs and graphic hieroglyphic and cuneiform texts portray the proximate cause of the collapse as the invasions of the “Peoples-of-the-Sea” at the Nile Delta, the Turkish coast, and down into the heartlands of Syria and Palestine where armies clashed, famine-ravaged cities abandoned, and countrysides depopulated. Here we report palaeoclimate data from Cyprus for the Late Bronze Age crisis, alongside a radiocarbon-based chronology integrating both archaeological and palaeoclimate proxies, which reveal the effects of abrupt climate change-driven famine and causal linkage with the Sea People invasions in Cyprus and Syria. The statistical analysis of proximate and ultimate features of the sequential collapse reveals the relationships of climate-driven famine, sea-borne-invasion, region-wide warfare, and politico-economic collapse, in whose wake new societies and new ideologies were created.

Kaniewski D, Van Campo E, Guiot J, Le Burel S, Otto T, et al. (2013) Environmental Roots of the Late Bronze Age Crisis. (http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0071004) PLoS ONE 8(8): e71004. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071004
Received: May 28, 2013; Accepted: June 28, 2013; Published: August 14, 2013

Jean M
08-15-2013, 08:48 AM
Work has already been done on this. See Brandon L. Drake, The influence of climatic change on the Late Bronze Age Collapse and the Greek Dark Ages, Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 29, no. 6 (June 2012), pp. 1862-1870. But the good thing about this new paper is that it is open access.

08-15-2013, 12:17 PM
So is it accepted the sea people were just speakers of various Greek dialects? The only other theory I have heard is David's suggestion that they are related to the decline of the Baden culture which makes some sense too.

Jean M
08-15-2013, 05:05 PM
So is it accepted the sea people were just speakers of various Greek dialects?

No. As the authors of the open access paper say:

Despite the abundant literature devoted to the Sea peoples, we still do not know exactly who they were, where they came from, why they attacked, and, finally, where they disappeared to after their raids.

It is unlikely that they were of only one ethnicity. Ramses III referred to attacks by the people of the sea in the 5th year of his reign, who were a confederation of Peleset, Tjeker, Shekelesh, Denyen and Weshesh. Sea People are depicted in their ships on a relief from Medinet Habu. See http://emp.byui.edu/SATTERFIELDB/Rel302/Medinet%20Habu%20and%20the%20Sea%20Peoples.htm

The Sherden are another group mentioned: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherden

Jean M
10-22-2013, 05:48 PM
And another paper on the Bronze Age crisis. The New York Times has the story: Pollen Study Points to Culprit in Bronze Era Mystery http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/23/world/middleeast/pollen-study-points-to-culprit-in-bronze-era-mystery.html

TEL AVIV — More than 3,200 years ago, life was abuzz in and around what is now this modern-day Israeli metropolis on the shimmering Mediterranean shore. To the north lay the mighty Hittite empire; to the south, Egypt was thriving under the reign of the great Pharaoh Ramses II. Cyprus was a copper emporium. Greece basked in the opulence of its elite Mycenaean culture, and Ugarit was a bustling port city on the Syrian coast. In the land of Canaan, city states like Hazor and Megiddo flourished under Egyptian hegemony. Vibrant trade along the coast of the eastern Mediterranean connected it all.

Yet within 150 years, according to experts, the old world lay in ruins. Experts have long pondered the cause of the crisis that led to the Late Bronze Age collapse of civilization, and now believe that by studying grains of fossilized pollen they have uncovered the cause. In a study published Monday in Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, researchers say it was drought that led to the collapse in the ancient southern Levant.

The journal of The Institute of Archaeology reports that an unusually high-resolution analysis of pollen grains taken from sediment beneath the Sea of Galilee and the western shore of the Dead Sea, backed up by a robust chronology of radiocarbon dating, have pinpointed the period of crisis to the years 1250 to 1100 B.C. ...

Recent studies of pollen grains conducted by experts in southeast Anatolia, Cyprus, along the northern coast of Syria and the Nile Delta came up with similar results, though with less control over the chronology, indicating that the crisis was regional.