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Disaster That Struck The Ancients
BBC ^ | 7-26-2001 | Fekri Hassan

Posted on 12/08/2001 2:51:43 PM PST by blam

Thursday, 26 July, 2001, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK

Disaster that struck the ancients

The pharaohs of the Egyptian Old Kingdom had built the mightiest legacy of the ancient world - the pyramids at Giza. But after nearly a thousand years of stability, central authority disintegrated and the country collapsed into chaos for more than a 100 years.

What happened, and why, has remained a huge controversy. But Professor Fekri Hassan, from University College London, UK, wanted to solve the mystery, by gathering together scientific clues.

His inspiration was the little known tomb in southern Egypt of a regional governor, Ankhtifi. The hieroglyphs there reported "all of Upper Egypt was dying of hunger to such a degree that everyone had come to eating their children".

Dismissed as exaggeration and fantasy by most other Egyptologists, Fekri was determined to prove the writings were true and accurate. He also had to find a culprit capable of producing such misery.

Stalactites and stalagmites

"My hunch from the beginning was that it had to do with the environment in which the Egyptians lived." Fekri felt sure the Nile, the river that has always been at the heart of Egyptian life, was implicated.

He studied the meticulous records, kept since the 7th Century, of Nile floods. He was amazed to see that there was a huge variation in the size of the annual Nile floods - the floods that were vital for irrigating the land.

But no records existed for 2,200BC. Then came a breakthrough - a new discovery in the hills of neighbouring Israel. Mira Bar-Matthews of the Geological Survey of Israel had found a unique record of past climates, locked in the stalactites and stalagmites of a cave near Tel Aviv.

What they show is a sudden and dramatic drop in rainfall, by 20%. It is the largest climate event in 5,000 years. And the date? 2,200 BC.
As Israel and Egypt are in different weather systems, Fekri needed evidence of some worldwide climate event to link this to the collapse of the Old Kingdom. And the evidence came out of the blue.

Geologist Gerard Bond, of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, US, looks for climate evidence in the icebergs of Iceland. As they melt on their journey south, they leave shards of volcanic ash on the ocean floor.

Dry lake

How far they travelled before melting tells him how cold it was. Cores of mud from the ocean floor revealed to him regular periods of extreme cold - mini ice ages - in Europe every 1,500 years, and lasting 200 years. And one mini ice age occurred at 2,200 BC.

Fekri Hassan: Looked at lake-bed cores

Gerard's colleague, Peter deMenocal, looked at climate records for the rest of the world at exactly the same time. From pollen records to sand, the story was the same - a dramatic climate change from Indonesia to the Mediterranean, Greenland to North America.

Scientists were confirming everything Fekri believed - severe climate change causing widespread human misery 4,200 years ago, misery we are only now learning about for the first time.

Back in Egypt, Fekri wanted to put the last piece of the puzzle in place. He wanted direct evidence of this severe climate change in the Nile. And he found it drilling cores in a large lake that had been fed by a tributary of the Nile in ancient times.

He discovered in the critical period, as the Old Kingdom collapsed, the lake had dried up completely - the only time in the whole history of this lake that this had happened. At last, Fekri felt he had proved that the writings on Ankhtifi's tomb were really true. It was nature that had driven people to desperation.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Egypt
KEYWORDS: ancientegypt; archaeology; bolide; catastrophism; curseofagade; donovancourville; drought; economic; egypt; exodus; fekrihassan; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; iceage; impact; mikebaillie; miniiceage; oldkingdom; sphinx; stalactites; stalagmites
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Within the last thirty days (or so) we had a posting here on FR of a recently discovered impact crater in Iraq that was dated at 2200BC. Will someone find and post that article to this thread?(Thanks) I'm a catasthropist and love to make these connections. BTW, I saw this one hour BBC documentary, excellent.
1 posted on 12/08/2001 2:51:43 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
I'm guessing that ancient Egyptian society collapsed in the same way the Soviet Union did, and for the same reason. You can't have a Pharoah-God ruler single handedly directing the people and the nation's resources by fiat and still expect to maintain a viable economic condition over the long run.

Those pyramids should stand as an eternal monument to the inherent folly of government spending. It may keep people busy, and it may look like things are getting done, but it merely squanders human and physical resources, and is inherently uneconomic. A collossal waste of productive human energy -- and for what? To assuage the ego of some delusional tyrant.

Just think how that society would have thrived if all those poor souls assigned to monument building and similar tasks had been allowed to pursue their own individual talents and goals.

I don't know much about Egyptian history, but obviously it was doomed to failure from the getgo.

2 posted on 12/08/2001 3:03:02 PM PST by Maceman
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To: Maceman
I don't know much about Egyptian history, but obviously it was doomed to failure from the getgo.

Clearly, you DON'T know ANYTHING about Egyptian history.

3 posted on 12/08/2001 3:05:50 PM PST by Arleigh
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To: Maceman
Those stupid ol' Egyptians didn't have any hope of lasting the 200 years we have!
4 posted on 12/08/2001 3:18:39 PM PST by Born to Conserve
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To: Arleigh
Clearly, you DON'T know ANYTHING about Egyptian history.

I do know that a hell of a lot of lives and resources were wasted in the building of some of the most wasteful structures in human history.

5 posted on 12/08/2001 3:22:29 PM PST by Maceman
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To: Maceman
I do know that a hell of a lot of lives and resources were wasted in the building of some of the most wasteful structures in human history.

I take it that you are describing the buildings holding our current government bureaucracies, right? The Egyptian people freely gave their services to honor their conception of God, and to express their loyalty to him and their nation. Of course I have noticed a few folks around here lately to whom the concepts of honor, loyalty, and patriotism are at least as foreign as ancient Egypt.

6 posted on 12/08/2001 3:38:27 PM PST by Lucius Cornelius Sulla
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To: blam
Disaster That Struck The Ancients...Is Ben Hur still missing?
7 posted on 12/08/2001 3:39:31 PM PST by exmoor
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To: Maceman
"I don't know much about Egyptian history, but obviously it was doomed to failure from the getgo."

I'm pretty sure the article said the problem was an environmental event. Albeit, I do agree with your politics.

8 posted on 12/08/2001 3:40:12 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Fascinating. Thanks for posting this.
9 posted on 12/08/2001 3:44:41 PM PST by MHDouglas
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To: blam
I'm a catasthropist and love to make these connections.

11/04/01 Story About Impact Site in Iraq

Scholarly Site for geological and historical neo-catastrophism & debunking Global Warming Hysteria.

10 posted on 12/08/2001 3:47:11 PM PST by Mike Darancette
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To: blam
Kind of explains the 300 year hiatus after the fall of the Sagonite Empire.
11 posted on 12/08/2001 3:49:28 PM PST by Little Bill
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To: blam
2200 BC is about the same time as the history of Sumer, isn't it?
12 posted on 12/08/2001 3:51:23 PM PST by MHDouglas
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To: MHDouglas
Sumer is somewhat older.
13 posted on 12/08/2001 3:52:52 PM PST by sheik yerbouty
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To: sheik yerbouty
Yes.. 2200 BC would be at the end of Sumer. Do you know of a cross reference in time?
14 posted on 12/08/2001 3:57:15 PM PST by MHDouglas
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To: Mike Darancette
(Thanks, Mike)

Meteor clue to end of Middle East civilisations

By Robert Matthews, Science Correspondent
(Filed: 04/11/2001)

SCIENTISTS have found the first evidence that a devastating meteor impact in the Middle East might have triggered the mysterious collapse of civilisations more than 4,000 years ago.

Studies of satellite images of southern Iraq have revealed a two-mile-wide circular depression which scientists say bears all the hallmarks of an impact crater. If confirmed, it would point to the Middle East being struck by a meteor with the violence equivalent to hundreds of nuclear bombs.

Today's crater lies on what would have been shallow sea 4,000 years ago, and any impact would have caused devastating fires and flooding.

The catastrophic effect of these could explain the mystery of why so many early cultures went into sudden decline around 2300 BC.

They include the demise of the Akkad culture of central Iraq, with its mysterious semi-mythological emperor Sargon; the end of the fifth dynasty of Egypt's Old Kingdom, following the building of the Great Pyramids and the sudden disappearance of hundreds of early settlements in the Holy Land.

Until now, archaeologists have put forward a host of separate explanations for these events, from local wars to environmental changes. Recently, some astronomers have suggested that meteor impacts could explain such historical mysteries.

The crater's faint outline was found by Dr Sharad Master, a geologist at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, on satellite images of the Al 'Amarah region, about 10 miles north-west of the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates and home of the Marsh Arabs.

"It was a purely accidental discovery," Dr Master told The Telegraph last week. "I was reading a magazine article about the canal-building projects of Saddam Hussein, and there was a photograph showing lots of formations - one of which was very, very circular."

Detailed analysis of other satellite images taken since the mid-1980s showed that for many years the crater contained a small lake.

The draining of the region, as part of Saddam's campaign against the Marsh Arabs, has since caused the lake to recede, revealing a ring-like ridge inside the larger bowl-like depression - a classic feature of meteor impact craters. The crater also appears to be, in geological terms, very recent. Dr Master said: "The sediments in this region are very young, so whatever caused the crater-like structure, it must have happened within the past 6,000 years."

Reporting his finding in the latest issue of the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Dr Master suggests that a recent meteor impact is the most plausible explanation for the structure.

A survey of the crater itself could reveal tell-tale melted rock. "If we could find fragments of impact glass, we could date them using radioactive dating techniques," he said.

A date of around 2300 BC for the impact may also cast new light on the legend of Gilgamesh, dating from the same period. The legend talks of "the Seven Judges of Hell", who raised their torches, lighting the land with flame, and a storm that turned day into night, "smashed the land like a cup", and flooded the area.

The discovery of the crater has sparked great interest among scientists. Dr Benny Peiser, who lectures on the effects of meteor impacts at John Moores University, Liverpool, said it was one of the most significant discoveries in recent years and would corroborate research he and others have done.

He said that craters recently found in Argentina date from around the same period - suggesting that the Earth may have been hit by a shower of large meteors at about the same time.

(The tree ring data indicates that there was a worldwide 'near extinction' event at 2354BC)

15 posted on 12/08/2001 3:58:48 PM PST by blam
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To: Mike Darancette

Iraqi crater

16 posted on 12/08/2001 4:00:52 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Great article...Thanks for sharing.
17 posted on 12/08/2001 4:01:00 PM PST by ruoflaw
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To: blam
Was there a trade embargo sponsored by evil Paleo-American tribes that killed 500,000 children with big eyes every hour? And did the impact destroy a Baby Milk Factory? What was the motive of the Evil Paleo-Americans to launch this object into the poor Iraqis? How did the primitive Northern European tribes and Paleo-Americans build factories big enough to change the climate? How did they drill enough oil to power their SUV's? Enquiring minds want to know!
18 posted on 12/08/2001 4:07:40 PM PST by Cleburne
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To: blam
Within the last thirty days (or so) we had a posting here on FR of a recently discovered impact crater in Iraq that was dated at 2200BC. Will someone find and post that article to this thread?

I see someone posted the pic from that thread, but the link to the thread is here. Sorry if someone beat me to it and this is a duplicate. Hope it's the one you're looking for blam. I'm interested in this too, and am starting to build some reference links. If you have any interesting links, I'd appreciate a copy of them.

19 posted on 12/08/2001 4:15:26 PM PST by Boomer Geezer
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To: Maceman

I don't know much about Egyptian history,

Then perhaps you should have allowed yourself
the luxury of an unexpressed thought and maybe
learned something.

20 posted on 12/08/2001 4:22:32 PM PST by gcruse
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To: Maceman
Those pyramids should stand as an eternal monument to the inherent folly of government spending

All those years...and the Egyptians never sold out naming rights to a corporate sponsor!

21 posted on 12/08/2001 4:27:28 PM PST by grania
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To: RadioAstronomer
bump for later study.
22 posted on 12/08/2001 4:28:06 PM PST by RadioAstronomer
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To: blam
How 'bout the next 100K yr ice age and the end of 'global warming'...caused by the upcoming polar-shift, triggered by a massive Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), which will be the precursor...Here's the Link: (Check out the graphs under Milankovitch Cycle)...

www.sp.uconn.edu/~geo101vc/Lecture24/index.htm

23 posted on 12/08/2001 4:37:47 PM PST by harbingr
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To: Cleburne

24 posted on 12/08/2001 4:37:55 PM PST by blam
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To: AFellowInPhoenix
"I'm interested in this too, and am starting to build some reference links. If you have any interesting links, I'd appreciate a copy of them."

Check the bookmarks on my profile page.

25 posted on 12/08/2001 4:41:27 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
See also Sea-Floor Dust Shows Drought Felled Akkadian Enpire
26 posted on 12/08/2001 4:48:16 PM PST by Lessismore
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To: MHDouglas
Somewhere after some 2300 bc, and before 2000, something catastrophic and seemingly nuclear/radioactive struck Sumer and ended it. The god Enki had warned some of them, and they were warned to flee northward from their ruined cities, taking no food or cooking pots with them for fear those had been touched by the ghost.

Very probably this event, to whatever extent natural or man-made, was the same event that devastated Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah and which seems to have virtually melted certain areas of the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt.

This may also have changed world climates and caused rainfall in Egypt to cease, made the Sahara a true desert, etc.

27 posted on 12/08/2001 4:50:17 PM PST by crystalk
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To: crystalk
Thank you --- I'm still digging to get my bearings, but what you say makes sense.
28 posted on 12/08/2001 4:53:09 PM PST by MHDouglas
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: crystalk
Thought this link might interest you--

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/gabrmetz/gabr0004.htm

Its about the The Armies of Sumer and Akkad, 3500-2200 B.C.

30 posted on 12/08/2001 5:03:43 PM PST by MHDouglas
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: blam
Tree-ring Evidence For Environmental Disasters During The Bronze Age: Causes And Effects

Mike G L Baillie

Palaeoecology Centre, School of Geosciences, Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland
e-mail: mbaillie@queens-belfast.ac.uk

In 1988 the observation was made that narrowest-ring events in Irish sub-fossil oak chronologies appeared to line up with large acidities in the Greenland ice records from Camp Century and Dye3. Three of the events, at tree-ring ages 2345 BC, 1628 BC and 1159 BC turned out to be of particular interest as they contributed to debates on the Hekla 4 eruption in Iceland, dated to 2310±20 CalBC, Santorini in the Aegean, dated to circa 1670-1530 CalBC, and, possibly, Hekla 3, linked by Hammer and colleagues to their 1120±30 BC acid layer. It quickly became apparent, most notably through comments from Kevin Pang, that the two later events might relate in some way to the start and end of the Chinese Shang dynasty. It is equally of interest that the Egyptian New Kingdom traditionally spans the approximate range 1570 to 1080 BC. So the question arose whether these two volcano-related events could have caused widespread dynastic change. In order to proceed with this debate it is necessary to attempt to get a better handle on the nature of the effects. This paper will look at information from American and Fennoscandian tree-ring records and make some attempt to define the nature of the 1628 BC and 1159 BC events; are they truly abrupt, as would be expected with volcanoes, or are they imposed on pre-existing downturns. Existing exidence suggests that the latter may be the case. If this is correct, it seems appropriate to ask what might have caused the downturns? This question leads logically to the speculation that loading of the atmosphere from space might be a significant factor in the environmental downturns.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MIKE BAILLIE is a professor in the Palaeoecology Centre, School of Geosciences, Queen's University, Belfast, N. Ireland. After reading physics at Queen's he moved into Archaeology and Palaeoecology taking a particular interest in chronology. His specialism is dendrochronology, and he has been involved in the construction of some of the first, long, oak chronologies. Using information from tree-ring records, he has attempted to identify abrupt environmental downturns in the past and to demonstrate their effects on past human populations. He publishes widely on these and related topics and is the author of A Slice Through Time: dendrochronology and precision dating (London: Routledge 1995).


For more tree ring stuff Henri D. Grissino-Mayer's Ultimate Tree-Ring Web Pages

It looks like there could have been a solar minimum, a major volcanic eruption and a meteor impact all at about the same time.

32 posted on 12/08/2001 5:10:16 PM PST by Lessismore
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To: toddhisattva
"When I saw that Earth-sized dot made by S-L #9 come 'round the limb of Jupiter, the chills I felt convinced me of that!"

Geez.... Me too!! I read a follow up report on this incident about how everyone was suprised that the ejecta went back into space 2,000 miles, about 10 times greater than the model forecasted.

33 posted on 12/08/2001 5:22:10 PM PST by blam
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To: Maceman
From what I heard, it was necessary to predict and provide for floods and droughts. You had to know what was going on upstream to make your plans and survive. To a large degree you also had to allocate the water from irrigation. Therefore, the state and its scribes, priests, and administrators grew quite powerful. The kind of power they had and the awe that people had for the Pharaoah must have been greater than anything we see in the world today. But it's hard to see how Egyptian civilization could have developed as far as it did had the state not developed.

Take the Mississippi, which is so important to the lives and fortunes of people who live on its banks, and transport it to a much drier climate -- or consider the Colorado, and the use made of its water -- and you get an idea of how important the river was, and how difficult it would be to have the whole process in private hands in ancient times.

Ancient civizations lasted for a very long time with all the faults that we'd attribute their fall to. Rome is another example. What we see as Roman decadence lasted centuries before the empire fell.

34 posted on 12/08/2001 5:23:56 PM PST by x
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To: blam
Evidence for Astronomical Aspects of Mankind's Past and Recent Climate Timo Niroma, Helsinki, Finland

Judging by your links, you'll like this site.

35 posted on 12/08/2001 5:33:02 PM PST by Lessismore
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To: blam
Our radio telescope was able to "see" the radio noise spike from Jupiter as S-L/9 fragment "L" hit the Jovian atmosphere. :)
36 posted on 12/08/2001 5:37:52 PM PST by RadioAstronomer
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To: Maceman
I don't know much about Egyptian history, but obviously it was doomed to failure from the getgo.

Unless you know the facts you don't have the right to have an opinion.

37 posted on 12/08/2001 5:42:11 PM PST by curmudgeonII
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To: Lessismore
"See also Sea-Floor Dust Shows Drought Felled Akkadian Enpire.

Thanks. Very good article.

38 posted on 12/08/2001 5:43:15 PM PST by blam
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To: Lessismore
Thanks again. I'm very familiar with Mike Baillie and his ideas/theories/data. I have his book, Exodus To Arthur, and use his tree ring dates (supported by ice core samples) to calibrate almost all archaeological/anthropological events I encounter. It's data that is hard to refute.
39 posted on 12/08/2001 5:48:46 PM PST by blam
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To: Arleigh
I don't know much about the anceint Egyptians either but I know two things. They were very dependant on the Nile, so if anything happened there it greatly affected them. Also, if we had given them $5 freakin billion a year, maybe their government would've survived.
40 posted on 12/08/2001 5:49:16 PM PST by Republic of Texas
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To: Lessismore
"For more tree ring stuff Henri D. Grissino-Mayer's Ultimate Tree-Ring Web Pages"

Bookmarked.

41 posted on 12/08/2001 5:52:07 PM PST by blam
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To: Lessismore
"Evidence for Astronomical Aspects of Mankind's Past and Recent Climate Timo Niroma, Helsinki, Finland"

I love this one. Another bookmark. lol (mucho thanks)

42 posted on 12/08/2001 5:56:12 PM PST by blam
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To: MHDouglas
I believe that Sumer was around 4000 B.C.
43 posted on 12/08/2001 5:58:15 PM PST by sheik yerbouty
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To: gnarledmaw; JudyB1938; dead; sawsalimb; grimalkin; Thinkin' Gal; Fifth Business
Bump for you.
44 posted on 12/08/2001 5:59:05 PM PST by blam
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To: Maceman
>I do know that a hell of a lot of lives and resources were wasted in the building of some of the most wasteful structures in human history.

For all we know (since we know very little) it provided employment for lots of people, feeding lots of families, straightening lots of teeth, and making lots of chariot payments. Anything beyond that is probably just speculation...

45 posted on 12/08/2001 5:59:32 PM PST by skraeling
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To: ctdonath2; RightWhale; jennyp; Publius6961; rightofrush; white rose
Bump for you.
46 posted on 12/08/2001 6:03:09 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
>impact crater in Iraq that was dated at 2200BC.

That's very interesting. Happened within perhaps a hundred years of the birth of Abraham, in Ur, Iraq.

47 posted on 12/08/2001 6:06:38 PM PST by skraeling
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To: LostTribe
Can you connect any of you lost tribes data to this event/period?
48 posted on 12/08/2001 6:18:04 PM PST by blam
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Comment #49 Removed by Moderator

Comment #50 Removed by Moderator


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