Comets And Disaster In The Bronze AgeThe hunt for natural causes for these human disasters began when the Frenchman Claude Schaeffer, one of the leading archaeologists of his time, published his book Stratigraphie Comparee et Chronologie L'Asie Occidentale in 1948. Schaeffer analysed and compared the destruction layers of more than 40 archaeological sites in the Near and Middle East, from Troy to Tepe Hissar on the Caspian Sea and from the Levant to Mesopotamia. He was the first scholar to detect that all had been totally destroyed several times in the Early, Middle and Late Bronze Age, apparently simultaneously. Since the damage was far too excessive and did not show signs of military or human involvement, he argued that repeated earthquakes might have been responsible for these events.
by Dr Benny J Peiser
Journal of the Council for British Archaeology
(link from Justa in Catastrophic event preceded Dark Ages - scientist)
Reinventing Darwin Again:"The reason that Homo sapiens have survived in spite of these global disasters has little to do with the traditional explanations given by neo-Darwinists," said Benny Peiser, a social anthropologist at Liverpool John Moores University. "It is sobering to realize that we are alive due to cosmic luck rather than our genetic makeup."
How Asteroids Impacted Human Evolution
by Robert Roy Britt
24 April 2001
Peiser bases his argument on the fact that populations of hominids and early modern humans were extremely small. "Had any of these impacts occurred in the proximity of these population groups, we might also have gone the way of the dodo," he said.Is The Earth Due For Another Cataclysmic Impact?Current research on the history of cosmic catastrophes differs significantly between what might be called the British and the American schools of thought. Advocates of the American School are known for their cosmic 'optimism' and bordering on what critics have called cosmic 'naivite'. Their philosophy is characterised by a belief that giant impacts triggering global disasters happen very rarely (every 100,000 to 1,000,000 years on average) and that the flux of such impactors is more or less constant even over long periods of time. Cosmic impacts, according to this view, occur on a random basis mainly as a result of single asteroid impacts.
The Search For Past Impacts
Is Helping To Safeguard Our Future
by Benny Peiser
The American School is so convinced of their doctrine, that most of their advocates are not even interested in studying the historical or environmental records of humankind's more recent past.
The British School, by contrast, is more concerned with cometary debris which may have led to more recent punctuations. Although their focus on historical catastrophism makes them look like pessimists, their emphasis on empirical data and the notion that impacts often occur in clusters, may ultimately prove that they are actually cosmic realists.
The DamocloidsMy specific definition is that "a Damocloid is any point-source object having a Tisserand Parameter with respect to Jupiter less than or equal to 2". By this definition, there are 21 known Damocloids as of 2004 October. Here is a list of the first 20 Damocloids... Damocloids are the inactive nuclei of Halley Family Comets... some objects identified as Damocloids by the above criterion have subsequently developed comae... the distribution of inclinations of Damocloids is indistinguishable from that of the Halley Family Comets, even though the Tisserand selection criterion does not require that this be the case... about 25% of the Damocloids possess retrograde orbits, unlike any other asteroids... The albedos of four Damocloids have been measured and they are consistent in being amongst the lowest recorded for any Solar System objects (albedos are a few %). The Damocloids are extremely dark. The surfaces are redder than sunlight but the ultrared matter that is found on many Kuiper Belt Objects and Centaurs is not present on the Damocloids... The known examples are of modest size, with a median radius of 8 km.
by David Jewitt
Last updated June 2005Origin of Trans-Neptunian AsteroidsThe distinction between comets and asteroids has become rather blurred over the past decade because no single characteristic uniquely identifies a body as either with certainty. For example, debate still rages over whether the Jupiter impactor, Shoemaker-Levy 9, was a comet or an asteroid. Despite having very different origins in conventional models, comets and asteroids have continued to display similar reflectance spectra, albedos, size ranges, etc. Comas and tails are the best guides we have to indicate that an object is a comet. But many comets display no tails; indeed, virtually all of them beyond Jupiter do not. And some comets have lost their comas, becoming completely asteroidal in appearance, while some asteroids have suddenly begun to exhibit comet-like activity, including the surprise appearance of a tail in one case.
by Tom Van Flandern
Meta Research Bulletin
Volume 4, Number 3, 1995/09/15
Highly elongated orbits used to be associated exclusively with comets until the discovery of some unusual objects without coma or tail that therefore appear to be asteroids, yet moving in highly elongated, planet-crossing orbits. Pholus is one such object. The object Chiron is another example of the dilemma, since it was first assumed to be a large asteroid in a planet-like orbit crossing the orbits of Saturn and Uranus. When it was later found to have brightness variability, many astronomers began to call it a comet.