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This page updated 6 January 2010

Religion from the time of the Ice Ages
and soon to be updated and revised

"We know no absolute truth in this world, only varying degrees of ambiguity".
Attributed to: Tao Deng Ming Dao

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Note: This file is for an ongoing, footnoted article on a world role of religion from earliest dates, begun September 2000 (and going slowly) - a work-in-progress. The aim is to produce an overview. Another aim of this article is to try to systematize writings of "a New Age outlook", plus mainstream history, illustrating mankind's earliest history from the time of the Ice Ages. We find that we encounter much contradictory information about the history of religion, human settlement patterns, and views on the role of climatic conditions. Various information about humans' use of the horse can be contradictory as well.

In particular, it can perhaps be said that modifications to religion - or, to the theology adhered to by peoples - can easily occur as problems arising from climate change need to be solved. As is happening in our present days... Drastic climate change provokes changes in theology!
Trying to align chronological information on the effects of climate change on both ancient and modern history, as this article will also attempt, also raises the problem of periodization, and if it seems important to indicate when humanity, or civilizations, suffered due to poor climatic conditions, it also seems important to indicate the better times which could promote prosperity. Which this article will also attempt to do...

A note on method:

THIS article is in follow-up to an article earlier placed on Lost Worlds website, an article which attempted to demonstrate the futility of trying to find an acceptable historical date for the Exodus of Moses from Egypt, an event that has momentous meaning for the history of religion in the Western World. This article has become very popular on the website, and might be contacted by 16 netsurfers per day. (At last count, dropping to 3.4 hits per day.)

In this article I want to explore two ideas: (1) that religion as a human institution grew basically out of one complicated human emotion - grief, and (2) that monotheism became adopted by Semitic peoples due to their own disillusionment and that of peoples around them, with nature/fertility gods... rather as though the figure of a unified, single godhead was the only option left for religious-minded people... finally...

While I researched the above-mentioned article on Moses and the Exodus, I was exploring an idea which had occurred to me, regarding the psychology of human inventiveness, versus the imaginative gifts of the writers of mythopoeic material, users of poetic imagery. For example, the writer(s) of The Book of Genesis. I read again, the imagery about the angel which stands before the entrance to the Garden of Eden with a flaming sword, forever barring Adam and Eve to return to Eden after their banishment, which is their punishment for their sin of disobedience. And of course, this image is supposed also to refer to the very origins of humanity as created by God (Yahweh).

See especially, James S. Forrester-Brown, The Two Creation Stories in Genesis: A Study of their Symbolism. London, Shambhala, 1974.

It struck me that in order for the writer, and before him, the oral storyteller, to use the image of a flaming sword, that the fact of a sword has to exist before the poetic or mythopoeic image can be used. If the fact of the sword's existence can be known, then so can the implications be known of the angel wielding the sword - a different, more fearsome sort of guardian angel. Perhaps cutting Adam to pieces if he tries to re-enter Eden?

There are of course, dates provided by scholars for the writing-down of The Book of Genesis. But we can have no reliable date for when the story was first told, as oral history. However, I assume that the fact of a sword has to exist before the story can be constructed. So what if, a researcher went through all the Old Testament, and found dates for the invention, as far as we can tell, of every human-made object mentioned in the stories presented? This would provide a related context for Old Testament stories, a context dealing with modern theories of the evolution of human kind. (Homo sapiens, or Homo sapiens sapiens)

Considering the issues involved becomes fascinating. One issue is the development of agriculture. The Book of Genesis tells us that Adam and Eve, before they have children, are banished from Eden and condemned to "learn agriculture". To the modern scientific outlook, the development of agriculture took thousands of years, presumably as huge sheets of ice on the landscape of the Northern Hemisphere retreated. Agriculture is a co-operative enterprise, and so requires cohesive social grouping.

This cohesive social group requires the guided use of symbolic language. Agriculture requires observation of the patterns provided by nature, including the seasons. The identification of suitable plants. An assured water supply. The choosing of suitable ground. If the people involved are settled, whether in a tribal or blood-related group, they will tend to have a village life. The physical layout of village life suggests a strong sense of a group-future as well as a sense of design. They must protect themselves against wild animals. Their relationships with animals, we now know, will also involve the domestication of carefully-chosen animals. And so on.

And to return to the powerful image of an angel of the Lord standing at the entrance to the Garden of Eden with a flaming sword, the first known swords were of stone. Which is unlikely to be flaming. A wooden sword might perhaps burn. Or is the angel holding a metal sword which is flaming merely symbolically? In any case, Homo sapiens had to invent and wield a material sword before a storyteller could use the image of a sword. By that time, the metaphysical cat is out of the bag - and so is the history of technology and human inventiveness. By the time we get to the history of technology, we probably also know, or guess, some of the history of human aggression. And so on.

In its powerfully poetic way as a myth of human origins, The Book of Genesis treats several watersheds in human history in an odd way - it refers to the watersheds, but glosses over the facts. Presumably, the storytellers behind Genesis did not know the facts. Genesis treats the development of agriculture. Some forms of ideological conflict are illustrated, between agriculturalists and city dwellers, a battle between rural and devout simplicity of heart versus urban sophistication, trickery and mendacity. (The Old Testament has a consistent bias against cities and city life). A great flood comes as punishment for the sins of humanity. A relationship or covenant between God and humanity, or, God and a chosen people of humanity.

These watersheds are huge themes, and people today are still preoccupied with them. Long after a huge flood, ("The Flood of Noah") a chosen people, descendants of Abraham of Ur in Mesopotamia, are enslaved in Egypt and escape with the help of Moses and their god, and are given rules for living - the Ten Commandments. The fact that the rules, or their implications, are written down with the aid of a newly-developed alphabet is also glossed over in Genesis. What is being glossed over in the story of Moses is the origins of literacy - the kind of literacy that can register vowels and consonants, the thirty or so sounds that make up basic language.

And so I criss-crossed the Old Testament and registers of evidence drawn from the histories of technology. Writing is a kind of technology, in that it allows registration and manipulation of the meanings contained in symbolic language: so writing is a set of symbols concerned with the symbols already evident in language usage. Writing really makes symbolism spin faster. Still, forms of writing - cuneiform and hieroglyphics - had existed long before people learned to write down speech.

However, while the Old Testament is heavily-laden with meaning, at the same time glossing over many facts and histories, it also has some things little mentioned. The only large boat mentioned is the one used by Noah to avoid the flood. Otherwise, while the Old Testament does contain references to seas or oceans, it is almost devoid of anything like maritime history. The bias against cities also sits oddly within the narratives of Genesis, since after Cain killed Abel, he shortly builds a city; while his father Adam, it seems, has almost nothing to do with city life. Somehow, the storytellers of Genesis are obliged to remain ambivalent about cities, even though their ancestor Abraham came from Ur, a major city of south-eastern Mesopotamia.

Somehow, the storytellers of Genesis had been driven to dramatically telescope historical chronologies in the interests of presenting their religious beliefs. The fact that they had telescoped as many historical chronologies as they did handle, was not known till the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, when archaeologists uncovered many mysteries of ancient Egypt, Palestine, and Mesopotamia, the stories of the kings of Assyria, the stories of the long-forgotten Hittites. Also the story of Troy.

The revival of the history of Troy also renewed interest in the formal history of Ancient Greece, its culture and its intellectual achievements.
Irina Antonova, Vladimir Tolstikov and Mikhail Treister, The Gold of Troy: Searching for Homer's Fabled City. London, Thames and Hudson, 1996.

Relatively suddenly in human cultural history, more stories were available about life on Crete, or Cyprus. This trend began not so long after a different trend was initiated by evolutionist Charles Darwin and his intellectual predecessors. Again, relatively suddenly in human cultural history, the Judaeo-Christian tradition in Europe, or, the Western World, was challenged by an onrush of new information. All the new information pushed The Book of Genesis deeper into purely symbolic territory, more and more removed from real-time history. The Book of Genesis ends up stranded on the sands of time, albeit a magnificent literary achievement. It certainly does not treat the long stretches of time which presumably passed before the buildings of any city, anywhere at all in the Middle East.

So questions might arise... such as, what have been some of the relationships between climate histories (as we view them today), real-time material histories, and histories of religion, in the past? There is trouble enough with just one topic which appears as early as Verse 17 of The Book of Genesis - the development of cities, which was preceded by awesomely-long stretches of time.

What needs to be treated first? Evolution, seen as an historically discernible process for humanity? History of the development of agriculture? A definition of civilization? Histories of civilization, after all, are multi-stranded with the histories of religion, and of urbanisation.

Meantime, with climate changes... as Lamb says... As history demonstrates, warmer is better, colder is worse.
See H. H. Lamb, Climate History and the Modern World. Second Edition, London and New York: Routledge, 1995.


What has been behind the growth of civilizations? Or rather, of the ideas and notions that buttress civilisation, which first of all must have a regular food supply for large populations in cities. Firstly, I have a feeling that we will find, from dates given us by "science", that the origins of humanity's civilizations will be lost in stories arising from incomplete evidence regarding human movements during the ending of the Ice Ages.

It seems best to begin within an outlook on evolution, and proceed to the development of cities. In which case, we proceed to an extraordinary mystery - the sudden appearance of the cities of Sumer (Shinar).
Samuel Noah Kramer and John Maier, Myths of Enki, the Crafty God. New York, Oxford University Press, 1989. Henri Frankfort et al, Before Philosophy: The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man: An Essay on Speculative Thought in the Ancient Near East. Penguin, 1968. (First pub., University of Chicago Press, 1946).

Here, much depends on what and where Sumer is taken to have been in Mesopotamia, a location, or a culture. The most popular date for the proper appearance of a distinctive Sumerian civilization is about 3500BC; and by 3400BC are thought to have been the appearance of literacy, and a flood at Ur. However, for a date about 4200BC, we find near the River Euphrates, near Ur, the tell of Al 'Ubaid. The people here had primitive reed huts, and used pottery, but not metal. A cemetery is dated at 4200BC. There was also "an early dynastic temple". The word "city" might be too grandiose for description of this settlement. By about 3800BC had appeared the city of Uruk. By 3250BC is mention of "Sumerian" war chariots.
3000BC: Approx, Sumer, first king of Sumer is Etana of Kish, about 3000BC; he stabilized the lands, his temple to Enlil at Nippur. Origins of the Sumerian people are still unknown.
3000BC to 1500BC: Assur a city on the Tigris, named for its god, Assur, a god similar to Enlil and Marduk.
2700BC: Sumerian city of Ur comes into prominence. (Mellersh.) The world's first-known doctor, Lulu, practiced in Sumer around 2700BC. (Doctors also begin to appear in Egyptian records 2600-2100BC.)
Circa 2375BC: Lugalzaggisi, of Umma, the first recorded king of Sumer to unite most cities under his lordship. More unification a generation later with conquests of Sargon of Akkad. (Akkadian is a Semitic tongue unrelated to Sumerian). (Source: McNeill, p. 60. )

The Internet has made available a great deal of information allowing us to freshly explore historical dates given for many contentious developments regarding climate changes... and events in the histories of human civilization.

A variety of researchers now feel that... "A cool shift in climate may have spurred the start of farming and civilization..."

"We are probably more affected more by weather and climate than we think we are."
Paul Mayewski, University of New Hampshire.
Article by Kenneth Chang Copyright ©1999 ABC News Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.

Below are notes for a chronology on world climate changes and human reactions in response:

Before the Ice Ages: Three million years ago:

Evidently, continental drift connected North America to South America "about three million years ago", damming up the easy route for disposing of excess salt. This is an important phenomenon as imbalances in circulations of salt and fresh water can cause broad (though little-known) effects on climatic conditions. Once, there was "a tropical shortcut, an express-route" from waters of the Atlantic to the Pacific, but the dam (known as the Isthmus of Panama), may have been what caused once period of ice ages, simply because of waters finding their way by a forced detour?

If this was a major change in ocean circulations, along with a climate that had anyway already been slowly cooling for millions of years, results may have been not only to ice accumulation, but climatic instability, with "flips occurring every few thousand years or so.
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

About 2.5 million years ago there began "a back and forth of ice" on-Earth. This was about the time that we find that the ape-sized hominid brain began to develop into a fully human one, four times as large and reorganized for language, music, and chains of inference. Ours is now a brain able to anticipate outcomes well enough to practice ethical behavior, able to head off disasters in the making by extrapolating trends... and so on...
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

Writer William Calvin in The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, has warned that: "One of the most shocking scientific realizations of all time has slowly been dawning on us: the earth's climate does great flip-flops every few thousand years, and with breathtaking speed. We could go back to ice-age temperatures within a decade -- and judging from recent discoveries, an abrupt cooling could be triggered by our current global-warming trend. Europe's climate could become more like Siberia's... Because such a cooling would occur too quickly for us to make readjustments in agricultural productivity and supply, it would be a potentially civilization-shattering affair, likely to cause an unprecedented population crash...."
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

Calvin continues, "The discovery of abrupt climate changes has been spread out over the past fifteen years, (from about 1987) and is well known to readers of major scientific journals such as Science and Nature."

"The abruptness data are convincing. Within the ice sheets of Greenland are annual layers that provide a record of the gases present in the atmosphere and indicate the changes in air temperature over the past 250,000 years -- the period of the last two major ice ages."

Calvin continues, "By 250,000 years ago, Homo erectus had died out, after surviving about two million years. By 125,000 years ago Homo sapiens had evolved from our ancestor species -- so 'the whiplash climate changes' of the last ice age affected people much like us.
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

Meanwhile, referring to 160,000BP in respect of global warming, we read that:
"Many scientists fear that rising levels of so-called 'greenhouse gases' from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities will cause global warming, with potentially grave consequences for human agriculture and society. One of the clearest signs that elevated levels of greenhouse gases can result in warming comes from an ice core taken near the Russian Vostok station in Antarctica."

"This graph tracks temperature and atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) from the present back to about 160,000 years ago. (This represents about 11,350 feet of ice accumulation.)"

"The graph clearly shows how a rise in gases will mean a rise in global temperature (though whether rising gases trigger rising temperatures, or vice versa, remains unknown). Also note that, at about 360 parts per million, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere today far exceeds levels at any time in the past 160,000 years--indeed, in the past few million years. For those worried about global warming, this is a sobering statistic."
From a website on climate change topics.

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Circa 25,000 BP - Temperature has yo-yoed over the ages as wildly as it does through any single year. Like natural thermometers, ice cores have recorded these fluctuations, which scientists can "read" by examining isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen in water trapped in the ice. These isotopes come in two forms--"light" and "heavy." Light isotopes have regular hydrogen and oxygen, while heavy isotopes have either hydrogen with an extra neutron or oxygen with one or two additional neutrons. Since heavy isotopes precipitate out of the atmosphere more quickly than light ones, scientists can measure the ratio between the two isotopes to estimate the temperature at any given time. The data in this graph, gleaned from a core drilled in central Greenland, shows how temperatures have risen by more than 20°C (36°F) since the height of the Ice Age 25,000 years ago.
From a website on climate change topics.

In our own life experience, Earth has been in a warm period. For the period between 130,000BC-117,000BC, scientists have known for some time that the previous warm period started 130,000 years ago and ended 117,000 years ago, with the return of cold temperatures that led to an ice age.
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

More than 100,000 years ago, during an inter-glacial period known as the Eemian, a climate event lasting only several hundred years was chronicled in climate records from the deep-sea sediments of the Atlantic Ocean and from lake sediments of Northern Europe. This event, which may provide a clue to future climate change of interest to us, would not have been discovered had it not been for the "Eemian controversy" stirred by examination of the Greenland ice core records.

We also find that about 73,000BP were powerful volcanic eruptions, About 71,000BC, an Indonesian volcano known as Toba erupted with enough force to send more than 600 cubic miles of volcanic material into the atmosphere. Detected on a graph which displays volcanic sulfate levels for between 20,000 and 110,000 years ago, Toba seems to have been the largest eruption of the past 500,000 years. (A seemingly larger spike at about 53,000 years ago involved a series of smaller eruptions on Iceland, which is far closer than Toba is to Greenland, where this core was taken.)

Such violent, so-called caldera eruptions, can drastically alter global climate, by spewing so much ash and sulfur compounds into the atmosphere as to block sunlight and lower temperatures worldwide - a phenomenon today often referred to as "nuclear winter".

Ice cores offer scientists the best means available to learn how past eruptions have affected climate--and thus to predict the impact that future ones might have. If an eruption of the order of Toba, which climatologists believe may have led to as much as several centuries of cold climatic conditions, were to occur today, it could seriously disrupt life on Earth.

During the period, 40,000BC-20,000BC, it is thought that Man was possibly entering the Americas via the Bering Strait crossing. Was this in any time of an ice age?

Between 40,000BC and 25,000BC was "an explosion" in the numbers of new types of tools being used by humanity. About 35,000BC appeared Cro-Magnon Man, the painter of the Paleolithic caves of Southern France and Northern Spain, art works said to still convey "immense presence".

Between 40,000BC-30,000BC, as Cro-Magnon Man settled Europe, was the height of the Wurm glaciation period. Seawater levels were 200-300 feet lower than present levels. It has been suggested that a landbridge to Alaska from Siberia was "as wide as France".

By about 18,000BC, Indians (formerly from Siberia-Mongolia across to Alaska and then gradually moving far south?) would arrive in areas of Peru. In the Northern Hemisphere, Neandertals were still extant. (And we should not forget that Australia's Aboriginals claim that they have been in Australia 40,000 years or even longer, to 60,000 years.) About 18,000BC, according to Calvin, a huge ice sheet lay across the Baltic Sea.
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64. (About 18,000BC is also one date from "new age writers" for the claimed existence of Atlantis.)

In northern latitudes, the late Pleistocene period is marked by the Wurm/Wisconsin glaciation. The Near East was not directly affected by the advance of the European ice sheets but its climate was still "significantly altered".

"An indication of these climatic changes has been obtained from studies of the fauna and sediments in several deep-sea cores. Analyses of cores drilled in the Red Sea have determined that the climate was cooler and more humid there during the period of the last glaciation. Two other deep-sea cores have been drilled in late Quaternary deposits in the eastern Mediterranean, one between Cyprus and Crete and the other somewhat west of Crete. Oxygen isotope analysis of these cores has shown that the temperature of the Mediterranean fell considerably during the period of the last glaciation. Studies of the fauna of core V 10.67 have confirmed this conclusion. There is some doubt about how much the temperature actually decreased at this time but recent work suggests that the estimate of between 5 and 10 degrees C is the more reasonable."
From website: The Neolithic of the Levant A.M.T. Moore - Oxford University (1978)

"This drop in temperature caused increased glacial activity in the mountainous regions of the Eastern Mediterranean. The present relict glaciers in the Taurus expanded considerably and it is estimated that the snowline lay about 1000 metres lower than today, that is at about 2650 metres. It is also believed that there were glaciers in the Mountains of Lebanon and on Mount Hermon but there is a divergence of opinion over how much the snowline was depressed in the Levant. Klaer claims that the permanent snowline today would lie between 3200 and 3400 metres but Messerli estimates that it would be as high as 3700 metres, that is above the summits of the highest mountains in the Lebanon. Both derive their different estimates from studies of present snowfall. Klaer and Messerli have also examined the evidence for glaciation in the mountains and almost agree on the level of the permanent snowline during the Wurm [Glacial Period]."

"Klaer thinks that it lay between 2750 and 2850 metres and so fell about 500 metres; Messerli believes that the snowline was at about 2700 metres, a much greater fall of about 1000 metres. Messerli's estimate of a depression of about 1000 metres would agree better with the evidence from the Taurus [Mountains] and so may be the more likely. If a fall in the air temperature was the sole cause of this lowering of the snowline then it would need to have dropped about 6 or 7 degrees C, an estimate which agrees broadly with the evidence of the deep-sea cores."
From website: The Neolithic of the Levant A.M.T. Moore - Oxford University (1978)

"Studies of the sediments of some cave sites in the Levant have shown that these were deposited under the prevailing cooler climate of the last glaciation. This is most apparent at the inland sites of Jerf Ajla and Yabrud which were affected by continental conditions. Frost weathering could be detected throughout the Mousterian and Upper Palaeolithic sequence at Jerf Ajla, although there were some fluctuations reflecting warmer climatic phases. It is also believed that the top five metres of deposit at Yabrud I, which includes the Mousterian layers, was laid down under cooler conditions. Although winters can be cold in these areas today, they are rarely cool and moist enough to cause significant frost weathering."
From website: The Neolithic of the Levant A.M.T. Moore - Oxford University (1978)

"Farrand has detected cryoturbation in the Levallois-Mousterian and Upper Palaeolithic layers at Jebel Qafzeh near Nazareth. This site lies on the edge of the Galilee hills at an elevation of 220 metres, sufficiently high apparently to have experienced frost weathering. The climate at coastal sites such as Tabun was also somewhat cooler during the last glaciation, but not cold enough, apparently, to cause significant frost weathering The evidence from the caves thus supports that from other sources, indicating that during the last glaciation the temperature in the Levant fell by several degrees."
From website: The Neolithic of the Levant A.M.T. Moore - Oxford University (1978)

"The advance of the ice sheets absorbed water from the oceans and markedly lowered sea levels. During the later Wurm sea-levels throughout the world fell by perhaps 100 or 150 metres, which considerably altered the configuration of the coastline of the Levant. Taking the more modest estimate of a fall of 100 metres, the shoreline in Palestine would have lain 15 kilometres further west across a gradually sloping coastal plain. In Lebanon and southern Syria the coastal plain would have been about 5 kilometres wider than now, sloping down to the sea and dissected by wadis. North of Lattakia it would have been only two kilometres wider with a steep slope."
From website: The Neolithic of the Levant A.M.T. Moore - Oxford University (1978)

For the time about 15,000BC, it is possible to note some academic disputes about propositions concerning any "simultaneous arising" of Homo sapiens in various parts of the world - or not.

It is said that for the period 15,000BC-13,000BC, came the end of "a 60,000-year-old" set of ice sheets. And surprisingly, for 14,000BC or later, we find that possibly, a "basic idea of a monotheism" arose in "the middle East".
See Karen Armstrong, A History of God.

By 12,000BC, as temperatures increased, glaciers melted and the level of the oceans around the world began to rise. "This process had certainly begun by 12,000BC, according to A. M. T. Moore writing in 1978. "And perhaps earlier before 14,000BC". "Thereafter, although interrupted by several short stages of retreat, the level of the oceans rose rapidly until about 5000 BC and then more slowly until it reached its present level about 4000BC-3000BC."

Moore continues, "There is no general agreement on the actual levels of the sea worldwide at particular times during this period although one can gain some idea of the rapidity of the transgression by comparing estimates based on evidence from the continental shelves. Thus by 10,000BC Fairbridge estimates that the sea had r1sen to about 40 or 50 metres below its present level, although Milliman and Emery believe it still to have been much lower at 7000BC, perhaps 15 or as much as 50 metres lower at 5000BC, [some] 10 to 30 metres below present levels.
From website: The Neolithic of the Levant A.M.T. Moore - Oxford University (1978)

Moore continues, circa 15,000BC:
"Palaeo-temperature studies of deep-sea cores from the Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific indicate that the temperature gradually began to rise worldwide between 20,000 and 15,000BP. After 15,000BP it rose sharply until it reached a maximum about 5000BP. The palaeo-temperature curves derived from deep-sea cores mask almost all the minor fluctuations in temperature that occurred during this period but one temporary fall in temperature about 13,000BP lasted long enough to be detected in the Caribbean cores. This has been equated with the Post-Allerod or Younger Dryas phase of cooler climate in northern Europe."
From website: The Neolithic of the Levant A.M.T. Moore - Oxford University (1978)

"The displacement of the coastline has important implications for the pattern of later prehistoric settlement as we see it today. All Terminal Paleolithic and Mesolithic sites and some early Neolithic ones now situated near the sea would have lain well inland at the time they were inhabited. This includes the sites in the coastal dunes and around Mount Carmel in Palestine as well as many of the shelter sites in Lebanon. An open coastal plain would have lain to the west of these sites so their environments would have appeared much more favourable for settlement then than they do now. Almost certainly many more prehistoric sites were situated on the coastal plain which are now drowned. These would have included almost all the sites whose inhabitants might be expected to have supported themselves partly by fishing. Our present views about the economy and settlement pattern of sites on the seaward side of the coastal hills and mountains of the Levant will thus be distorted if we fail to allow for this evidence which we have lost."
From website: The Neolithic of the Levant A.M.T. Moore - Oxford University (1978)

Moore warns, then, about losses of evidence - which one day may be helpfully rediscovered. Calvin suggests, meantime, for the period circa 11,500BC:
"The most recent big cooling started about 12,700 years ago, right in the midst of our last global warming. This cold period, known as the Younger Dryas, is named for the pollen of a tundra flower that turned up in a lake bed in Denmark when it shouldn't have. Things had been warming up, and half the ice sheets covering Europe and Canada had already melted. The return to ice-age temperatures lasted 1300 years."
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

Calvin, suggests that... "The archaeological and historical record is replete with evidence for prehistoric, ancient, and pre-modern societal collapse..."
See Harvey Weiss and Raymond S. Bradley, 'What Drives Societal Collapse?', Science, Jan. 26, 2001.

"These collapses occurred quite suddenly and frequently involved regional abandonment, replacement of one subsistence base by another (such as agriculture by pastoralism), or conversion to a lower energy socio-political organization (such as local-state from interregional empire). Each of these collapse episodes has been discussed intensively within the archaeological community, commonly leading to the conclusion that combinations of social, political, and economic factors were their root causes.
See Harvey Weiss and Raymond S. Bradley, 'What Drives Societal Collapse?', Science, Jan. 26, 2001.

For example, by circa 11,500BC the region of the later Akkadian empire of Mesopotamia became abruptly more humid due to the well-documented intensification of the Indian monsoon. Humidity increased.

For the time about 11,000BC, writes Calvin, "There seems to be no way of escaping the conclusion that global climate flips occur frequently and abruptly. An abrupt cooling could happen now, and the world might not warm up again for a long time: it looks as if the last warm period, having lasted 13,000 years, came to an end with an abrupt, prolonged cooling. That's how our warm period might end too.
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

Weiss and colleagues here find a major question about the origins of agriculture, asking... about the Younger Dryas date (about 10,900BC): "What made the Natufians change their lifestyle so drastically? Thanks to better dating control and improved paleoclimatic interpretations, it is now clear that this transition coincided with the Younger Dryas climate episode about 12,900 to 11,600 years ago. Following the end of the last glacial period, when southwest Asia was dominated by arid steppe vegetation, a shift to increased seasonality (warm, wet winters and hot, dry summers) led to the development of an open oak-terebinth parkland of woods and wild cereals across the interior Levant and northern Mesopotamia. This was the environment exploited initially by the hunting and gathering Natufian communities. When cooler and drier conditions abruptly returned during the Younger Dryas, the harvests of wild resources dwindled, and foraging for these resources could not sustain Natufian subsistence. They were forced to transfer settlement and wild cereals to adjacent new locales where intentional cultivation was possible".
See Harvey Weiss and Raymond S. Bradley, 'What Drives Societal Collapse?', Science, Jan. 26, 2001.

An early date for the appearance of the Natufians is 10,000BC, an "approximate time of the Natufian cultural stage", just before the domestication of plants and the spread of settled farming groups. The Natufians were the last group to occupy Kebara cave in Israel for a long period, in the early stages of the The Neolithic or New Stone Age. (By comparison by 10,000BC, the Jomon culture of Japan is associated with the introduction of rice agriculture and the use of metal and this culture probably came from the Asian mainland. About 10,000BC or later is a date given for perhaps the world's oldest pottery, a vessel found at the Ishigoya Cave on Hunshu, Japan. And, some writers think that about 10,000BC occurred an alteration in the Earth's magnetic field.)

By 10,000BC and previous, human habitation is noted (for Upper Paleolithic Period) at Mezin, Ukraine, and Buret, Siberia.

By 9000BC: The Natufians of Israel were burying their dead in ceremonial graves and dwelling in structures with pavings, and had used three different permanent towns for about 200 people. Natufian culture is regarded as Mesolithic. These people based in Israel about 12 miles north of the Dead Sea, and by about 10,000BC were hunters, cave-dwellers. They worked bone and antler, used flints, and drew animals on caves as did the people at Lascaux in France.

About 11,000BC we find, from an abundance of readings, that there were mass animal extinctions - the retreat of an ice age. The bow and arrow are invented (which probably can be viewed as allowing a different, more precise method of hunting for smaller animals?). Some think that the Saharan desertification began about now. By 10,000BC, Jericho in Palestine was occupied, as were areas of the Tigris-Euphrates zone so important in ancient history. Agriculture displaced horticulture, and humans began to make use of the horse, including in Scandinavia. Indications are that Australian sea levels rise. World population about now has been estimated at 10 million. This period seems an ideal timezone for an argument that now, the agricultural revolution began, not in a chosen way, but a forced way. But when humans began to practise agriculture, were there any implications for our views on the origins of religion? If Karen Armstrong is correct, a primitive kind of monotheism appeared about 3000 years previously, before the agricultural revolution began. This would suggest that "religion" began in a context of hunting and gathering, perhaps even in times of cave-dwelling? (Note: a view arose in late 2009, commented in world media, that part of the motivation for humanity conducting its agricultural revolution was a liking for alcohol made from harvested grain - Ed)

"An abrupt warming..."

By about 10,500BC, a period given for the extinction of Wooly Mammoths, we find "an abrupt warming". Mountain lakes burst and seas rose. About 10,5000BC is one date given by a New Age writer, for Angkor Wat in Cambodia, said to be "an astronomical observatory", and said to be part of a world network of similar observatories. If any such network of observatories existed, perhaps humanity were looking at the heavens to find explanations for massive changes in nature? Unless humans varied staggeringly in their achievements in different areas by 10,000BC, it is, of course, difficult to align the intellectual sophistication of such astronomical curiosities with archaeological datings on, say, the Natufians of about 10,000BC in Israel.

10,500BC: Journalist Kenneth Chang, writing for, has suggested that: "If it weren't for a prolonged cool spell about 12,500 years ago, perhaps we'd still be hanging out as hunter-gatherers and never bothered with civilization? At that time, a major source of food for people living in the Middle East was vast fields of einkorn, wheat, barley and rye. These plants, particularly sensitive to cool temperatures, suffered when the warmth since the last Ice Age was interrupted by a 1,000-year-long cool and dry period called the Younger Dryas.

Chang finds that "Necessity is the Mother of Farming". The beginnings of farming appears to coincide with the Younger Dryas. According to Ofer Bar-Yosef, an anthropologist at Harvard University's Peabody Museum, that's no coincidence. Instead of relying on what was growing naturally, he says, people started clearing land and planting seeds to insure they would have enough food. "It caused people to initiate cultivation," he says.

Chang continues, Bar-Yosef's findings also narrow the location of the first farmers to the western half of the "Fertile Crescent" -- an arcing swath of the Middle East, from the Persian Gulf north to Turkey and then back down through Syria, Lebanon and Israel toward Egypt.

According to Bar-Yosef, the wild varieties of grains thrived in the western region and were transplanted elsewhere later. As people settled down and developed agriculture, towns and eventually civilization arose.

That's not the only time that climate may have shaped the course of humanity. Bar-Yosef and other researchers presented findings about climate and civilization last Saturday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Anaheim, California.

"We are probably more affected more by weather and climate than we think we are," says Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New Hampshire and another of the speakers at the Anaheim session, Chang has reported.

Can climate change quite rapidly? The question is asked by A. M. T. Moore. We find that for the period about 10,0000BC (12,000BP -before present) - "Ice cores have revealed that global climate--long thought to change only very gradually--can shift with frightening speed, in some cases in a matter of years. As [a] graph shows, one such jump occurred about 12,000 years ago, as the last glacial period (the Pleistocene) was giving way to our current warm "interglacial" period (the Holocene). Suddenly, possibly in less than five years, average temperatures, which were slightly cooler than today's, plunged by about 27°F, returning the world to near-glacial conditions. (As the graph indicates, calcium levels tend to go up and snow accumulation down with temperature, which is estimated by comparing the ratio of oxygen isotopes in water--see "Temperature" in core at left.) The Younger Dryas, as this freak period is known, lasted about 1,300 years before it returned--just as abruptly--to the temperatures typical of the period immediately preceding it."

"Studies of shorelines, sediments and pollen samples have shown that there were several marked oscillations in climate during the period of the last glaciation and after. Unfortunately these oscillations are not well dated and it is difficult anyway to correlate the evidence from these different sources. Thus there is no general agreement on the pattern of climatic change in the Levant during the late Pleistocene and Holocene. Some authorities believe they can detect a detailed sequence of climatic fluctuations which matches the well-documented record of northern Europe while others think that the evidence is insufficiently detailed for such a precise evaluation. Nevertheless, there is now enough evidence from a variety of sources to attempt a reconstruction of the environment at the close of the Pleistocene and in the early Holocene, even if the absolute chronology is still uncertain ....."
From website: The Neolithic of the Levant A.M.T. Moore - Oxford University (1978). :From The Neolithic of the Levant A.M.T. Moore - Oxford University (1978), THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE LEVANT IN THE LATE PLEISTOCENE AND EARLY HOLOCENE Chapter I (Pages 6 - 11)

Moore continues, [with Excerpts, Definitions and Addendums]... "The environment of the Levant at the close of the Pleistocene and early in the Holocene was until recently poorly understood. It had long been thought that changes in the environment at the end of the Pleistocene contributed to the evolution of the Neolithic way of life but the influence of these changes could not be properly assessed. Recent studies in geomorphology, palynology and palaeozoology have produced new evidence on which to base an outline reconstruction of the environment in the late Quaternary. I will begin this chapter by discussing certain general factors which affected the environment of the whole Levant. I will then consider the evidence for the climate, landscape and vegetation of each region of the Levant and how they were modified, first in the late Pleistocene and after in the early Holocene."
From website: The Neolithic of the Levant A.M.T. Moore - Oxford University (1978)

In the same timeframe, about 10,000BC, Weiss and colleagues find that: "In the Old World, the earliest well-documented example of societal collapse is that of the hunting and gathering Natufian communities in southwest Asia. About 12,000 years ago, the Natufians abandoned seasonally nomadic hunting and gathering activities that required relatively low inputs of labor to sustain low population densities and replaced these with new labor-intensive subsistence strategies of plant cultivation and animal husbandry. The consequences of this agricultural revolution, which was key to the emergence of civilization, included orders of magnitude increases in population growth and full-time craft specialization and class formation, each the result of the ability to generate and deploy agricultural surpluses.
See Harvey Weiss and Raymond S. Bradley, 'What Drives Societal Collapse?', Science, Jan. 26, 2001.

Again, about 10,000BC, from A. M. T. Moore, "The most recent curve of glacio-eustatic sea-level fluctuations during the Quaternary is that published by Shackleton and Opdyke. This was derived from oxygen isotope analysis of foraminifera in a core, Vema 28-238, drilled in the sea bed of the Pacific. This new evidence also indicates that the level of the sea rose rapidly once the ice began to melt. The curve agrees better with that of Fairbridge than of Milliman and Emery; Shackleton and Opdyke estimate that at 10,000BC the sea would have been about 30 to 40 metres below the present level.
From website: The Neolithic of the Levant A.M.T. Moore - Oxford University (1978)

Oddly enough, examining material gathered from wide reading, we find that from about 9600BC, a good many writers feel they can find other-than-archaeological human symbolic material to deal with, though some of this has to do with more optimistic agriculture. About 9600BC is another date given by a "new age writer" for the influence of Atlantis. Allan and Delair discuss evidence of a catastrophic world change about 9500BC.
See D. S. Allan and J. B. Delair, When The Earth Nearly Died: Compelling Evidence of a Catastrophic World Change, 9,500BC. Bath, UK, Gateway Books, 1995.

For the time about 9400BC, Calvin writes, "Then, about 11,400 years ago, things suddenly warmed up again, and the earliest agricultural villages were established in the Middle East.
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

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Writers more interested in cultural development find that about 9000BC, "Patriarchy begins to displace matriarchy" .Some think that Plato placed Atlantis about now. Evidence arises also of the ancient settlers of Egypt coming from its west. Something else began to happen... perhaps something new?

Weiss et al for the time around 9000BC write: "Climate during the past 11,000 years was long believed to have been uneventful, but paleoclimatic records increasingly demonstrate climatic instability. Multidecadal-to multicentury-length droughts started abruptly, were unprecedented in the experience of the existing societies, and were highly disruptive to their agricultural foundations because social and technological innovations were not available to counter the rapidity, amplitude, and duration of changing climatic conditions.
See Harvey Weiss and Raymond S. Bradley, 'What Drives Societal Collapse?', Science, Jan. 26, 2001.

Weiss et al continue... for about 8000BC: "Our civilizations began to emerge right after the continental ice sheets melted about 10,000 years ago. Civilizations accumulate knowledge, so we now know a lot about what has been going on, what has made us what we are. We puzzle over oddities, such as the climate of Europe."
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

By about 8000BC was a warming period. We find (again, from wide reading) evidence of the human habitation of Northern Eurasia, of Britain becoming habitable, the appearance of "writing", the mining of obsidian.

About 7500BC-6000BC is noted something which probably deserves greater attention - as the present writer feels - than it has been given so far - the first noted settlement(s) of several large river mouths, at locations closer to the equator than not. Not only have people begun agriculture, they have ventured to utilise the resources provided by big-river deltas. Apart from fish as food supply, these resources include large expanses of water, and I suggest - the use of boats, even if only hollowed-out logs - dug-out canoes - as a means of water transport. And if so, the beginnings of a primitive maritime history. The beginnings of agriculture are one thing - the beginnings of maritime history are another... the beginnings of "international trade", perhaps best thought of for this timezone as: trade crossing cross-cultural borders?
The first date I find arising for the first-known use of a dug-out canoe is about Holland, about 6200BC. About 2500BC is one of the earliest available dates for a major maritime expedition: One of the first-known explorations by sea as a deliberate attempt to find new lands was when Egypt sent ships down the Red Sea to the mysterious Land of Punt, which was presumably the coast of Somalia.

In respect of speculation about "maritime history", A. M. T. Moore finds that: circa 6000BC: "These estimates [of changes in sea levels] may not correspond exactly with the Mediterranean rise in sea-level but as a recent study has shown that there was little tectonic movement along the Levant coastline during this period (Sanlaville Quoted on Page 318 in *15 Below) they probably give a rough indication of the rate of change. They suggest that the coastal plain was sufficiently open to facilitate communications along the Levant coast until about 7000 or even as late as 5000 BC, that is during the later Neolithic. Thereafter, although the level of the sea rose further and there were additional minor fluctuations (See Page 290 ibid), this had no significant effect upon the pattern of settlement. Movement along the coast became more difficult, particularly at the foot of the Mountains of Lebanon between Beirut and Tripoli.
From website: The Neolithic of the Levant A.M.T. Moore - Oxford University (1978)

Boats were made of wood, and wood does not last as stone does. Archaeological considerations of stone monuments, I suggest, have rather biased the questioning we can successfully make of pre-history. And at this point, other matters arise for fresh consideration. More refined customs of burial of the dead. The use of horses. We find at this point that some difficult questions arising for accurate dating of cultural developments - and for the discussion of various "religious matters".

By about 7000BC, we can find evidence of the burial of high-status people with items for their afterlife becoming more common. Evidently, the first regular milking of animals is about now, in the Sahara area. When we also find that...

The Sahara apparently underwent two distinct, major periods of desertification ... 6700BC - 5500BC and then 3800BC-3400BC,

Interestingly, by 6500BC, a "small fortress" had been built at Troy. Also, and indicating a braver or more confident maritime history, some Greek islands were settled by now. People were using moon calendars. For this period are claims about "population explosions". Then, apparently, by 6400BC came a "global cold snap". (This is the earliest date I have found for "a fortress", indicating that settled people feel they need protection from human enemies. A "fortress" will not only give shelter from armed assailants, it can also store food.)

Weiss et al find that by 6400BC: "The population and socio-economic complexity of these early agricultural settlements increased until about 6400BC, when a second postglacial climatic shock altered [their] developmental trajectory. Paleoclimatic evidence documents abrupt climatic change at this time... the last major climatic event related to the melting continental ice sheets that flooded the North Atlantic... In the Middle East, a 200-year drought forced the abandonment of agricultural settlements in the Levant and northern Mesopotamia. The subsequent return to moister conditions in Mesopotamia promoted settlement of the Tigris-Euphrates alluvial plain and delta, where breachable river levees and seasonal basins may have encouraged early southern Mesopotamian irrigation agriculture."
See Harvey Weiss and Raymond S. Bradley, 'What Drives Societal Collapse?', Science, Jan. 26, 2001.

For about 6000BC, we find information on... three sudden ice melts, volcanic activity, use of metallurgy and megalithic structures. As new technology, lead smelting has appeared in Anatolia. Were the first metal bits for horses' mouths made of lead?

About 5800BC is a date given for surprising geological disturbances. The seas about Norway and Britain rise. Seas rise globally. We find the formation of the English channel, and a loss of coastlines in that area. In 5700BC in Mesopotamia arise lists of the Antedeluvian Kings, which suggests lesser disturbance in the Tigris-Euphrates valleys for these millennia... However, for the period about 5500BC arise some writers' claims that the Black Sea broke and caused, perhaps, "the Flood of Noah". (A "new period" began about now in Japan.) Did the Black Sea "break" as a matter of ice-lakes also bursting, due to de-glaciations? It is hard to know.

Problems for the spread of human settlement patterns do seem indicated by the ancient history of present-day Hungary, or about the rivers Danube, Dnister and Dnipra, which empty into the Black Sea's north-western coasts. By about 5000BC, "Hungary is settled in the Danube River area". But, if agriculture began about 11,000BC, why does it take 6000 years for Hungary (presumably the plains of Hungary, near the Danube River) to be settled? The plains of Hungary are bounded to the north and the west by two mountain ranges - the Danube debouches into the Black Sea. When, we find, the Black Sea is scarcely mentioned at all by writers till about 5500BC, when it is said "to break" and to flood what can be called by now, Mesopotamia. (?) The areas east of the Dnister and Dnipra rivers is a traditional homeland - set mysteriously deep in time - for steppelanders with a nomadic lifestyle highly dependent on their animals' welfare. What does seem clear is that relatively well-organised nomadic lifestyles long pre-dated the rise of cities (as in Sumeria).

Problems arise of information handling. There seems to be no good explanation for why the area of Hungary area is not settled relatively early. Is it possible that this area was still partly-glaciated, still an "ice-age-zone". Contradictorily, we find, that by about 5000BC is an early date given by some new age writers for the appearance of the Sphinx in Egypt. Human world population about 5000BC is estimated at 5 million (has population dropped five million since the estimate of 10 million for about 11,000BC?). For this period, is evidence that the Sahara is still lush. Astronomical observations are made in Egypt. It is, evidently, an inter-glacial time.

This seems consistent with other wide reading, and some progress continues. By 4900BC we find the use of "early hieroglyphics" in Egypt, and the establishment of "a first capital" city of Egypt. Matters seem to be on the cusp of "Megalithic times".

It is possible to read that the erection of megalithic structures was spread by maritime contact. But can this explain the findings made in France, for about 4700BC, about a megalithic "astronomical observatory"?

By about 4500BC, evidence arises about cultivators of "the Danube River area, Hungary." (By 4300BC, report Australian researchers, Sydney, Australia, was "a tropical paradise".) Sea levels had changed. Also, there arises perhaps more evidence of other maritime activity, Neolithic farmers had moved into Britain - across the English Channel which geologically is of relatively recent origin, about 5800BC.)

Is it generally wetter by about 4200BC? By now, a dominant figure in Mesopotamian culture is Eridu - god of the waters. Arising in Mesopotamia (the Akkadians), between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, during the rule of Sargon of Akkad, arises the world's first united empire, which "linked the remote, rain-fed agricultural hinterlands of northern Mesopotamia with the complex city-states of the south." Sargon's empire extended from the Persian Gulf to the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers circa 4300BC-4200BC. "The Akkadians imperialised agricultural production and controlled long-distance trade."
See Geology, April 2000. Email to:, or at Further scientific evidence is available at: pubs/drpint/

But after about 100 years of prosperity, the Akkadian empire collapsed abruptly, near 4200BC. Resettlement was then conducted by "smaller, sedentary populations," to about 3900BC. (Evidence arises following archaeological investigations from an excavation site at Tell Leilan in northeast Syria. It is possible that (due to volcanic activity?) a major environmental change associated with the Akkadian collapse occurred about 4200BC? At Tell Leilan?

Tell Leilan was one of three major city-states in northeast Syria to be integrated into the Akkadian empire, as a provincial capital and primary provider of imperialised cereal production.
Weiss et al (1993) interpreted this soil sequence to reflect the sudden onset of more arid conditions, which may have contributed to the observed collapse. This soil micromorphological evidence, however, is inherently subjective and may reflect localized phenomena unrelated to larger scale regional aridification.

The Akkadian collapse has previously been attributed to human factors, including invaders and political disintegration (Yoffee and Cowgill, 1988).

Whether the Akkadians were an example of social collapse resulting from climatic degradation (Hodell et al, 1995; Sandweiss et al, 1999) or whether this collapse was related to external or internal social factors may be resolved by an independent record of Holocene paleoclimatic variations in Mesopotamia as preserved in a marine sediment core from the Gulf of Oman.

The Akkadian empire ruled Mesopotamia from the headwaters of the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers to the Persian Gulf during the late third millennium B.C. Archaeological evidence has shown that this highly developed civilization collapsed abruptly near 4170 ± 150 calendar yr B.P., perhaps related to a shift to more arid conditions.
Detailed paleoclimate records to test this assertion from Mesopotamia are rare, but changes in regional aridity are preserved in adjacent ocean basins. We document Holocene changes in regional aridity using mineralogic and geochemical analyses of a marine sediment core from the Gulf of Oman, which is directly downwind of Mesopotamian dust source areas and archaeological sites.
Results document a very abrupt increase in eolian dust and Mesopotamian aridity, accelerator mass spectrometer radiocarbon dated to 4025 ± 125 calendar year B.P., which persisted for ~300 yr. Radiogenic (Nd and Sr) isotope analyses confirm that the observed increase in mineral dust was derived from Mesopotamian source areas. Geochemical correlation of volcanic ash shards between the archaeological site and marine sediment record establishes a direct temporal link between Mesopotamian aridification and social collapse, implicating a sudden shift to more arid conditions as a key factor contributing to the collapse of the Akkadian empire.

(As noted above, by circa 11,500BC the region of the later Akkadian empire of Mesopotamia became abruptly more humid due to the well-documented intensification of the Indian monsoon. Humidity increased.)

Various results confirms previous studies documenting greatly increased Mesopotamian aridity and dust supply during the hyper arid last glacial maximum and Younger Dryas cold periods (Sirocko and Sarnthein, 1989; Sirocko et al, 1993).
fix See Geology, April 2000, 381, re mineralogic and geochemical data from Gulf of Oman core M5-422, documenting an abrupt onset of arid conditions in Mesopotamia which occurred near 4025 ± 150 B.P. This aridification event was evidently short-lived, lasting only a few centuries and may have been the result of largescale changes in ocean-atmosphere-vegetation boundary conditions (Claussen et al, 1999).

Other paleoclimate records from the Middle East have documented shifts to much more arid conditions commencing near 4000-4200BC. In Lake Van of eastern Turkey, situated at the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, oxygen isotopic and other geochemical analyses of lake sediments were used to estimate that lake-level fell between 30 and 60 m beginning near 4190 B.P. (Lemcke and Sturm, 1997). Stable isotopic records of U/Th-dated cave deposits in Israel document a 20-30% decrease in precipitation between 4200 and 4000 B.P. (Bar-Matthews et al., 1997), and the Dead Sea level fell abruptly by ~100 m at this time (Frumkin, 1991).

Drier conditions are also recorded in the High Plateau of Yemen (Wilkinson, 1997), lake levels were anomalously low in subtropical North and East Africa (Gasse and Van Campo, 1994; Halfman and Johnson, 1988) as well as Morocco (Cheddadi et al., 1998).

Archaeological evidence and regional paleoclimate data collectively implicate abrupt climate change as having been a key factor that contributed to the demise of this sophisticated culture which had imperialised Mesopotamia.

Social signatures of the collapse varied geographically; settlements in the rainfed agricultural plains of northern Mesopotamia were dramatically reduced, while populations in the south swelled with the arrival of northern refugees. These dislocations were sufficient to destabilize the region and to fundamentally alter the social, political, and economic fabric of this once-unified culture.

Furthermore, these responses occurred despite the fact that the Akkadians had implemented sophisticated grain-storage and water-regulation technologies to buffer themselves against historical (inter-annual) variations in rainfall (Weiss et al, 1993)
See US journal, Geology, April 2000
H. Weiss, M. A. Courty, W. Wetterstrom, F. Senior, L. Guichard, R. Meadow, and A. Curnow, The Genesis and Collapse of Third Millennium North Mesopotamian Civilization, Science, v. 261, p. 995-1003., 1993.
N. Yoffee W. Cowgill, W., The Collapse of Ancient Mesopotamian States and Civilizations. Tucson, University of Arizona Press, 1988.
A. N. Al-Ghadban, "Holocene sediments in a shallow bay, southern coast of Kuwait, Arabian Gulf' Marine Geology, v. 92, 1990., pp. 237-254.
R. Cheddadi, H. F. Lamb, J. Guiot, J., and S. van der Kaars, Holocene climatic change in Morocco: A quantitative reconstruction from pollen data, Climate Dynamics, v. 14, 1998., pp. 883-890.
M. Claussen, C. Kubatzki, V. Brovkin, A. Ganopolski, P. Hoelzmann, and H. J. Pachur, 'Simulation of an abrupt change in Saharan vegetation in the mid-Holocene', Geophysical Research Letters, v. 26, 1999., pp. 2037-2030.
F. Gasse, E. Van Campo, E., 'Abrupt post-glacial climate events in west Asia and north Africa monsoon domains', Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 126, 1994., pp. 435-456.
J. D. Halfman, T. C. Johnson, T. C., 'High-resolution record of cyclic climatic change during the past 4 ka from Lake Turkana, Kenya', Geology, v. 16, 1988., pp. 496-500.
On the reconstruction of evidence on climate changes at Lake Van (Turkey), see preliminary results, in H. N. Dalfes, et al, (Eds.), Third millennium B.C. Climate Change and Old World collapse. Volume 49: Berlin, Springer, pp. 178-196
F. Sirocko, M. Sarnthein, H. Erlenkeuser, H., Lange, M. Arnold, M., and J. C. Duplessy, 'Centuryscale Events in Monsoonal Climate over the past 24,000 years, Nature, v. 364, 1993., pp. 322-324.

From 40000BC

By 4000BC, an indication of significant maritime activity, the Orkney Islands were inhabited. Boats were used regularly on the Mediterranean. West of Egypt lived a pastoral people, and irrigation was well-used in Mesopotamia. Circumcision was practised in Egypt and Greece. Also we find: the first appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp. There are also "baffling cultural expansion(s)". An early civilization has appeared on the Indus River of India, the pre-Harappans. And in Mesopotamia is the mysterious appearance of the Sumerians - mysterious because little is known, even today, of their origins. Their ethnic origin is unknown, little is known of their language, yet they used irrigation and built cities.

Between 4000BC-2000BC, the Sahara region became more desertified, and the people from its northern zones went east or south to Egypt, there to mingle with existing peoples. to build cities and found empires with high levels of civilization. (The first Negroes were probably fishermen of the Niger and Nile about 4000BC.)
Reader's Digest, The Last Two Million Years, p. 204.

According to a variety of religious traditions, about 3800BC was the tragic expulsion of "Adam and Eve" from the Garden of Eden - sent to practice agriculture, about the time that Uruk in Mesopotamia, with its temple, is said to be "first true city on earth". Soon would come the invention of the wheel in Sumeria.

By 3500BC came regular use of lapis lazuli - which is to say, a difference in trade. More desertification occurred of the Sahara. Sumeria by 3500BC had "a set of commercially-minded city-states" and the use of currency and a sexigesimal number system (365 days in a year) which implies consideration of the solar year. In both Sumeria and the Indus Valley was use of right-angled town planning. At about now, also comes perhaps the first news of a formal invasion, from Arabia, as some Semitic people invaded Mesopotamia. (By 3500BC also is flooding at Borneo, Indonesia; the first Neolithic farmers arrived to Denmark and some colonists moved to Britain.
Re 3500BC: Earth in Space, Vol. 9, No. 7, March 1997, pp.12-14 .© 1997 American Geophysical Union. Permission is hereby granted to journalists to use this material so long as credit is given, and to teachers to use this material in classrooms.

fix relevance here Following this period, temperate conditions persisted for about 3500 years--as shown by the expansion of the hornbeam deciduous tree (Carpinus betula) across Europe. Only after this period do pollen sequences suggest climate instability. The evidence suggests that the cold events recorded in various pollen sequences occurred much later than the disputed GRIP events, and they appear to have persisted for only hundreds of years rather than thousands. The timing (about 122 ka) and duration of the cold oscillation recorded after the hornbeam expansion observed in lake sediments from Northern Europe appears to correlate more convincingly with the intra-Eemian cold event seen in the marine record from the Ocean Drilling Program.

By 3500BC, the society of "urban Late Uruk" flourished in southern Mesopotamia, sustained by a system of high-yield cereal irrigation agriculture with efficient canal transport. Late Uruk "colony" settlements were founded across the dry-farming portions of the Near East, but these colonies and the expansion of Late Uruk society collapsed suddenly at about 3200BC-3000 B.C. Reportedly, archaeologists have puzzled over this collapse for the past 30 years. Now there are hints in the paleoclimatic record that it may also be related to a short (less than 200 year) but severe drought.
Harvey Weiss and Raymond S. Bradley, 'What Drives Societal Collapse?', Science, Jan. 26, 2001.

For the date 3500BC (approx), there is no cold event of similar magnitude in the Holocene record, but minor late Holocene 18O and 13C events are found in marine records, about 5500 calendar years ago during the early Subboreal chronozone. The Holocene and Intra-Eemian cold events are similar in that they both occur after the interglacial peak, and they signal the beginning of a trend towards colder conditions, which, thousands of years later, resulted in the beginning of a glacial period. However, no such clear oscillations have been reported in European Holocene pollen records.

By 3400BC, evidence arises of the further desertification of Sahara (possibly due to a shift in earth's orbit, or a tilt of axis (?)). A major flood swept at Ur, and Anatolia (a second note on an invasion) was invaded by a group of Indo-Europeans, the Luvians. Meanwhile the Phoenicians developed maritime trades.

Use of the horse was also further refined, and by 3250BC appeared the fearsome use of wheeled war chariots. Was there any connection here between the relatively recent appearance of instances of invasion, and the use of wheeled war chariots? Certainly, warlike charioteers could move with unprecedented speed on their victims engaged in settled agriculture.

By now, some writers feel that Sumerians were having a positive influence on Egyptians. A note for 3100BC indicates (with some influences/ideas from Sumer) the first unification of Upper and Lower Egypt at Thebes, due to Menes. (Some writers suspect Menes was a "pastoral king" from the south of Egypt.)

By 3000BC, the use of the wheel had appeared as far west as Holland and Denmark. The Egyptians began to write on a creator God, Ptah, while beliefs arose also in Osiris. There is further desertification of the Sahara. World population is now estimated at 100 million. In Ukraine is the "world's first map", drawn on a vessel made of silver. There is use of the traction plough in the Middle East. Sumer uses both lunar and solar calendars. But there are ominous signs also, preceded by the appearance of the war chariot. Sumer has inter-city warfare, and a more secular kingship emerges from priesthood. ( Is it possible that domestication of the horse is preceded by domestication of the reindeer? See items re horse-culture people.)

These ominous signs, of greater aggression used, or having to be used by city-dwellers, and a change in the philosophy of rulership, is accompanied by 2800BC by much use of stone for buildings and/or statuary. Is it possible that the reasons for such developments are linked, and accompanied by various changes in the religious thinking? For there are more refinements to come soon. By 2700BC, the first use is made of a stone-built tomb for a king. The origins appear also of a "science or art of medicine", seemingly independently, in China and Mesopotamia. To date, it has been rare for invaders to be identified, but we find that some horse-using Aryan nomads, from the steppes of the Caspian and Black seas, are on the move.

The steppe-lands to the north of the Caspian and Black seas are destined to become a highly sensitive set of regions by way of producing aggressive hordes of nomads who disturb, harrass, invade or otherwise both city-states, their wealth and resources, and their agricultural hinterlands. Something dismal can perhaps be said here for humanity as a species which can be woefully aggressive to its own members, but can anything be usefully asked about various peoples being provoked to aggression - and invasion, and resettlement - by climatic problems? The "Aryan nomads" noted above are the first-named of their steppe-lander kind, and as it happens, they appear after the first appearances of the war chariot. Research here is difficult, as horse-using steppe-landers leave few clues after them which can come long later to the attention of archaeologists.

Are the movements of these steppe-nomads significant by now? What of climate changes? About 2675 is one date given for the major flood of Mesopotamia which produced the Epic of Gilgamesh, on which the legend of the Flood of Noah in the Old Testament is sometimes said to be based. This timezone also produces notes on sea trade between Egypt and Lebanon, probably the most expensive form of sea trade (or sea contact) so far noticed. It may also be that a change in religious sensibility has occurred - provoked by any such climate changes which also set the Aryan steppe-landers moving? - for by 2600BC arises a so-far-novel note on the burial of a royal personage together with their entourage - which form of burial is a variety of human sacrifice. And so far, there has been no mention of human sacrifice at all. This article will shortly argue that human sacrifice represented a modification of religious thinking - though very little systematically-gathered information exists on human sacrifice as practiced anywhere in the world. Is this burial-of-royalty with-entourage an indication of a shift in outlook?

Ritual cannibalism and human sacrifice (the latter seen in a communal religious context), need to be seen as distinct. Records on either topic are very patchy, and available information seems to demonstrate little of any long-term usage or continuity (except with the horrific case of the Aztecs of Mexico). My impression is that in ancient times, either of cannibalism or human sacrifice were resorted to mostly at time of extreme social stress.

The earliest date surfacing is 800,000BC, in the case of "early Neandertals". A site reveals about 80 human bones and bone fragments from two adult females and four children, maybe eaten by other humans, as some bones had marks from sharp stone tools. Around the remains were bones from horses, deer, bison, rhino and possibly elephants. This is possibly the earliest known example of human cannibalism, found in Northern Spain in a cave at Atapuerca. It is possible the specimens were Homo antecessor, (Ancestor Man, who developed into Neanderthal). It is thought that possibly, "Ancestor Man" came from Africa one million years ago, to Europe, and that their fellows who stayed in Africa developed into Homo sapiens?
Reported in Sydney newspapers, 31 May, 1997. See a then-recent issue of journal, Science.

The next date seems to be 120,000-80,000BC: Bone fragments from this period of Neandertals from the Moula-Guercy cave site in France were reported in 1999 to show evidence of cannibalism.

About 73,000BC, as the great Wurm Ice Sheet disappeared, which period coincides with the demise of the Acheulian crafts, which were replaced by culture known as the Mousterian as used by Neanderthal, we find that almost 40 per cent of Neandertals died before puberty. Neandertals practiced murder and cannibalism.
Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 148.

By 2600BC, in a long leap of time, in Sumeria, appears the royal cemetery of Ur, where kings were buried with their retinue of relatives and servants, who apparently were mass-poisoned when their master died.
Date from: Thomas Robinson, The Bible Timeline. Balwyn, Melbourne, The Five Mile Press Pty. Ltd., 1992.

The next date appearing is 2500BC, respecting the Death pits of Ur, relating to a royal cemetery of Ur, dated circa 2500BC, and unknown till the 1920s, when discovered by Sir Leonard Wooley. The situation concerned human sacrifice conducted when Queen Shubad died. Skeletons were found of 68 women of the court, with gold or silver head-dresses. There had been a mass sacrifice of royal attendants. Also with Queen Shubad were soldiers armed with spears, and two ox-wagons with slain animals. There were no signs of violence, all involved had died voluntarily, maybe with the use of poison or narcotics.
See Reader's Digest, History of Man: The Last Two Million Years. Sydney, The Reader's Digest Association, 1973-1974., p. 53.

The custom of entombing a royal entourage was a special case of human sacrifice, and as compared with other instances of human sacrifice - usually the killing of well-born youngsters - it seems to have stemmed from an excessive respect for royalty.

The next date found is circa 1628BC, as indicated by an episode of a TV documentary series titled Ancient Apocalypse. (As screened on SBS TV (Australia) on 3 March 2002.) The date seems to be about the time of the volcanic explosion of Thera in the Mediterranean, which via tsunami (with waves up to 12 metres high?) had a destructive effect on Minoan Crete. The case of human sacrifice arising at this time seems to have been prompted by extreme stress experienced when nature went haywire.

The explosion of Thera meant the fall of the Minoan Empire. The Minoans are said to have had the first paved roads and first running water .A finding is one of "sheer savagery". .. Such as skeletons, the skulls of five children murdered near a royal palace, where a burned destruction-layer was also found. Also found were ritual vases decorated with sea-creature imagery, so there was evidently a unity of religious and maritime imagery. This marine style began after the tsunamis, representing a new awareness of power of the sea, and efforts being made to try to ward off other threats from the sea. The Minoans reinterpreted their natural world, while they had priest-kings who were deemed to be able to control nature itself.

Slice marks on these children's bones indicate meat was sliced off, and in some urns, bones were found, similarly, with the remains also of a large edible snail. The conjecture is that the snails and child-flesh were cooked at same time. A case of ritual cannibalism?

The Minoans on Crete were hit by three waves from the violence of nature - including tsunami. The explosion of Thera was perhaps the second-largest eruption on earth in the past 10,000 years, pitching volcanic ash into the sky, plus sulphurous gas and sulphur dioxides, which can help alter climate. Researchers found that about the time of the explosion of Thera, there is seen a cooling of 1-2 degrees Celsius in Europe and Asia. Summer became cool-wet, there were years of ruined harvests. Some cross-geographic proof arises from the bogs of Ireland with tree slices, showing tree-ring evidence for the past 7000 years. Researcher Mike Bailey had measured tree rings and noticed Irish oak trees growing well to 1628BC-1627BC - but there was no summer growth for 1627-1617BC - a tree's worst growth times. Was this extra wetness-coldness due to the eruption of Thera?

Other evidence arose from the ice sheets of Greenland, of sulphuric acid, and snow some 700 metres deep. Researchers find a layer of sulphuric acid with shards of volcanic ash - from Thera, it is believed.
There were environmental consequences of the eruption of Thera, and harvests failed.
The Minoans did have priest-kings who were deemed to be able to control nature itself - a view which changed after the eruption. A religious statue is found, distant from the priest-king's palace, at a shrine, indicating that Minoan society fell apart, with less belief in the priest-king. Minoan society became a vacuum into which mainland Greeks arrived. The explosion of Thera had a prolonged, three-pronged effect. Nature had betrayed the Minoans, so they turned away from their kings, took religion into their own hands, and, it seems, engaged in ritual cannibalism - to win back the favour of the gods?

Human sacrifice on Crete does seem to have continued, although the evidence is less scientific, more literary, if not "mythological", as we find from a dictionary. of Mythology, concerning the later period when the Greeks dominated Crete, closer to 1400BC. Greeks sent youngsters to Crete "to be sacrificed to the Minotaur", perhaps for purposes of ritual cannibalism? The youngsters anyway were to "feed the Minotaur". It was this cult, in the time of King Minos, that Theseus confronted when he faced the Minotaur in the Labyrinth of Crete. It is also said that the cult of Dionysius as practises by Greeks had some ritual sacrifice and ritual cannibalism.

The next available date also involves Greeks, about 1250BC (?), the time of the siege of Troy. Before the Greeks sailed for Troy, young Iphigenia was sacrificed by her father Agamemnon at Aulis as a prelude to the expedition against Troy. Wood also reports that there was human sacrifice and ritual cannibalism in the Bronze Age, as with at Knossos, where the remains have been found of two children aged eight and eleven, the age of Iphigenia, who seem to have been ritually killed and partially-eaten prior to some catastrophe. This Knossos find could be related to tales of cannibalism of children of Agamemnon's uncle, Thyestes, as well as tale regarding Iphigenia?
Michael Wood, In Search of the Trojan War. London, BBC, 1985.

By 2500BC is found at Ur in Mesopotamia, the first use of the soldier's helmet and the world's first-known uniformed army - just as the world's first-known major dam appears in Egypt. Were there any new appearances of climate problems circa 2500BC which accompanied an upscaling of the arts of water-retention - and better-organised aggression?

A website notes that re climate problems, the weather records from about 2500BC indicate that there occurred a lowering of temperature... that temperatures were lower than the Holocene thermal maximum. A general cooling, known as the Iron Age neoglaciation, occurred between 2,500 and 4,500 years ago. Perhaps, if a lowered temperature gave the Aryan steppe-landers problems of fodder provision for their animals, this set them aggressively on the move? As we know, Aryans would later invade India and cause modifications to Indian lifestyle which last to the present day - including ultra-respect for cattle.

By 2450BC, Egyptians engaged in further promotion of their sun-god, Ra, but do not seem to have been asserting themselves over other peoples. By about 2400BC, the Semitic king Sargon I of Akkad conquered the Sumerians and established an empire extending from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. This was indeed an upscaling of assertiveness, aggressive organization, ambition, and a desire for control. Was it prompted by climate problems?

There also seems to be a corollary here in religious thinking in Mesopotamia, since the world's "first-known poet" (circa 2300BC?) was a priestess in Sumeria - who composed the Hymn to Inanna, Inanna being Ishtar, a nature goddess. This hymn-writing priestess is taken to have been Enheduanna, daughter of Sargon I. The chief priests of Sumeria composed a hymn "praising God", The Exaltation of Inanna, "mankind's first-known poem". And in this case, the "first god" and the first-known priest-poet are both taken to be female. The god of prehistory was a woman, The Great Mother.

Rosalind Miles, The Women's History of the World. London, Michael Joseph, 1988.

Some climate problems appeared by 2380BC, leading Arabian Amorites to go into Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia. By 2300BC, climate changes led "nomads" to bother the settled cultures of Palestine. In 2267BC, Sargon dies in Mesopotamia. As a reaction to the control he had earlier tried to exert, and presumably sensing weakness, Gutians from north-east Mesopotamia moved into his territories. What was happening seems to resemble an institutionalisation of conflict patterns between the populations of city-states, the people of their agricultural hinterlands, and steppe-landers or nomads whose ways of life were highly sensitive to changes in climatic patterns.

Some writers suggest that evidence now seems overwhelming, for the period after 2200BC, concerning catastrophic drought... "Following the return to wetter conditions, politically centralized and class-based urban societies emerged and expanded across the riverine and dry-farming landscapes of the Mediterranean, Egypt, and West Asia. The Akkadian empire of Mesopotamia, the pyramid-constructing Old Kingdom civilization of Egypt, the Harappan 3B civilization of the Indus valley, and the Early Bronze III civilizations of Palestine, Greece, and Crete all reached their economic peak at about 2300 B.C. This period was abruptly terminated before 2200 B.C. by catastrophic drought and cooling that generated regional abandonment, collapse, and habitat-tracking. Paleoclimatic data from numerous sites document changes in the Mediterranean westerlies and monsoon rainfall during this event (see the figure), with precipitation reductions of up to 30% that diminished agricultural production from the Aegean to the Indus (9-11).
See Harvey Weiss and Raymond S. Bradley, 'What Drives Societal Collapse?', Science, Jan. 26, 2001.

By 2200BC there was serious drought in "the Middle East". Evidently, by about 2200BC... the farmers of North-East Syria depended on winter rains. "In one example of how climate affects civilizations, a centuries-long drought hit the region", which forced much of the population to migrate south.
This material is from - (Harvey Weiss/Yale University)

Various preconceptions in history need to be overturned here, it seems. (Re 2200BC.) A website notes that... "Until a few years ago, most scientists believed the climate of the past 11,000 years -- a period known as the Holocene that followed the Younger Dryas -- has been stable and uninteresting, and thus of little influence on the fortunes of civilization. However, climate records reconstructed from ice and sediment cores around the world paint a less benign weather history. While the temperature and rainfall swings haven't been as wild as some periods in Earth's history, they do appear enough to topple nations."

"Excavations of Tell Leilan, a town in what is now northeast Syria, tell such a story. By 2280BC, the Akkadians absorbed Tell Leilan. A century later, the town had emptied out and remained unpopulated for three centuries. The entire Akkadian civilization collapsed and disappeared. "There is a depopulation, desertion of northern Mesopotamian region," says Harvey Weiss, professor of prehistorical archaeology at Yale University, who led excavations at Tell Leilan, "and Tell Leilan's abandonment is simply typical of that process."
By Kenneth Chang

For 2200BC, "Long drought climate records show rainfall dried up in the Middle East around 2200BC, which would have deprived farmers of needed winter rains. In cores dug up in the Gulf of Oman to the south, sediments deposited during this time show very different minerals, indicating different wind patterns. Other archaeological sites show that cities to the south, surrounded by irrigated fields, swelled in population at the same time. When the climate connection to the Akkadian collapse was first presented a few years ago, some researchers wondered whether farmers had inadvertently caused their own ruin by overfarming? Data from other researchers gleaned from lake sediments around the world indicate the 2200 B.C. climate shift was a global event.
"This [new evidence] has now put a lot more details together for it," Weiss says. (By Kenneth Chang

The period around 2200BC became quite busy. Major climate changes in Egypt, plus famine, brought down the Old Kingdom. In 2150, Semites called Habiru moved into Mesopotamia from the West. In 2100BC, Myceneaens invaded the Greek peninsula. In Mesopotamia, king Ur-Nammu established his regions first code of laws - which may suggest that lawlessness had increased. Did Mesopotamia just as Egypt did? From 2050, Gutians from the north-east moved into Mesopotamia and ruled for a century.

About 200BC is when the Scythians come to notice... The date 2200BC can produce notes such as...
Circa 2200BC: Gilded adversaries clash on the crest of a 2400 year old comb unearthed from a Scythian burial. As portrayed by the Greek historian Herodotus, Scythians were fearsome fighters given to sadistic customs --- including making cloaks from their victims scalps and using the skulls for drinking cups ......
See Renate Rolle, The World of the Scythians. (Translated From The German By F. G. Walls). 1980, Library of Congress # DK 34 S4 R5713 1989.

For the period 2000BC-1600BC was "brutal climate change in North Africa". Circa 1900BC, the Amorites (a Semitic people from the west), seized control of Mesopotamia, to rule from Babylon. (About then, the city god of Babylon was Marduk, the sun-god was Shamash - not long after Egypt had been given greater attention to its sun-god, Ra.) Somewhat later, Ur was sacked by the king of nearby Elam, which may have been the attack which moved Abraham to take his family south-west, elsewhere in the The Fertile Crescent?
The city god of Ur was Nannar. The city god of Erech was Ishtar. A new picture of Ishtar has recently been produced by US academic Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, (Assyriology, UC-Berkeley); Kilmer expounds on the ancient Mesopotamian deity Ishtar (her Sumerian name was Inanna), the goddess of sexual love, war, and the planet Venus, and the most important female deity of ancient Mesopotamia at all periods. Myths show that Ishtar lacked children and a permanent spouse, changed humans into animals, traveled to and from the underworld, was colorful (perhaps even spotted), and, though responsible for fertility, was iconographically and textually of ambiguous gender. Cultic celebrations in her honour included juggling, sword swallowing, violent dancing, raucous laughter, cross-dressing, and illicit, public sexual activity. Kilmer reviewed older interpretations of the origins of Ishtar's gender ambiguity, and suggested a new factor in the development of the complex construct of this divinity, namely the ancient connection between Ishtar and the spotted hyena, on whose back Ishtar is often depicted. Kilmer presented slides to illustrate how, like Ishtar, the hyena also displays apparent (not genuine) hermaphroditic characteristics, violent behavior, and raucous laughter. - Adapted from a website.

In 1911BC, Mesopotamian kings attacked Canaan. (Later would rise the Hittites.) Egypt recovered. By 1800BC (or to 1800BC?) the steppe people of north Caspian Sea area were on the move. Climate problems were widespread 1800BC-1700BC. The Indus River civilization collapsed, and Aryans invaded India in 1700BC. (1750BC was the time of the reign of Hammurabi.) In 1720BC, (one of many different dates which can be given, however), the Hyksos were in Egypt, moved by climate change. Chariot warfare raged. In 1700BC, Aryan-speaking Ukrainian horse-and-cattle people moved from Northern Turkey and are said to have ended up in Scandinavia.

By 1700BC, the Hyksos had overrun Egypt. About the same time, the Hittites, Mittani and Kassites conquered Babylon. (The Hittites settled in Anatolia, capital at Hatttusas, about 90 miles east of modern Ankara - Gerrit P. Judd)

There follow various gaps in records. As if climate problems were not enough, about 1628BC, a Greek maritime colony, the island of Thera (Santorini) exploded with fearsome volcanic splendour, producing a decade of "nuclear winter". (The disaster of Thera is sometimes said to be have been associated with the timing of the Exodus of Moses and the Hebrews from Egypt.)

1500BC: Earliest known use of metal-made horse bits. Also, a note of a major technological advance, the first use of metal bits for the mouths of horses. (Which sort of metal is used here, does not seem to be noted; probably iron, being the hardest-known metal of the time? One imagines that the skills of bridling horses are now more refined.)

Elwyn Hartley Edwards, Horses: Their Role in the History of Man. London, Grafton Books, 1987.

Otherwise. 1500BC has been said to be a time of drought - it is uncertain with what reliability(?). There then seems to have been a lull in events which might usefully be associated with people-movements due to climate problems, till about 1250BC, which is another dating period often associated with the Exodus of Moses from Egypt. The climate, it seems, would enter another cooler period. By about 1250BC-1200BC was the famous Trojan War, when Greeks invaded Troy. There were movements of the "Sea Peoples", who bothered Egypt, whose identity, or identities, have never been satisfactorily explained. In 1200BC, Dorians invaded Greece, the start of a 200-years-period of Greek Dark Ages. "Sea Peoples" moved into Anatolia. (The Phrygians of Thrace move into Anatolia.) Phoenicians in their ships moved into Italy, and also went into Canaan as "Philistines". Phoenicians also moved west to Carthage, and to Cadiz in southern Spain. There was much movement of barbarians in the Middle East.

(Of various dates which can be given, about 1250BC is the most popular date given for the Exodus of Moses from Egypt during a severe time of plague and climatic problems.)

To about 1200BC: migrations were caused by drying climate? (deforestation???) By 1180BC, the Sea People" were again fighting Egypt. In 1157BC, in Mesopotamia, the Kassites were over-run by the Elamites. In 1100BC, Chinese colonists moved into Korea. (A historian of the Vikings says that 1050BC-250BC is a period of markedly colder world climate.) By 1000BC, China was invaded by Wei Valley people.

(45) 750BC: 771BC, Barbarians sack capital of China. Nubians invade Egypt in 750BC. In 750BC, Greeks begin expansionism, eg to Sicily.

(46) 700BC: Estruscans fight with Rome for control of Northern Italy.

Greek writers, especially Herodotus, provided the primary accounts of the Scythians. As warriors they were unmatched, these chroniclers said.
650BC: The Scythians originated in Central Asia and migrated westward in search of better pastures and peoples to conquer. The Scythian era dawned upon the Stavropol Region in the European Russian Steppe in the first half of the seventh century BC. [North of the Caucasus Mountains, hence the Cis-Caucasus]
See Renate Rolle, The World of the Scythians. (Translated From The German By F. G. Walls). 1980, Library of Congress # DK 34 S4 R5713 1989

See Renate Rolle, The World of the Scythians. (Translated From The German By F. G. Walls). 1980, Library of Congress # DK 34 S4 R5713 1989 See also: As they moved through southwest Asia they pillaged Nineveh, Babylon and other cities and raided even into Palestine. Some historians think that the prophet Jeremiah had the Scythians in mind when he warned the Israelites that warriors would come who are cruel and have no mercy, their voice roareth like the sea and they ride upon horses, every one put in array, as men for war against thee.

(47) 500BC - Time of Zoroaster and Buddha. In 500BC, Nomad horse-warriors the Scythians move into Russia. Southern Arabians moved across the Red Sea into Ethiopia/Axum. In 470BC, Carthage tries to found colonies.

450BC: Hungary: In the middle of the fifth century B.C., the ancestors of the Hungarian people joined the Onogur tribes of Bulgar-Turkic origin and lived with them along the northern shore of the Black Sea.
No written sources on the early history of the Hungarian people have come down to us. Consequently, the material for study must be sought in the evidence of language, archaeology, ethnography and anthropology. Comparative linguistics provides the main field of research for what is known as Hungarian prehistory, for it demonstrates that the Hungarian language, judging by its vocabulary and structural peculiarities, belongs to the Finno-Ugrian group of the Uralic languages, more precisely, to its Ugrian branch. It has not been possible to determine whether the original home of the Uralian prehistoric peoples was in Europe or Asia. It is believed, however, that the common homeland of the Ob-Ugrians and the ancient Hungarians (the Magyars) was along the central Volga. The ancestors of the Hungarians were for the most part fishermen and hunters, but it is probable that they were acquainted with animal husbandry, the tanning of leather, pottery, and the carving of wood and bone.

(48) 406BC - Barbarians cross the Rhine and move into Netherlands, Koreans invade Japan.

(48a) Circa 400BC: Climate change: (From a website) A moderate climate amelioration followed near the dawn of the Roman Empire, before a return to cooler climates during the second half of the first millennia A.D. (the Dark Ages).

(49) 385BC - Celts sack Rome and move into Yugoslavia/Danube area.

(50) 331BC - Alexander the Great is on the move, and in 327BC, India is harrassed by all sorts of invaders.

(51) 250BC - Buddhism sends out missionaries. In 240BC, Time of Carthaginian sailor Pytheas, who sails far north into the Arctic Circle.

(52) 218BC - Rome - Carthage - Punic Wars etc.

Circa 50BC: The 1st Century BC is a period of expansion and population growth where German tribes settle in new regions.
Circa 50BC: The tribes of Germania control the region north of the Danube and east of the Rhine rivers during the era of the Roman Empire from first century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century AD. These tribes are documented by contemporary Roman authors, and archaeologically, as mobile in two periods - the first century BC and fourth century AD.

350AD: Paleoclimate records show the decadal patterns of the fourth century AD to consist of a series of very severe drought years. Preliminary research suggests that the 4th century drought affected much of Asia. This possible climate may have occurred at the same time that major migrations begin, large-scale combat with the Romans occurs, religious beliefs change, and European peoples begin to amalgamate throughout Europe and portions of Asia.
Did Extreme Climate Conditions Stimulate the Migrations of the Germanic Tribes in the 3rd and 4th Centuries AD?

Circa 300AD: Germanic migrations, potentially climate driven, are linked to one of the essential events of the formation of Western Society. The Germanic tribes have been stereotyped as "homogenous, violent people", where the identity may be one of various tribes responding on the tribe-by-tribe basis to anomalies of climate. ethnographic studies of various primary historic data reveal that these tribes were diverse and widespread - in no way homogenous. The question of the motivation of the tribes has been raised many times, but until various climate data has been evaluated properly, then questions cannot be answered. Examination is now being made of a climate-based migration theory of the first centuries AD and possible identification of a major climate change that covered large portions of Europe and Northern Asia for decades in humanity's recent history. (From a website)
Various reconstruction can perhaps be based on climate signals in tree-rings. Through use of ring density and latewood measurements, seasonal variations can be extrapolated. Also under assessment are data sets from palynology, lake levels, and glaciology for all of Europe and Asia, plus data sets from Greenland ice core data, atmospheric polar oscillation studies and river discharges, for a paleoclimate reconstruction relating to social changes (farming techniques, religious structure) and migrations of the tribes of Europe and Asia that occur in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, plus examination of primary source literature for climate indicators and evidence of social change.
These Germanic migrations, or Völkerwanderung, are hypothesized to be a catalyst for the Fall of the Roman Empire, and subsequent occupations by German tribes were a factor for the development of the feudal structure of European society throughout the medieval period. Is it possible to "reconstruct" information on the climate of the 200s and 300s AD on annual and seasonal bases? In order to evaluate the hypothesized drought on the macro scale, a second, lower resolution chronology will be constructed for the period 100 BC to AD 600. These data will be used to test the hypothesis that extreme climate occurred simultaneously with tribal migrations.

Fifth Century AD: The Hungarians (unlike their Slavic neighbours) speak a language of the rare group known as Finno-Ugric. Despite claims of Hunnish descent, it is thought that they came from the Ural Mountains in Russia and migrated east, then south in contact with Turks and Iranians, taking on a nomadic, herding lifestyle. The word "Hungary" is thought to have come from On Ogur ("ten arrows"), the name of a Magyar tribal confederation. In the Fifth Century AD the Magyars migrated - some west to the Don River, others south to the Caucasus Mountains.

(53) 400AD - Climate change - 378AD - 535AD see re the movements of Attila and the Huns, "the Scourge of God".

(53a) 536AD: David Keys, Catastrophe. Arrow, 2000. ISBN: 0099409844. (In 536AD, a volcanic eruption meant our planet was enveloped by a cloak of lethal dust which changed the climate for decades. The sun's rays grew dim and total darkness reigned for days. It was a catastrophe of unparalleled proportions. Tens of millions of people died around the globe as a bubonic plague epidemic broke out. There followed waves of migration and the military, political and religious changes which the disaster set in motion re-ordered society throughout the world: the collapse of the Roman Empire, the invasion of the barbarian hordes and the rise of apocalypse-inspired Islam. It was the nearest humankind has ever come to Doomsday and it marked the real beginning of the modern era. The author sets the record straight by placing the pivotal point in world history as the mid-6th-century Dark Ages and shows how our fragile civilisation almost ended.)

(54) 542AD - Contributory information is found on a website on the Christianization of Ireland in the mid-Fifth Century. There had been a climate-catastrophe in Ireland, by 540AD, a disaster which also had effects across Northern Europe. Was the climatic problem one reason for the success of Christianity in Ireland? Part of the widespread catastrophe was plague appearing at Constantinople in 542AD.

550AD: High-resolution archaeological records from the New World also point to abrupt climatic change as the proximal cause of repeated social collapse. In northern coastal Peru, the Moche civilization suffered a ~30-year drought in the late 6th century A.D., accompanied by severe flooding. The capital city was destroyed, fields and irrigation systems were swept away, and widespread famines ensued. The capital city was subsequently moved northward, and new adaptive agricultural and architectural technologies were implemented
See Harvey Weiss and Raymond S. Bradley, 'What Drives Societal Collapse?', Science, Jan. 26, 2001.

600AD: more to come

Circa 700AD: Plagues halve European population.

763AD-764AD: From about 400 A.D. to around 900, the climate became much colder. The winters of 763-764 and 859-860 were extraordinarily cold, with the ice so thick in the Adriatic near Venice that it could hold up heavily-loaded wagons. There was ice even on the Nile.
(From a website reviewing book on climate change by H. H. Lamb, Climate History and the Modern World.)

About 800AD: Seven Magyar tribes contribute 20,000 men to the Khazar army, and in 836 a Magyar army allies with the Bulgars, attacking a Byzantine fleet near the mouth of the Danube River. In ensuing decades they take control of large areas of southern Russia, raiding Slav settlements for booty and slaves and in 862, they raid the eastern Frankish Empire.

803AD: Hungary: This area stays sparsely populated since Charlemagne's destruction of the Avar state in 803.

850AD: (12). Four hundred years later, the agricultural base of the Tiwanaku civilization of the central Andes collapsed as a result of a prolonged drought documented in ice and in lake sediment cores (13). In Mesoamerica, lake sediment cores show that the Classic Maya collapse of the 9th century A.D. coincided with the most severe and prolonged drought of that millennium (14). In North America, Anasazi agriculture could not sustain three decades of exceptional drought and reduced temperatures in the 13th century A.D., resulting in forced regional abandonment (15).
See Harvey Weiss and Raymond S. Bradley, 'What Drives Societal Collapse?', Science, Jan. 26, 2001.

889AD: Hungary: In 889, the Magyars under their leader Arpad, evidently fleeing the Turkic steppe race known as the Pechenegs (or Patzinaks) landed in the middle of a war between Byzantium and Bulgaria. The Byzantines bribed them to attack the Bulgars, which they did with initial success. But the Bulgarian Kijnaz (king) Symeon made an alliance with the Pechenegs, who drove the Magyars up the Danube valley into the region now known as Hungary.
This area was nominally under Frankish rule, but had been sparsely populated since Charlemagne's destruction of the Avar state in 803 and the Magyars were able to move in virtually unopposed. Frankish Emperor Arnulf even found them useful in subduing a rebellious vassal. But once in place they were impossible to get rid of. They defeated several attempts to bring them to heel, and eventually wrested the region from Frankish control.

The territory they now owned - the Danube basin - was surrounded by the Transylvanian and Carpathian mountain ranges but had access eastward to Bulgarian and Byzantine territories, and westward to Italy and the rest of Europe. It was a virtual fortress from which they could raid east, west and south with almost total impunity.

In 898-899AD: Hungary: Emperor Arnulf makes use of the Magyars to raid Italy, but on their return they swept through Bavaria, a Frankish possession, returning home laden with loot. There are 33 raids on record between 898 and 955, ranging through Italy, Germany, France and Burgundy, and even reaching the Atlantic coast and crossing the Pyrenees into Spain.

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896AD: Hungary: In the year 896, only two years after Svatopluk the Great's death, Magyar tribes cross into the territory that is now Slovakia for the first time. As the Great Moravian Empire crumbled, the Magyars slowly but surely forged deeper into Slovakian territory, until finally at the Battle of Bratislava, in 907, the Great Moravian Empire was defeated once and for all. It would be the last time that Slovaks ruled their lands for more than a Millennium.
Hungary: Religion and Beliefs: The early Magyars were shamanists. They believed in a dualistic universe, where a black shaman and a white shaman were engaged in a never-ending battle between Good and Evil. They believed that everything good in the world had been created by the White Shaman, and that everything evil had been created by the Black Shaman. In their service with the Khazars, they were exposed to Islam and Christianity, as well the Judaistic beliefs of the Khazars. After conversion to Christianity in Stephen's reign, many of the old beliefs survived, though as people became less and less aware of their basis and philosophy, they dwindled to mere superstitions.
Like most nomadic steppe-dwellers, the early Magyars use light cavalry, armed with a composite-bow of wood, horn and sinew (and rather flatter than those of their neighbours, according to Osprey). They also used curved sabres, light spears, and less often the mace. The sabre was distinguished by turned-down quillons and a curved hilt. The aristocracy wore finely-crafted metal armour (probably lamellar), which was favourably commented upon by those of other nations. Less-exalted Magyars probably wore leather lamellar or thick felt for protection. The Magyar helmet seems to have been of similar design to those of their Turkic neighbours - spangenhelms of conical shape, possibly with a spike at the crown. Shields were apparently rare. The Magyar saddle was light and comfortable, and was widely copied, and stirrups helped with stability and control. Endrey states that they were great archers, and they had a "superb military organization", a claim that is borne out by their success against some of the most professional armies of their time.

Circa 895AD: A part of the Onogurs people withdraw from the Khazar overlordship and migrate to the south to found a Bulgarian homeland on the lower Danube. Another group of the remaining Onogurs drifted towards the Volga, while the rest formed a tribal alliance under Khazar overlordship. As time went on, they began to use the name of the strongest tribe in the alliance - the Megyer tribe - as a generic term for the whole group. This is the origin of the name Magyar, and of Magyarország - the name for a Hungarian and for Hungary in their own language today. The word applied to them in foreign languages (Hungarus, Hongrois, Hungarian, Ungar, etc.) derives from the term Onogur. Accounts of the Magyar migration differ in different sources. All we know for sure is that they were forced by the attack of the Pechegens to move west to the land between the Don and the Dnieper. Fleeing from this region after another sweeping offensive in or around 895-896, they entered the Carpathian Basin, familiar to them from their earlier raiding expeditions. At the time of the Magyar Conquest, the area was inhabited mostly by Slavic ethnic groups; and Great Moravia, situated on the northern part of the Carpathian Basin, had been in a state of disintegration since the death of Prince Svatopluk. The military power of the Pannonian Slav principality in the west did not represent notable strength. The rule of the Bulgars, extending over the Great Plain and Transylvania, was not consolidated. Under these circumstances, the Magyars were able to overrun the whole area of the country without difficulty. The military leader of the conquering tribes was Árpád, and after the founding of the state, his descendants became the rulers of the country.

900AD: More to come

924AD: Hungary: Henry the Fowler, after being defeated by the Magyars in 924, copies their light cavalry and is thus able to defeat them in his turn in 933.

955AD: Hungary: When the Magyars invade Bavaria in 955, the armoured cavalry of Otto the Great, Holy Roman Emperor, check their advance, and in the decisive battle at Lechfeld it annihilated the Magyar assailants. Although the Magyars launched further attacks on Byzantium following this devastating defeat, it became clear that they had arrived at a decisive historic cross-road. Two alternatives confronted them: either they settle down, form a state and adjust themselves to the people of Europe, or else the same fate would befall them as that of the other nomadic peoples who had been annihilated in previous centuries.

Circa 930AD: Hungary: In the first half of the tenth century, during the decades the followed the Conquest, raiding expeditions of Magyar mounted warriors subjected all Europe to a constant state of terror. In time, however, they began to feel the effects of Western counter-strategy.

947AD: Hungary: From 947, Germany under Otto I (the Great) begins to expand into Hungary's sphere of influence, re-taking Bavaria, invading western Hungarian settlements, subduing the Czechs and in 951, conquering Italy, where Otto had himself crowned King in place of the Magyar vassal Berengar II.

955AD: Slovakia: Slovakia now sees fifty years of battles and skirmishing between the nomadic Magyars and the neighboring Franks, which finally came to an end in 955 when the Frankish King, Otto I, completely destroyed the Magyar army. This heavy defeat forced the Magyars to give up their nomadic lifestyle of attacking and pillaging towns, and settle down. Over the next three centuries the Magyars slowly but surely integrated themselves into the lands of the former Great Moravia, adopting many of the Slovaks customs, as well as Christianity. (From a website)

1100AD: Climate problems: (From a website) Thence followed the Medieval optimum (1100 to 1300 A.D.), in which European temperatures reached some of the warmest levels for the last 4,000 years.

1167 AD - Dating Annual layers of snowfall in ice cores can be counted as easily as tree rings, allowing precise dating of events such as volcanic eruptions. Distinct annual layers stand out because, in snow that falls in summer, crystals are larger and acidity higher than in winter snow. In some cases, scientists can even tell seasons apart, by using a laser to measure the concentration of dust particles. (Winds are generally stronger in springtime, meaning more dust gets blown into the atmosphere.) In this photograph of an ice core drilled in the Kunlun Mountains of western China, the thick, lighter bands indicate heavy snowfall during the monsoon season in the year 1167 AD, while the thinner, darker strips show layers of dust blown into the snowfield during the dry season.

1200-1300AD: The weather in North America followed the pattern in Europe, becoming warmer and wetter. Among the continent's native peoples, farming flourished in northwestern Iowa, a region in which rainfall is currently marginal for growing corn. A thriving culture existed in North America's Mississippi valley until the weather turned colder and drier between 1200 and 1300.
(From a website reviewing book on climate change by H. H. Lamb, Climate History and the Modern World)

Spring 1241AD: Hungary: The first sentries of dreaded Mongol forces appear at the north and north-eastern passes of the Carpathian Mountains. They are riding tiny, long-haired horses, and are wearing iron-plated armoury made of leather straps. After provoking and harassing the defending forces with feigned attacks, Batu Khan's forces concentrate their power and irrupt into Hungary through the Verecke pass, the route used by the Magyars at the time of the Conquest. The commander of the defending forces, the Palatine of Hungary, flees wounded from the scene of the battle. He just escapes death. The assailants first swoop down upon the northern part of the country, looting and massacring as the proceed forward. Later they come to grips with the main Magyar forces, led by Béla IV, in the valley of the river Sajó. During the night, the Tartars secretly cross the river and set fire to the Magyar camp. The greatest part of the besieged Magyar army, suffering an attack from the rear, is annihilated.

1242AD: Hungary: Was Hungary annihilated by the Mongol invasion? Internal dynastic conflicts have erupted within the Mongol Empire, resulting in the withdrawal of the Mongol hordes from the country in the summer of 1242. Hungaria survived the apparently fatal devastation. Its population decimated, its towns reduced to ashes, and its villages razed to dust, the country survived. Béla IV began the reconstruction of the country, building castles and fortified towns to forestall the threat of another Mongol invasion.

Circa 1250AD: In North America, Anasazi agriculture could not sustain three decades of exceptional drought and reduced temperatures in the 13th century A.D., resulting in forced regional abandonment (15).
See Harvey Weiss and Raymond S. Bradley, 'What Drives Societal Collapse?', Science, Jan. 26, 2001.

1250AD: The Greenland Vikings lived mostly on dairy produce and meat, primarily from cows. The vegetable diet of Greenlanders included berries, edible grasses, and seaweed, but these were inadequate even during the best harvests. During the MWP, Greenland's climate was so cold that cattle breeding and dairy farming could only be carried on in the sheltered fiords. The growing season in Greenland even then was very short. Frost typically occurred in August and the fiords froze in October. Before the year 1300, ships regularly sailed from Norway and other European countries to Greenland bringing with them timber, iron, corn, salt, and other needed items. Trade was by barter. Greenlanders offered butter, cheese, wool, and their frieze cloths, which were greatly sough after in Europe, as well as white and blue fox furs, polar bear skins, walrus and narwhal tusks, and walrus skins. In fact, two Greenland items in particular were prized by Europeans: white bears and the white falcon. These items were given as royal gifts. For instance, the King of Norway-Denmark sent a number of Greenland falcons as a gift to the King of Portugal, and received in return the gift of a cargo of wine (Stefansson, 1966.) Because of the shortage of adequate vegetables and cereal grains, and a shortage of timber to make ships, the trade link to Iceland and Europe was vital (Hermann, 1954.)

Circa: 1450: Recovery after plague leads to conspicuous luxury, fashion

1402: Plague in Florence, Italy.

1400AD: - Sea Storminess Viking colonies in Greenland abruptly vanished toward the end of the 14th century. Why? One clue comes from ice cores. This graph, which combines results from cores taken in both Antarctica and Greenland, tracks sodium levels over the past 1,200 years. In colder periods, seas become stormier because of the greater contrast in temperatures between the tropics and the poles, and so more sodium--an indicator of sea-salt--winds up on the ice caps. About 1400 AD, the cores at both poles clearly show a sharp rise in sodium, which some scientists say marks the onset of the Little Ice Age, a period of much cooler temperatures that lasted into the 19th century. For the Vikings, a series of abnormally cold winters in the late 1300s spelled doom.

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1400AD: Another view is... that... Another major climate swing was the Little Ice Age, which froze Europe in the 1400s and killed off Viking settlements in Greenland. And perhaps also the one occurring today.

1421: Great storms wrack Europe. In 1421, 1446, and 1570, gales killed 100,000 or more as a result of coastal flooding off the North Sea. Mortality from the 16th century tempest was about 400,000! The winters of 1407-1408 and 1422-1423 were so cold that the Baltic froze, permitting traffic across the sea and allowing wolves to pass from Norway to Denmark. Disease, particularly but not solely the Black Death, stalked Europe. The average life expectancy fell by 10 years over the 14th century. Farms, villages, and entire regions were abandoned.
(From a website reviewing book on climate change by H. H. Lamb, Climate History and the Modern World.)

(54) 1430AD - 1450 - 1870AD - "Little ice age" - period of great European expansionism and colonisation.

1450AD: (From a website on climate change): The Little Ice Age: Beginning about 1450AD is a marked return to colder conditions, often called The Little Ice Age, a term used to describe an epoch of renewed glacial advance. Although many regions of the world experience cooling during the period 1450 to 1890 A.D., use of such views has been criticised because it could not conclusively be considered an event of global significance (See Bradley and Jones, 1992). But some scientific evidence arises with use of "proxy reconstructions", evidence from tree rings, ice cores, periglacial features. (There is considerable evidence that the Little Ice Age consisted of two main cold stages of about a century's length (See Bradley and Jones, 1992). These occurred in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, with relative warmth arising in the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. Glaciers advanced in Europe, Asia and North America, whilst sea ice in the North Atlantic expanded with detrimental effects for the colonies of Greenland and Iceland (See H. H. Lamb, 1982).)

1450: To 1870: Period of "Little Ice Age": Climate conditions change in Northern Hemisphere, leading to widespread misery, say some, but also inspired famous literature. Villagers saw glaciers crush their houses. Fisheries collapsed as oceans iced over. Severe land winters brought famine and conflict. Snowy hard winters in London may have inspired some of Charles Dickens' presentations of Christmas scenes? Clime conditions changed abruptly in 1860-1870.
(Little is known of reactions here in the Southern Hemisphere except for some recent research on Eastern Australia's Great Barrier Reef corals - See an issue of Science recent by 23 February, 2002, on work by Australian National University Researcher Erica Hendy, associated with workers from Australian Institute of Marine Science).

See also - D. A. Hodell, J. H. Curtis, and M. Brenner, 'Possible role of climate in the collapse of Classic Maya civilization, Nature, v. 375, 1995, pp. 391-394.

1500-1550: (From a website reviewing book on climate change by H. H. Lamb, Climate History and the Modern World): After a generally warmer interlude between 1500 and 1550, northern Europe turns much colder... there appears The Little Ice Age, which reached a peak in the 16th and 17th centuries, experienced temperatures that were as much as 1.5°C colder than the 20th century. Great hurricanes arose in the North Atlantic. (A gale whose winds exceeded the speeds of any modern tempest destroyed the Spanish Armada and changed history. Traces of this era of cold persisted until the mid-19th century.

1797: A theory on sea salt-circulation posited in 1797 by the Anglo-American physicist Sir Benjamin Thompson (later known, after he moved to Bavaria, as Count Rumford of the Holy Roman Empire), who also posited that, if merely to compensate, there would have to be a warmer (Atlantic?) northbound current as well. The fact that excess salt is flushed from surface waters has global implications, some of them recognised two centuries ago. Salt circulates, because evaporation up north causes it to sink and be carried south by deep currents. (Greenhouse Timeline)
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

1837, Louis Agassiz presents a catastrophic theory of glaciation in book, Discourse of Neuchattel. Lyell finally accepted such ideas with enthusiasm. (Oppenheimer, Eden In The East).

1961: By 1961 the oceanographer Henry Stommel, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts, was beginning to worry that [these] warming currents might stop flowing if too much fresh water was added to the surface of the northern seas.
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

1961: Henry Stommel suggests in 1961, re the addition of fresh water to the ocean surface, diluting the salt-heavy surface waters before they became unstable enough to start sinking. More rain falling in the northern oceans -- exactly what is predicted as a result of global warming -- could stop salt flushing. So could ice be carried south out of the Arctic Ocean? (Greenhouse Timeline)
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

1987: By 1987 the geochemist Wallace Broecker, of Columbia University, was piecing together the palaeo-climatic flip-flops with the salt-circulation story and warning that small nudges to our climate might produce "unpleasant surprises in the greenhouse."
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

More to come

Select Bibliography:

Uncertain items - below

Earth in Space, Vol. 9, No. 7, March 1997, pp.12-14 .© 1997 American Geophysical Union. Permission is hereby granted to journalists to use this material so long as credit is given, and to teachers to use this material in classrooms.

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Earth in Space, Vol. 9, No. 7, March 1997, pp.12-14 .© 1997 American Geophysical Union. Permission is hereby granted to journalists to use this material so long as credit is given, and to teachers to use this material in classrooms.


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P. A. Mayewski, L. D. Meeker, S. Whitlow, M. S. Twickler, M. C. Morrison, P. M. Grootes, G. C., Bond, R. B. Alley, D. A. Meese, A. J. Gow, K. C. Taylor, M. Ram and M. Wumkes, 'Changes in atmospheric circulation and ocean ice cover over the North Atlantic during the last 41,000 years', Science, 263, 1994., pp. 1747-1751.

C. McEvedy and R. Jones, R., Atlas of World Population History. Penguin, 1978.

J. D. Milliman and K. O. Emery, 'Sea Levels During the Past 35,000 Years', Science, Vol. 162, 1968., pp. 1121-1123. Library of Congress # Q 1 S35

Items from: Scott A. Mandia Assoc. Professor - Physical Sciences T-206 Smithtown Sciences Bldg. S.C.C.C. 533 College Rd. Selden, NY 11784 (631) 451-4104

Items from by Mark Maslin, Environmental Change Research Centre, Department of Geography, University College, London; and Chronis Tzedakis, Godwin Institute of Quaternary Research, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

H. E. L. Mellersh, Chronology of The Ancient World, 10,000BC to AD 799. Barrie and Jenkins, Communica Europa, 1976.

John Michell, City of Revelation. ?

John Michell, The View Over Atlantis. London, Abacus, 1984.

John Michell, The Flying Saucer Vision: The Holy Grail Restored. London, Abacus, 1974.

Rosalind Miles, The Women's History of the World. London, Michael Joseph, 1988.

A. R. Millard, James K. Hoffmeir, David W. Baker, (Eds.), Faith, Tradition and History: Old Testament Historiography in its Near Eastern Context. Winona Lake, Indiana, Eisenbraus, 1994.

Thomas Gale Moore, Ph.D (Stanford University), Do Climate Changes Mean Anything? Reprinted From World Climate Report, Vol. 3, (4), 31 August, 1998 -

T. G. Moore, Climate of Fear: Why We Shouldn't Worry About Global Warming. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 1998.

Milton K. Munitz, (Ed.), Theories of the Universe: From Babylonian Myth to Modern Science. London, Free Press, Macmillan, 1957. (With essays on or by Socrates, Kepler, etc.)


James R. Newman, (Ed.), The World Of Mathematics: A Small Library of the Literature of Mathematics from A'h-Mose the Scribe to Albert Einstein. US, Tempus, 1956.

Rene Noorbergen, The Ark File. London, New English Library, 1974.


More to come


J. I. Packer, Merrill C. Tenney, William White Jnr, (Eds.), The Bible Almanac. Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1980.

Charles F. Pfeiffer, Egypt and the Exodus. Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Bookhouse, 1964.

Graham Phillips, Act of God: Tutankhamun, Moses and the Myth of Atlantis. London, Sidgwick and Jackson, 1998.

Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Forbidden Mysteries of Enoch: The Untold Story of Men and Angels. Malibu, California, Summit University Press. 1977.


More to come


Renate Rolle, The World of the Scythians. (Translated From The German By F. G. Walls). 1980, Library of Congress # DK 34 S4 R5713 - 1989.

H. H. Rowley, `Moses and Monotheism', in From Moses to Qumran: Studies in the Old Testament. London, Lutterworth Press, 1963.


Daniel Snell, Life in the Ancient Near East. nd?

F. Sirocko, M. Sarnthein, H. Erlenkeuser, H., Lange, M. Arnold, M., and J. C. Duplessy, 'Centuryscale Events in Monsoonal Climate over the past 24,000 years, Nature, Vol., 364, 1993., pp. 322-324.

N. J. Shackleton and N. D. Opdyke, 'Oxygen Isotope and Palaeomagnetic Stratigraphy of Equatorial Pacific Core V28-238', in Quaternary Research, Vol. 3, 1973., pp. 39-55. Library of Congress # QE 696 Q35

I. Shimada et al, World Archaeology. 22, 247, 1991.

Carl Sagan, Broca's Brain: The Romance of Science. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1979.

Kamal Salibi, The Bible Came From Arabia: Radical Reinterpretations of Old Testament Geography. London, Pan, 1987. First published in 1985.

Nancy K. Sander, The Sea People: Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean, 1250-1150. London, Thames and Hudson, 1978.

Samuel C. Schultz, The Old Testament Speaks. New York, Harper, 1960.

Tim Severin, The Jason Voyage. Century-Hutchinson. early 1980s.

Ian Simmons and Michael Tooley, (Eds.) The Environment in British Prehistory. Batsford/Cornell University Press, Out of Print. (Seven articles from the Paleolithic to the Iron Ages in Britain)

Lewis Spence, The Encyclopedia of the Occult. London, Bracken Books, 1988.

Steven M. Stanley, The New Evolutionary Timetable. Basic Books. Circa 1981.

Roy Stenman, Atlantis and the Lost Lands. London, Aldus, 1976. (Stenman is a British UFO researcher)

Carlo Suares, The Cipher of Genesis: The Original Code of the Qabala as Applied to the Scriptures. New York, Shambhala Publications/Bantam Books, 1973. (On letter-number combinations in the Hebrew alphabet.)


R. F. Tapsell, Monarchs, Rulers, Dynasties and Kingdoms of the World. London, Thames and Hudson, 1983.

Merrill C. Tenney, (Ed.), The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan Publishing House, 1963.

D. Winton Thomas, Archaeology and Old Testament Study: Jubilee Volume of the Society for Old Testament Study, 1917-1967. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1967.


More to come


E. Vrba, 'On the connection between paleoclimate and evolution', in E. S. Vrba, G. H. Denton, T. C. Partridge, L. H. Burckle, (Eds.), Paleoclimate and Evolution With Emphasis On Human Origins. New Haven, Yale University Press, 1995., pp. 24-45.

Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision. London, Abacus, 1972.

Immanuel Velikovsky, Earth in Upheaval. London, Abacus, 1973. First published, 1956.

WWW including websites

Harvey Weiss and Raymond S. Bradley, 'What Drives Societal Collapse?', Science, January 26, 2001.
H. Weiss is at the Departments of Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. E-mail:

H. Weiss, in Confronting Natural Disaster: Engaging the Past to Understand the Future, G. Bawden and R. Reycraft, (Eds.), Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press, 2000., pp. 75-98.

H. Weiss, M. A. Courty, W. Wetterstrom, F. Senior, L. Guichard, R. Meadow, and A. Curnow, The Genesis and Collapse of Third Millennium North Mesopotamian Civilization, Science, Vol., 261, 1993., pp. 995-1003.

Herbert Wendt, I Looked for Adam: The Story of Man's Search for his Ancestors. London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1955. Translated from the German by James Cleugh.

Iman Wilkens, Where Troy Once Stood. London, Rider, 1990. (Devoted to an idea that the battle for Troy was conducted France versus England, not Mycenaean Greece versus Troy.)

Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson, The Ancient Egyptians: Their Life and Customs. London, Studio Editions, (Reprinted) 1990.

Ian Wilson, The Exodus Enigma. London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1985.

Michael Wood, In Search of the Trojan War. London, BBC, 1985.
The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium ANCIENT ISRAEL IRAQ EGYPT TURKEY SYRIA LEBANON JORDAN ARABIA CYPRUS BAHRAIN AND WESTERN IRAN ANCIENT NEAR EAST HOME - see re use of ANCIENT NEAR EAST E-MAIL Mark McDonald - EDITOR Esquire USER NAME: ancientneareast PASSWORD: student - Updated : Researched 08/03/2002


More to come


N. Yoffee W. Cowgill, W., The Collapse of Ancient Mesopotamian States and Civilizations. Tucson, University of Arizona Press, 1988.


G. A. Zielinski, L. D. Mayewski, S. Meeker, S. Whitlow, and M. Twickler, 'A 110,000-year record of explosive volcanism from the GISP2 (Greenland) ice core', Quaternary Research, 45, 1996a,. pp. 109-118.

(Ends bibliography)

Now return to the Index

Stop Press: For late entries

Humans were familiar with horses as food by 13,000BC-15,000BC, in the Spanish Pyrenees and France's Dordogne Valley, where Cro-Magnon hunters painted bulls, deer, horses on cave walls, when the last great ice sheet had just reached it peak after exerting its influence for about 60,000 years, Ardrey writes. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, pp. 163ff)
13,000BC: Archaeologist Tom Dillehay and others believe that the first people arrived in the Americas about this time.

Another long leap in time...

8000BC: And before - Ice ages have pushed horses southwards, and when the land bridges between America and Asia disappeared, we had four types of horse, the horse in Europe and nearer Asia, the asses and the zebra of north and south of Africa and the onager of the Middle East. (Note from Edwards)

8000BC approx: Upper Pleistocene Period: (128,000 to 10,000 years ago, or 8,000BC). Period when modern Homo sapiens appears. The earliest evidence of modern human habitation in northern Eurasia once again comes from the area from the Altai mountains to the Amur valley, where sites dating to approx. 40,000BC have been uncovered. Were the entire habitable southern and easternmost portions of Siberia was the home of small nomadic bands of Stone Age hunters as early as 35,000BC? Rock paintings of horses and other animals have been found as far north as the upper Lena River valley and date earlier than 25,000BC. (At times when much of western Siberia was still covered in ice or water.)
During this time, either before the last great cold period (before 25,000BC or after 12,000BC) bands of Siberians crossed over into the northernmost extremities of the Asian Pacific Rim and entered present-day Alaska, quickly populating the Americas (all habitable areas of North and South America show evidence of settlement by 9,000BC, think some).

Circa 7000BC: Introduction of domestication of animals, but maybe as early as 15,000BC in France. Use of a horse's bridle.

6000BC-5000BC: First domestication of the horse on Eurasian steppes, probably by Aryan tribes, Indo-European languages, Caspian and Black seas, basic herding techniques, man follows animals to pasture. Neolithic wall-drawings of breeding efforts, and a riding tribe would be far more mobile, which in turn fed the animals better. Horses used for all kinds of transport. (Edwards)

4500BC: Approx. Great quantities of gold jewellery are discovered in the 1970s in a cemetery at Varna, near the Black Sea Coast of Bulgaria. The gold had been panned from local rivers, melted, then hammered, and some objects made were facial ornaments or penis coverings. Also a case is noted of burial-with-retinue. (James/Thorpe)

5000BC: Evidence of reindeer being used to pull sledges in northern Europe, meaning it was domesticated some 2000 years before the horse (?). And since reindeer existed in Outer Mongolia, so maybe the idea to domesticate the horse came after such use of the reindeer? Even providing the idea for the saddle? (Edwards)

4500BC: (One of various dates possible): Horses are first domesticated in what is now the Ukraine. Hunters who eat them wild find that they can milk them, tame and ride them.

4000BC-3000BC: Beginnings of the use of copper in Medit/Near East. Possible, some domestication of horse by 3700BC? (Note from Edwards)

3000BC: Evidence that the Scythians of the Altai mountains of Western Siberia had been tenders of reindeer before they became horse people, but they are horse people by 3000BC.

3000BC: Domesticated horse used in Europe, eg Sweden; there is also a mystery horse, Tundra Horse, remains of which have been found with mammoths in Siberia, such horse remains in Valley of the Yana, in north-east Siberia, where winter temperatures are below those of the North Pole. (Edwards)

3000BC: Presumed introduction of horses into Europe.

3000BC: Cross-fertilisation of people and cultures as horse cultures swept back and forth across Asiatic steppes, the Ukraine, to west Europe and to present day Iran and Iraq, over Medit, to India and China, for five thousand years the horse contributed, say from 3000BC? (Edwards)

3000BC: Horses, domesticated on the Eurasian steppes. About 3000BC, horses introduced into Palestine by Hyksos in 2nd Millennium BC, about 1500BC, with war chariots. First biblical mention of the horse is Joseph, Genesis 47:17; Jews/Hebrews are forbidden to keep large numbers of horses as for war purposes.

2700BC: Evidence that by about 2700BC, domestication of horse, by a nomadic Aryan people with an Indo-European language ranging the steppes of Black and Caspian seas. Their horses are mentioned in the clay tablets of their southern neighbours. (Caspian pony of Iran). The Medes raised Nisean horses in west Iran. In Afghanistan were the Bactrian horses. (Arabia was once a land of trees and rivers.) (Edwards on the horse).

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