Skip to comments.Mesopotamian Climate Change (8,000 Years Ago)
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.
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?
No!! Not in Fairhope? Fairhope is frequently at the top of the list of best places to live in the USA.
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.'
Exactly. Below is a link to some good examples.(the tree rings recorded many things)
Sorry, my interest lie in the history of humans. I don't do dinosaurs.
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.
Then there's this: The Curse Of The Red Headed Mummy
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.
Partly but, it's a lot more than that.
Rights, farms, environment ping.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.
I don't get offended if you want to be removed.
Hey, I don't make this stuff up.
Dinosaurs were 225-65 million years ago.
I wander if thousands of years from now scientists will attribute the mass migration of Mexicans, north to the USA, to climatic changes?
Probably not but, they will probably ask why a once prosperous country collapsed after a 200 year meteoric rise from nothing.
Google "Snowball Earth" for the grandaddy of all ice ages about 600-700 mya.
"No less intriguing are the known ranges of some late dinosaurs. The British geologist Stephen Drury notes that forests within 10 degrees latitude of the North Pole were home to great beasts, including Tyannosaurus rex. 'That is bizarre,' he writes, 'for such a high latitude is continually dark for three months of the year.' Moreover, there is now evidence that these high latitudes suffered severe winters. Oxygen isotope studies suggest that the climate around Fairbanks, Alaska, was about the same in the late Cretaceous period as it is now. So what was Tyrannosaurus doing there? Either it migrated seasonally over enormous distances or it spent much of the year in snowdrifts in the dark. In Australia - which at that time was more polar in its orientation - a retreat to warmer climes wasn't possible. How dinosaurs managed to survive in such conditions can only be guessed."
And there you have it.
I am taking the information from Stephen Oppenheimer's Eden in the East; The Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia.
Also of interest are the drastic geological changes which accompanied the massive weight distribution changes accompanying the melt of the ice sheets. It would seem to have direct relevance to this article.
I agree. There would have been enormous earthquakes and volcanos that are usually overlooked/missed in these articles...those events were disasters onto themselves. The north of England is still rising while the south is sinking...like a see-saw.
You are becoming quite the resource data base : )
Am reminded of the USGS data for the Pacific ocean level rise.
12/11,500- 9,500 BP....hundreds of feet.
For sure a migration event..World wide.
To the Haida first Nations peoples of the Pacific Northwest the Raven is both helper and trickster.
An intersting story carried forward in their Mythology is when the Raven helped bring back the Moon and the Sun.
The Myth begins with a rather bizarre statement..
"In the beginning their was a time when the sky was gloom and shrouded in cloud....when Old man had taken the Moon away and put it in a box."
Raven eventually outwits Old Man and free's the Moon from the box..and lifts it up into the Sky...then the Sun appears.
After watching a documentary on the Haida was captivated by the regional name the Haida used..
Hawaii comes to mind quickly here...the distance between Hawaii and the Queen Charolette's is staggering...and yet..the language hints of a connection.
Was there a common tounge long ago?
Are the Haida related to the Polynesians?
In a past post on Jade and its history of trade in the Pacific..one ponders if such commerce reality existed..and if so..was there a commerce language for transactions and record keeping.
When the Ocean levels rose...were many of these native peoples cut off from each other..the knowledge of connectiveness lost over millenia?
Unless habitations were fashioned in stone...the proof of their existence say circa 10,000 BP might not appear...ebbing away as the wood of their habitations decayed..their tools buried in the soil..or subducted below the rising Ocean.
Study of Pacific native legends are steeped in Moon lore....for a peoples who knew their sky intimately..why then the theme of a *Dissapearing Moon?
Certainly they understood cloud cover and fog..and seasonally periods of dense cloud do shroud the Pacific Northwesy coastlines and inland some...so why forward this bizarre theme..and match it to their Hero..the Raven? In a post many moons ago here at Grahams..forwarded a thread on Tiahuanaco.."The City of the Falling Moon"...the testimony of the Ancient ones who pre-ceeded the Inca.
Many of the Temples in Central America are connected to the Moon.... The Natives of the Continental U.S. still return to Ancient rock circles which go back thousands of years..to observe Lunar phases.
We know from USGS data that the Pacific ocean was hundreds of feet lower in the 12,000-9,500 bp period....places near Yonaguni in the Okinawan waters have caves with stalactites which drip from above ground ..or above water. These caves are now at great depths below the current Ocean levels..and a mystery...a hint that either the land fell..or the Ocean rose..or both.
Haida art has paralell theme designs to the Mayans..as seen in their Totem poles and other artwork.
The Haida also Tatooed themselves..some paralell seen in Polynesian cultures.
Several constructs exist for how the Ice age cycle was broken..and the rise of the Pacific ocean.
Native Mythology has kept many theme's connected to the Moon alive...
are we overlooking the Prime mover of the Ice age ending period... could this be the reason for the Global flood Mythology.
The Hebrew account states that vaults were opened below the Earth..and water errupted out in great volumes.
Could a Moon which had been drawn near the Earth and fragmented in the Gravity energy exchange....cause the Earths crust to fracture..and release water as per the Hebrew account.
The survival testimonies abound in Mythology...the Ancestors who escaped by climbing high mountains. A time when there was no Moon.
I believe all the flood stories can be tied to the ice melt at the end of the Ice Age
About the missing moon, don't know. I'm reminded of stories by Dr Mike Baillie ( Did Asteroids And Comets Turn The Tides Of Civilization) he speaks of dust veils dimming the sun and blocking out the stars for years but, I don't recall any mention of the moon.
I red a book not to long ago, Voyages Of The Pyramid Builders, by Dr Robert Schoch (Geologist/Geophysist) and he speculates that the origins of all the worlds pyramids come from the people who fled Sundaland as it went underwater at the end of the Ice Age.
Do you know how to fix the size of the page?
Never mind. It posted okay, it was oversized on the review.
Have chatted with Rob Schoch via mail...
Rob is smart..
John Anthony West is another fella with good perspective.
Should have posted Haida Gwaii on your *First Americans thread a few weeks back..which I was looking at while forming my post.
something for you from another chat board.... while we are discussing Pacific migration.
Paul Devereux: *Ancient Migrations to the Americas
Date: 08-Jan-04 12:02
Although I have not yet received your book, I have two questions for you about the genetic evidence of ancient migrations to the Americas:
1. Is your theory of migration across the Atlantic based upon the presence of mtDNA X group in Noth America?
2. Could the first socalled "superflood" after the last Ice Age have triggered a migration from SE Asia to Central and South America?
In "Out of Eden" Oppenheimer mentions that the X group is found along the 55th parallel in North America. He also tells that group X has recently been identified in North Asia among Altaic peoples of southern Siberia. So he thinks that group X - like the other 4 mtDNA founder lines (A, B, C and D) - came to the Americas across the Beringia 22,000 - 25,000 years ago.
Based upon the studies of Torroni, Foster and Yelena Stariovskaya, Oppenheimer thinks that it is possible that there was a migration of people with mtDNA group B about 12,000 - 15,000 years ago. He tells that group B is absent above the 55th parallel of North America, so he thinks it is possible that this migration took place along the coast to Central and South America.
Oppenheimer also telles that group B dominates Indo-China, Southeast Asia and the Pacific (which was colonized from Southeast according to genetic evidence) and that it is also found in Japan, China and Mongolia, but absent from the Subarctic regions of both Eurasia and North America.
In "Eden in the East - The Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia" (1998) by Oppenheimer, there is a figure showing that after the LGM the sea level gradually rose to about 100 meters belov today's level. Then the sea level rose rapidly 14,000 - 13,500 BP by about 40 meters to about 60 meters below today's level.
I have found two maps of Southeast Asia at different sea levels, one 120 meters and one 50 meters below the sea level today: http://www.fmnh.org/research_collections/zoology/zoo_sites/seamaps/prev_riv120rgb7.htm http://www.fmnh.org/research_collections/zoology/zoo_sites/seamaps/prev_50rgb7.htm Although I have not been able to find a map with sea level about 60 meters below the level today, the maps indicate that a great landmass was lost in Southeast Asia when the sea rose about 40 meters 14,000 - 13,500 years ago. And, as I mentioned above, mtDNA group B is dominant in the area where the land was lost.
I have also found an article according to which the distribution of mtDNA groups A, B, C and D is very different in South America: "Southern Andean and northeastern South American populations exhibit relatively low frequencies of haplogroup A and B, and high frequencies of haplogroup C and D, whereas Northern Andean and northwestern South America populations exhibit relatively high frequencies of haplogroup A and B and low frequencies of C and D." There is also a map showing that group B is very dominant in northern Chile.
So it is tempting to raise the question: Could refugees from the flood in Southeast Asia have migrated and brought haplogroup B to northwestern South America between 12,000 and 15,000 years ago as suggested by Oppenheimer? Could they have brought new skills with them and perhaps have founded Monte Verde about 12,500 years ago?
Roy L. Carlson, Department of Archaeology Simon Fraser University
Human Response to Environmental Change on the Coast of British Columbia.
As a whole the culture history of coastal British Columbia is characterized more by cultural continuity than by disruptions caused by environmental change, although such disruptions were probably responsible for some changes in local cultural sequences. The earliest colonists so far discovered arrived during the cold dry Younger Dryas (12,300 - 11,400 cal BP), but are not well represented in the archaeological record until the temperature rise of the early Holocene (11,400 - 9000 cal BP). The environment had shifted from an herb tundra at 12,300 to a open parkland with alder by11,400, and then by 10,300 to the dense coastal forest that has continued with some variations in conifer genera up to the present day. The earliest known colonists had a lithic technology similar to that of the arctic adapted Nenana Complex of central interior Alaska, and it is probable that these colonists were hunters who followed the caribou through the Yukon on to the coastal tundra where caribou are known from before there is direct evidence for humans, and then continued down the coast at least as far as the Fraser River. A second wave of colonists may have brought microblade technology to the northern coast about 400 years later. Both isotopic and faunal evidence indicate that these peoples were well adapted to the marine environment of the coast by 10,000 cal BP. The process of cultural change was one of adapting existing arctic technology to the ecological niches of the coastal environment. This process continued as new niches evolved and were discovered, and with population growth and circumscription of territories, resulted in a seasonal round of resource collection at specific localities, and the erection of permanent structures at sites suitable for storage of surpluses and residence during the winter season. New niches that expanded during the Holocene were the cedar forests that arrived about 6000 cal BP, and the development of large salmon runs by 8000 cal BP which when capitalized to their fullest extent using fish traps and preservation and storage of the catch, permitted the development of complex societies based on wealth with social rank, specialists in art and technology, and elaborate ceremonialism. These developments took place between 6000 and 4000 cal BP. It has been customary in the past to view the anadromous salmon resource as more stable than the crops of agricultural societies whereas recent studies have shown that at least in some parts of the salmon area there were major fluctuations in salmon abundance in response to poorly understood climatic factors. These fluctuations may have been responsible for discontinuities in the archaeological record of several coastal localities in which case the human response was probably the dispersal of population aggregates and more reliance on the localized resources of the seasonal round, which in turn resulted in a reduction in social complexity.
Oppenheimer's take on things sounds similar to James Chatters (..of Kennewick Man fame), who thinks Kennewick Man was descended from a group that produced both the Asians and Europeans.
He thinks the Kennewick Man types made their way all along the west coast of north and south America, crossed over in Panama then made their way back north along the Gulf Coast and on up the east coast of the US. I'm anxious for a definition of 'European DNA' that is spoken of in the below linked article.
Also, Read the article 'Bye, bye Beringia' linked in the above thread.
I thought that silly hypothesis was debunked a long time ago and was only propagated by scientist who just want to take a trip to Cancun.
Did you see an Asteroid hit around here?
The Long Summer:
How Climate Changed Civilization
by Brian M. Fagan
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