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Mesopotamian Climate Change (8,000 Years Ago)
Geo Times ^ | 2-15-2004

Posted on 02/15/2004 11:18:28 AM PST by blam

Mesopotamian climate change

Geoscientists are increasingly exploring an interesting trend: Climate change has been affecting human society for thousands of years. At the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in December, one archaeologist presented research that suggests that climate change affected the way cultures developed and collapsed in the cradle of civilization — ancient Mesopotamia — more than 8,000 years ago.

Archaeologists have found evidence for a mass migration from the more temperate northern Mesopotamia to the arid southern region around 6400 B.C. For the previous 1,000 years, people had been cultivating the arable land in northern Mesopotamia, using natural rainwater to supply their crops. So archaeologists have long wondered why the ancient people moved from an area where they could easily farm to begin a much harder life in the south. “The challenge to us as paleoclimatologists is to develop much more detailed and well-dated records.” -Peter deMenocal, Columbia University

One reason could be climate, said Harvey Weiss, an archaeologist at Yale University, at the meeting in December. The climate record in ancient Mesopotamia and around the world shows an abrupt climate change event in 6400 B.C., about 8,200 radiocarbon years before present. A period of immense cooling and drought persisted for the next 200 to 300 years.

When the severe drought and cooling hit the region, there was no longer enough rainwater to sustain the agriculture in the north, Weiss says. And irrigation was not possible due to the topography, so these populations were left with two subsistence alternatives: pastoral nomadism or migration.

Archaeologists first start seeing evidence of settlements in southern Mesopotamia shortly after 6400 B.C. In the south, an area too arid to have sustained rain-fed agriculture, irrigation from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers would have been possible where the rivers flow at plain level, Weiss says. Irrigation farming took three to four times the labor effort of rain-fed farming, but irrigation agriculture would have made surplus production easier because the yield was double that of rain-fed agriculture. Surplus production meant that people could begin specializing in full-time crafts rather than relying exclusively on farming, Weiss says, thus giving rise to the first class-based society and the first cities.

"It's perhaps too extreme to say that climate change caused all of the advanced society collapses," says Peter deMenocal, a paleoceanographer at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "But it's also too extreme to say that climate change has had no effect. The challenge to us as paleoclimatologists is to develop much more detailed and well-dated records," he says.

The most fundamental question in Mesopotamian archaeology, Weiss concludes, "is, 'why is there a Mesopotamian archaeology?'" Having already tied the Early Bronze Age collapses from the Aegean to the Indus to the abrupt climate change event 4,200 years before present, Weiss believes he can now tie the changes of lifestyle and migration that were essential for early class formation and urban life in Mesopotamia to an abrupt, multi-century shift toward drier conditions which occurred near 8,200 years before present.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: agade; agriculture; animalhusbandry; archaeology; astronomy; baillie; bolide; catastrophism; change; climate; climatechange; clube; comet; curseofagade; dietandcuisine; economic; ggg; globalwarminghoax; godsgravesglyphs; haidagwaii; helixmakemineadouble; history; huntergatherers; impact; levy; maunderminimum; medieval; mesopotamian; mikebaillie; napier; neolithic; paleoclimatology; pleistocene; shoemaker; solarflares; stalactites; stalagmites; velikovsky; youngerdryas
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1 posted on 02/15/2004 11:18:28 AM PST by blam
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To: farmfriend; RightWhale
Ping. When did the huge fresh water lakes in North America collapse?
2 posted on 02/15/2004 11:19:38 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
Scientists have located the cause:
3 posted on 02/15/2004 11:26:27 AM PST by BenLurkin (Socialism is Slavery)
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To: blam
Accoring to Bill Bryson per his book A Short History of Nearly Everything, the planet is in a long term ice age. The ice age is punctuated by periodic warming periods that last around 8,000 years each or so. We are in a periodic warming period, that has been around for about 10,000 years or so, precisely the period when civilization emerged, and it is overdue to end. When it ends, it will snow a lot in Fairhope, and the ice will be back in Iowa, a thousand feet thick, and almost cliff like where it ends. Thus, Al Gore is worried about planetary temperatures perhaps rightly, but perhaps also in the wrong direction.

And there you have it.

PS: By the way, the planet had a billion years where there was no ice on the planet, anywhere, and then another billion years thereafter where it was all ice, 100% ice. The thinking is that the billion year cold snap ended when some massive volcanic eruptions happened, recreating an atmosphere, and jump starting the greenhouse effect. Ain't that interesting?

4 posted on 02/15/2004 11:41:40 AM PST by Torie
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To: blam
The last ice age peaked 25,000 years ago. Since then the habitable reasons have continued to change. North Africa was much more livable; we can assume it was more heavily populated, in relative terms, than now. The Bible's diaspora is probably the retelling of a huge migration that occurred out of North Africa and the Middle East, as the climate changed. That could have happened quickly, and caused large shifts of population by boat and land from the Mediterranean to as far as East Asia and the Americas.

People as separated as the Japanese Ainu and Basques may share common Mediterranean roots and have become separated as a result of the post-ice age climate change.

We know that several waves of immigrants reached the Americas pre-Columbus (excuse me, pre-Colon). So, they came because of population pressure, and may have come across both the Atlantic and Pacific.

The web is full of interesting speculation about this. One article talked about possible linguistic relationship between the central Mexican Indian language Nahuatl, still spoken now, and which was spoken by the Aztecs (related to several North American Indian languages, including Hopi, I think). The speculation is that there is a connection between it and ancient Egyptian. The clue to "seeing" this is to regard the "l", that Nahuatl inserts in many places, as something of a conjunctive or article. When those "l"s are removed, the correspondence between Nahuatl and old Egyptian morphemes improves (a lot). Without passing any judgment on the contention, it is very interesting to contemplate, and dovetails nicely with the idea that the North African culture was forced to emigrate.

So, yes, this article is talking about probable events. But the "big" story involves a larger timeframe and more of the world's population.
5 posted on 02/15/2004 11:42:47 AM PST by Tax Government
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To: blam
If there is ANY benefit to the absurd Global Warming scare, it will be that archaeologists have been forced to examine their dearest, closest held absurd beliefs. While there is currently no evidence for "Global Warming" the evidence is mounting that catastrophism had much to do with the ebb and flow of history.

Perhaps, when this is over, uniformitarianism will be blessedly dead and we can start understanding exactly what our ancestors experienced and the forces that molded them.
6 posted on 02/15/2004 11:43:55 AM PST by Swordmaker (This tagline shut down for renovations and repairs. Re-open June of 2001.)
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To: blam
Fill me in would you please, 65 million years ago the earth was warm and TRex was walking around, when did the ice age or ice ages begin? How long did they last and are we still in one. Thanks. I'll google while waiting to here from you.
7 posted on 02/15/2004 11:58:44 AM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: BenLurkin
Yup... Just as I suspected: Time-travelling Republicans driving SUVs. That would explain all of the cuneiform Ws all over the walls and why the word "Haliburton" appears over and over again in the Code of Hammurabi.
8 posted on 02/15/2004 12:04:32 PM PST by Redcloak (This tagline is for external use only. Discontinue if a rash develops. Induce vomiting if swallowed.)
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To: Torie
"When it ends, it will snow a lot in Fairhope.

No!! Not in Fairhope? Fairhope is frequently at the top of the list of best places to live in the USA.

Fairhope

9 posted on 02/15/2004 12:06:49 PM PST by blam
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To: Tax Government
"So, yes, this article is talking about probable events. But the "big" story involves a larger timeframe and more of the world's population."

Great overview, you do get it. There is a connection between the language of the Olmecs (Mexico) and the Chinese of the Shang Dynasty. It is written in Chinese records that at the time of the Shang Dynasty collapse (coinciding with a worldwide catastrophe recorded in the tree-rings in 1150's BC) that 250,000 Shang Chinese 'took to the sea.'

10 posted on 02/15/2004 12:12:48 PM PST by blam
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To: Swordmaker
"While there is currently no evidence for "Global Warming" the evidence is mounting that catastrophism had much to do with the ebb and flow of history."

Exactly. Below is a link to some good examples.(the tree rings recorded many things)

Did Asteroids And Comets Turn The Tides Of Civilization?

11 posted on 02/15/2004 12:19:58 PM PST by blam
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To: jpsb
"Fill me in would you please, 65 million years ago the earth was warm and TRex was walking around, when did the ice age or ice ages begin?"

Sorry, my interest lie in the history of humans. I don't do dinosaurs.

12 posted on 02/15/2004 12:22:28 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
This is a fascinating subject; thank you for posting the article.

Another article on FR recently discussed the ethnic evolution of China from a Chinese writer's perspective. The conclusions I remember are: 1) several thousand years BC there were Nordic Europeans in large numbers in China, and African-descended people also; 2) today's north Chinese population is a mostly a fusion of European and Mongol populations, and remains ethnically distinguishable from other populations in China.

The migrations could have been driven by climate change.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to spend 10 days in Beijing. I concluded their country is remarkably like the U.S. -- ethnically diverse, with remnants of the European and African contributions to the population still visible. The shared culture -- in the form of a wall, a border and a writing system, created unity. Like it does for U.S.

Thanks again for posting.
13 posted on 02/15/2004 12:31:02 PM PST by Tax Government
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To: blam
I found the info, I was looking for the 1 billion year ice age that Torie mentioned, that did not sound right. Three 50-100 million year ice ages, currently 4 millions years into another one. 20,000 years from last mini event peak and it could be we are heading for another mini peak, not Global warming but a deep freeze.
14 posted on 02/15/2004 12:45:44 PM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: Tax Government
" I concluded their country is remarkably like the U.S. -- ethnically diverse, with remnants of the European and African contributions to the population still visible."

Yup. If you get the chance, read up on the Hakka, Xiongnu, Saka and the Yuezhi people

I love this stuff. Check out the thread linked below...especially my comment in post #30.

Kennewick Man Ruling - Politics Or Science

Then there's this: The Curse Of The Red Headed Mummy

15 posted on 02/15/2004 12:50:42 PM PST by blam
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To: jpsb
"it could be we are heading for another mini peak, not Global warming but a deep freeze."

I can remember in th 70's when that was the scare.

There's an interesting article in the Scientific American this month about 1/3rd of all living mass on the earth is underground in the bottom of the oceans...and has more impact on GW/climate than humans ever will.

16 posted on 02/15/2004 12:55:37 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Is that the methene gas bubble theory? I read one theory that claimed methene gas was responcible for the first great extintion.
17 posted on 02/15/2004 1:06:32 PM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: SunkenCiv
here's a ping-a-ling for you
18 posted on 02/15/2004 1:19:47 PM PST by ValerieUSA
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To: jpsb
"Is that the methene gas bubble theory? I read one theory that claimed methene gas was responcible for the first great extintion."

Partly but, it's a lot more than that.

19 posted on 02/15/2004 3:34:44 PM PST by blam
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To: jpsb
TRex did just fine in ice ages far colder than any man or cro-magnon man has ever experienced. TRex went down due to the asteriod that hit the Yucatan, along with most larger animal life on this planet. That is in Bryson's book too.
20 posted on 02/15/2004 3:47:42 PM PST by Torie
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