Skip to comments.Evidence for Major Impact Events in the late Third Millennium BC
Posted on 09/04/2002 4:48:54 PM PDT by vannrox
The Climax of a Turbulent Millennium:
Evidence for Major Impact Events in the late Third Millennium BC
Timo Niroma, Helsinki, Finland
The First Intermediate Period
Selections from "The Egyptians" by C. Aldred (London 1987).
"At this distance of time, the overthrow of the Old Kingdom at
the end of the Sixth Dynasty has all the appearance of being sudden
"Recent research has attributed the abrupt nature of the collapse
to contemporary changes in the climate of Africa and the Near East.
With the cessation of the Neolithic Wet Phase about 2350 BC, the
spectre of famine begins to haunt the region. An isolated block from
the Unas Causeway, showing piteously emaciated people weakened by
famine and dying of hunger, is an early portent of the evils to
come. Egypt was protected from the worst of such irregular
calamities by its unique irrigation system. It is fairly evident,
however, that a change in the pattern of monsoon rains falling on
the Abyssinian plateau could lead to a series of low Niles. Hot
winds from the south apparently accompanied this climatic
aberration. There are veiled references to the sun being
obscured by dust storm: 'the sun is occluded and will not shine that
men may see... none may know that it is midday, and the sun will
cast no shadow.' The high winds assisted the denudation by creating
dust bowls and shifting sand dunes on to the cultivation. The whole
political and economic system of Egypt would have been discredited
in a very short time. The king-lists refer to many pharaohs during
the three decades of the Seventh and Eighth Dynasties, each ruling
for a year or two and disappearing without trace.
"In these conditions, 'when the Nile was empty and men crossed
over it on foot', Egypt splintered into a number of feudal states.
There are cryptic references in the meagre records that have
survived to marauding bands of starving people searching for food in
more favoured localities.
"In the 20th century BC the local governors took what measures
were open to them to succour their own districts, by conserving
water supplies, and reducing the number of hungry mouths by driving
out famine-stricken invaders, whether natives, Libyans or Asiatics,
from their provinces. The internecine strife further restricted the
areas of cultivation; and the perils of these times are reflected in
the boasts of the local rulers on their crude tomb stelae. The
cataclysm is plain for all to see. The monuments of the period are
very sparse and mere feeble copies of the Memphite style of the
past. The widespread civil disorder is evident in the decoration of
the crude model funerary boats, hacked out of the local wood. All
were afraid when they beheld smoke arising in the south. Macabre
reminders of the civil strife of these days are the bodies of some
sixty shock troops who were accorded an honoured mass-burial at
Thebes. Their wounds showed that they had fallen in the desperate
storming of some key fortress.
"Famine in their own lands always drove Libyans and the bedouin of
Sinai and the Negeb to graze their flocks on the borders of the
Delta in the manner of Abraham and Jacob. The evils caused by
famine, poverty, social upheaval and anarchy brought others in their
train such as plague and sterility. A deep and lasting impression
was left on the ancient Egyptians by the trauma of these times, so
that in later literary works, such as the Prophecy of Neferti and
the Admonitions of Ipuwer, when the writer wished to depict mankind
tormented by intolerable miseries, it was the sufferings of this
period that he recalled."
The destruction of the Old Kingdom was followed by a period of a violent economic and social upheaval.
From Admonitions of Ipuwer:
"The fruitful water of Nile is flooding,
The fields are not cultivated,
Robbers and tramps wander about and
Foreign people invade the country from everywhere.
Diseases rage and women are barren.
All social order has ceased,
Taxes are not paid and
Temples and palaces are being insulted.
Those who once were veiled by splendid garments, are now ragged.
Noble women wander around the country and lament:
"If only we would have something to eat."
Men throw themselves in the jaws of crocodiles -
So out of one's senses are people in their horror.
Laughter has ceased everywhere.
Mourning and lament are in its place.
Both old and young wish they are dead."
"Men don't any more sail to north, to Byblos.
"Where do we now get our cedar for our mummy coffins and oil to balm?""
Translated, collected and commented by TN.
"The large fields and acres produced no grain
The flooded fields produced no fish
The watered gardens produced no honey and wine
The heavy clouds did not rain
On its plains where grew fine plants
'lamentation reeds' now grow."
Quotations from H. Weiss, The Sciences, May/June 1996
"First of the world's empires, Akkad was not the last to blame
its fall on sacrilege. In a fit of pique, the author of the curse
believed, the Akkadian emperor had destroyed a temple to the sky god
Enlil, bringing on a century of drought, famine, and barbarian
invasions. How else to explain the empire's sudden, calamitous
"Only a hundred years before the collapse, Sargon of Akkad had
wrested the Sumerian city-states from Lugalzaggesi of Umma, then
stormed across the plains of Mesopotamia. When it was done the
Akkadian Empire controlled trade from the silver mines of Anatolia
to the lapis lazuli mines of Badakhshan, from the cedar forests of
Lebanon to the Gulf of Oman. In northern Mesopotamia, meanwhile,
fortresses were built to control imperial wheat production. To the
south, irrigation canals were extended, a new bureaucracy
established and palaces and temples built from imperial taxes.
"Then, abruptly, things fell apart. Sometime around
2200 BC seasonal rains became scarce, and withering storms replaced
them. The winds cut through northern wheat fields and blanketed them
in dust. They emptied out towns and villages, sending people
stumbling south with pastoral nomads, to seek forage along rivers
and streams. For more than a hundred years the desertification
continued, disrupting societies from southwestern Europe to central
Asia. Egypt's Old Kingdom, the towns of Palestine and the great
cities of the Indus Valley also were among the casualties.
"The Akkadian occupation of Tell Leilan, in any case, was to last
less than a hundred years. Only decades after the city's massive
walls were raised, its religious quarter renovated and its grain
production reorganized, Tell Leilan was suddenly abandoned. In our
excavations the collapsed remains of Akkadian buildings are covered
with erosion deposits that show no trace of human activity. Only
above them, in strata from 1900 BC, do ash, trash, and the
monumental remains of a new imperial capital appear.
"Striking as it is, the site's occupational hiatus came as no
surprise to us. Archaeologists first documented it in the late 1930s
at other sites in the region, relegating it to a footnote. Fifty
years later, when our team rediscovered the odd hiatus, we went one
step further. By determining radiocarbon dates for materials from
before and after the hiatus, we refined its chronology. By comparing
ceramics from our site with ceramics from the same strata at other
sites, we tracked the hiatus throughout the area. Whether at Tell
Leilan or Tell Taya, Chagar Bazar or Tell-al-Hawa, the results told
the same story: between 2200 and 1900 BC, people fled the Habur and
Assyrian plains en masse.
"Little by little, evidence of previously unrecorded climatic
events emerged. A thin layer of volcanic ash covers the last
Akkadian mud bricks. Just above that a layer of fine sand eight
inches thick testifies to centuries of flailing wind and relentless
drought. A volcanic eruption probably could not have caused the
disaster, but whether one did so may be unimportant. No matter what
caused them, dust storms and drought made rain-fed farming difficult
if not impossible. Year after year crops failed in northern
"Periods of drying climate are nothing new to Near Eastern
archaeologists. What is new are the data showing sudden, severe,
long-term climatic change. Add to these findings the simultaneous
social collapses documented in the Aegean, Egypt, Palestine, Iran,
and the Indus Valley, and you have a provocative picture indeed. The
problem, oddly enough, is that archaeologists have been ignoring it
"In 1948 the French archaeologist Claude Schaeffer cast his eye
over the urban collapses of the third millennium and concluded that
regionwide earthquakes were to blame. A decade later the British
archaeologist James Mellaart fingered drought and migrations as the
culprit. Schaeffer's hypothesis seemed too fantastic for serious
study; Mellaart's, though less improbable, still depended on a deus ex
"Civilization on Crete and mainland Greece, like its neighbors,
collapsed in 2200 BC. The great cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa
in the Indus Valley collapsed between 2200 and 2100 BC. The
archaeologist Rafique Mughal of the Pakistan Department of
Archaeology blames shifting river courses, citing evidence that the
Indus River channels moved eastward, away from Harappan urban
"Could the collapses be coincidental? No.
There is no pattern of collapse in 2700 BC or in 2500 BC, only in 2200 BC.
Dry spells and drops in lake levels (occur) in the Sahel, the Sahara,
northwestern India, and western Tibet roughly between 2600 and 2200
BC. Lake Turkana in Kenya abruptly changed from an open to a closed
basin around 2000 BC. And around 2250 BC the level of the Dead Sea
reached a nadir. Sediments between Greenland and Iceland show a cold
peak around 2200 BC. Gulf of Oman: around 2300 BC dust suddenly
increased fivefold, the record during (the) Holocene. The dust peak
contains shards of volcanic glass." (The population of Finland
dropped to 1/3 somewhere between 2400 and 2000 BC. - TN)
Epilogue by TN
The Third Dynasty of Ur was the last attempt to revive
Sumer, after a chaos of 100 years
beginning with the destruction of Akkadian Sumer around 2200 BC.
During the Akkadian period wheat was the most important cereal and
its share of the harvest was about 20 %. During the years 2200-2100
BC the saltiness of the soil rose markedly, possibly because of salty
sea floods and, and after them, because of the following dryness that
evaporated the water leaving the salt behind. In the northern
Mesopotamia the wheat share dropped to 2 % and in the southern part
to zero. This change seems to coincide with the period when there
was no central authority.
Mesopotamia and other above-mentioned places were not the only victims of the 2200 BC event. As far away as in China, the Hongsan culture fell in pieces at this same time. This, if not anything else, is an indication of the mighty character of the event, and bolsters us to consider it as global.
Quotations from SIS.
"Extensive evidence exists that Early Bronze II came to an end
some centuries before 2000 BC with general destruction and cultural
disruption throughout most of Anatolia. Mellaart in 1960:
"... the number of sites burnt or deserted has already reached
the number of 350, and in the following period not more than one out
of every four earlier settlements was inhabited, and often not more
than squatted on. Whole areas, such as the Konya Plain and the
Pisidian plains south of Burdur revert to nomadism after thousands
of years of settled agricultural life."
The EB sequence of Troy in western Anatolia is complex, and also
confused to some extent because of inadequacies in Schlieman's early
excavations. There is however strong agreement that phase IIg of
Troy was destroyed by fire at this time. In the words of the
excavator, Carl Blegen:
"The stratum of Troy IIg had an average thickness of more than
one metre; it consisted mainly of ashes, charred matter and burned
debris. This deposit apparently extended uniformly over the great
megaron and across the entire site, eloquent evidence that the
settlement perished in a vast conflagration from which no buildings
Even the stones of the walls were reddened and calcined by fire
in a destruction of fearful suddenness:
"In all areas examined by the Cincinnati expedition, it was
obvious that the catastrophe struck suddenly, without warning,
giving the inhabitants little or no time to collect and save their
most treasured belongings before they fled. All the houses exposed
were still found to contain the fire-scarred wreckage of their
furnishings, equipment, and stores of supplies. Almost every
building yielded scattered bits of gold ornaments and jewelry, no
doubt hastily abandoned in panic flight."
There were dislocated building foundations for Troy IIg which
would indicate earthquake damage. Despite the great destruction,
there is no evidence of a massacre by foreign elements; furthermore,
the same culture reoccupied the site afterwards. McQueen, a noted
archaeologist, states that Troy IIg was "destroyed by fire without
apparently the involvement of any outside enemy"."
The following excerpts are from " Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse", ed. by Nuzhet Dalfes, George Kukla and Harvey Weiss, NATO ASI Series, Vol I 49, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997. The book is based upon Proceedings of the Workshop by that name held at Kerner, Turkey, in September 1994. Harvey Weiss from Yale University has summarized some of the data from this book in an article entitled"Late Third Millennium Abrupt Climate Change and Social Collapse in West Asia and Egypt". Citations are from H. Weiss's article (unless otherwise noted).
I begin by picking some relevant pieces which seem to support my catastrophe theory. The climate change will be discussed regarding four regions: Mesopotamia, Palestine, Egypt and Indus Valley.
"Lemcke and Sturm (Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse) document an abrupt doubling of the quartz content of [one] Lake Van core ... or a tripling in other Van sediment records (Lemcke, abstract 1994), from 4200 to 4000 BP. This spike is synchronous with initiation of the k(18)O enrichment phase at 4190 cal yr BP (Lemcke and Sturm, Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse"). As Butzer (Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse") notes, the Lemcke and Sturm oxygen isotope record from the Van varves indicates a pronounced dry spell ca. 2350-2075 BC."
"Together these suggest, with Courty (Paleorient 20, 1994), that the 2200 BC phase of decreased precipitation was synchronous with increased wind turbulence and aeolian dust transport to Lake Van. Sampling at 84 year intervals may have precluded observations of Na and Al peaks that are considered to be effects of volcanic tephra."
Or the missing Na and Al peaks are indications that the tephra is not of volcanic origin. Courty herself has later deviated from his early opinion and admitted the non-volcanic character.
The following extract is from Marie-Agnes Courty and Harvey Weiss: "The Scenario of Environmental Degradation in the Tell Leilan Region, NE Syria, During the Late Third Millennium Abrupt Climate Change":
"The occurrence of an abrupt climate change 2200-1900 BC has been identified by changes in the dynamic of soil landscapes of the Habur Plains (Weiss et al. 1993). The chronostratigraphic record at Tell Leilan and regional survey links the rapid establishment of drastic arid conditions with site and regional abandonment. The soil properties of the 300 year long occupational hiatus stratum suggest that the climatic disturbance persisted until a "normal" climatic pattern was re-established ca. 1900 BC when the Tell Leilan region was re-occcupied."
As later will be noted, Courty changes the Tell Leilan hiatus to ca. 2350 BC and Harvey enlarges the whole Anatolian-Mesopotamian incident as having happened 2200 +/-200 BC.
My hypothesis is that there were two events, the first one around 2350 BC (2345 BC?), and the second one around 2200 BC (2193-2194 BC?), of similar cause, but possibly independent of each other.
Other places of major wind erosion at the end of the third millennium BC are from southern Iraq (Robert Adams: Heartland of Cities. Chicago 1981) and the wind-blown dolomite Mesopotamian dust within a sediment core from the Gulf of Oman.
"In the eastern Mediterranean, the exceptionally arid climate stage 4 of the Dead Sea Holocene record, beginning abruptly at ca. 2200 BC, is represented by a ca. 100 meter drop in Dead Sea level. "Abruptness" in this case is defined by six radiocarbon dates, with interpolation nadir."
My theory suggests that the southern part of the Dead Sea is a meteorite crater that catalysmically was born around 2200 BC.
Lake Turkana, which has great control over Nile floods, had a low lake level at 2250-2200 BC. Lake conditions changed abruptly, but the atmospheric circulation changed only gradually during the next centuries.
An interpretation based on Ilhem Bentalen et al.: " Monsoon Regime Variations During the Late Holocene in the SW India, Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse".
First I have made a time calibration: 3500 BP radiocarbon calibrated as
2200 BC, 4300 BP radiocarbon calibrated as 3100 BC (based on Schove: Sunspots
plus several articles in Nature). Place: near the mouth of Kalinadi river.
Evergreen forest dropped from nearly 30% from 3100 BC to 15-20% in 2800 BC. The next drop was from nearly 20% in 2200 BC to below 10% in the next centuries. At the same time periods savanna increased from 20% to 40%, then remained at that level until 2200 BC, when there began a rapid increase, which leveled at 60% in 2 centuries. The most dramatic shifts are seen in delta(13)C: A sudden change from the level of 23 o/oo to 23.5 in 3100 BC and a rapid return to 23, and a new sudden change to 23.5 at 2200 BC and then a sharp change that eventually levels off to today's value of 21.5 o/oo some thousand years later.
"The quality of 2200 BC abrupt climate change records varies considerably, but none so much as the paleobotanical one (Bottema, Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse).
Why this is the case remains to be explained. Some cores of West Asia lakes (van Zeist and Bottema: Late Quaternary Vegetation of the Near East, Wiesbaden 1991) indicate an abrupt decline in arboreal pollen ca. 2200-1950 BC."
There are clear occupation hiatuses at Habur Plains/Tell Leilan (NE Syria), Tell Taya (N Iraq), Palestina, Iranian plateau and then there is the very sudden and dramatic collapse of Mohenjo-Daro, all beginning around 2200 BC (Dalfes, Kukla, Weiss, 1997). The whole area including East Africa, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Gulf of Oman, Aegean, Indus shows signs of abrupt climatic change around 2200 BC.
Lake Van in Eastern Anatolia shows an interesting peak in core Van 90-10. Oxygen isotope 18 and the lake water ratio of Mg/Ca begin to increase in 4190 BP (varve count calendar) (Gerry Lemcke and Michael Sturm, Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse)
Lake Bosumtwi in Ghana shows an abrupt drop of 30m in lake level below today's level around 2200 BC. Its previous level is not exactly known, but had for 3000 to 4000 years been at least 60m higher than today. (Rhodes Fairbridge et al., Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse).
The following model has been set forth by Courty and Weiss in The Scenario of Environmental Degradation in the Tell Leilan Region, NE Syria, During the Late Third Millennium Abrupt Climate Change (Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse).
1. Large-scale climatic disturbances caused by
2. Modification of the land/sea temperature gradient in the Mediterranean basin caused by
3A. Surface cooling/increased planetary albedo (suppression of regular precipitation) and
3B. Heavy rainstorms.
4A. Increased planetary albedo is caused by radiative forcing.
4B. Heavy rainstorms are caused by cloud condensation nuclei.
5. The above sequence is caused by
5.1. Massive smoke injection and
5.2. Ash and dust fallout.
6. Extensive wildfires, unknown causes.
My suggestion for
the extensive wildfires or
the burning forests (smoke and ash)
is that they were caused
by the tremendous heat waves caused by
cosmic impacts in the Anatolian area.
The impacts themselves ejected
hot dust in the atmosphere
plus caused earthquakes and volcanic bursts.
"Near-Earth objects (NEOs) comprise a heterogeneous population of objects from a variety of sources ranging from long-period comets to the main asteroid belt. Recent dynamical results show that the orbits are chaotic, and that comets may in principle evolve into orbits similar to those of objects usually classified as asteroids (and vice-versa), and that comets and asteroids may resemble one another depending on the phase of their physical evolution and heliocentric distance."
"Test on various late Third millennium BC archaeological deposit provides evidence for the regional occurrence in northern Syria of a layer with an uncommon petrographic assemblage, dated at ca. 2350 BC. It consists of fine sand-sized, well-sorted spherules of various composition, millimetric sized fragments of a black, vesicular, amorphous material made of silicates with Mg-Ca carbonate and phosphate inclusions, ovoid micro-aggregates made of densely packed crystals and exogenous angular fragments of a coarse crystallised igneous rock. All these particles are only present in this specific layer and are finely mixed with mud-brick debris or with a burnt surface horizon in the contemporaneous soils. In occupation sequences, the layer displays an uncommon dense packing of sand-sized, very porous aggregates that suggests disintegration of the mud-brick construction by an air blast. In the virgin soil, the burnt horizon contains black soot and graphite, and appears to have been instantaneously fossilized by a rapid and uncommon colluvial wash. Occurrence in a previously recorded thick tephra deposit of particles identical to some of the mysterious layer and resemblance of its original pseudo-sand fabric with the exploded one of the mysterious layer confirms that the later is contemporaneous with the tephra deposit. ... The restricted occurrence of the [tephra deposit] suggests that the massive tephra accumulation can no longer be considered as a typical fallout derived from the dispersion of material from a terrestrial volcanic explosion. ... Origin of this mysterious phenomena still remains unsolved."
Courty continues that this new dating causes the Akkad empire sudden collapse theory, based on an abrupt climate change, to lose its basis. I see however that the evidence of a great cataclysm between 2200 BC and 2190 BC is so compelling that on this basis we can't dismiss it. On the other hand, Courty is right in her theory of a major occurrence which I would date between 2350 BC and 2340 BC. When the External Collapse Theory (ECT) was first introduced in the late 1980's or early 1990's, the proponents talked about an event ca. 2300 BC. The 1994 SIS Conference talked about a 2200 BC event. In the Cambridge Conference 1997 and elsewhere also there has been an accumulating evidence of some event around 2350 BC besides the 2200 BC event. I suggest that there really were two disparate events, a local one in Near East 2200-2190 BC and 150 years later, 2200-2190 BC, a global one.
"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, Santorini [Thera] in the Aegean, and, possibly, Hekla 3..."
I think there are good grounds to combine the 1628 BC event with Santorini/Thera, but Hekla 4 looks like a later event, ca. 2300 BC, and vice versa the 2350 BC event doesn't look like a volcanic event. Also the connection between Hekla 3 and the 1159 BC event is questionable, because of its larger context from Mycenean to Shang dynasty China.
Baillie has later come to the conclusion that only 1628 BC is volcano-based, but 2345BC and 1159BC are not.
"...Most sites in Greece (ca.260), Anatolia (ca.350), the Levant (ca.200), Mesopotamia (ca.30), the Indian subcontinent (ca.230), China (ca.20), Persia/Afghanistan (ca.50), Iberia (ca.70) which collapsed at around 2200+-200 BC, exhibit unambiguous signs of natural calamities and/or rapid abandonment. The proxy data detected in the marine, terrestrial, biological and archaeological records point to sudden ecological, climatic and social upheavals which appear to coincide with simultaneous sea- and lake-level changes, increased levels of seismic activity and widespread flood/tsunami disasters. The main problem in interconnecting this vast amount of data chronologically is the application of incoherent and imprecise dating methods in different areas of geological and climatological research..."
I would like to add Finland to this list: The population here dropped suddenly to third of its previous value sometimes between 2400 BC and 2000 BC (Turku University).
Another aspect of this is that if there ever was a real (pre)historical background for the flood- and other catastrophe stories, including Plato's Timaios and Critias and the Oera Linda book. The flood stories in Genesis, Plato and Oera Linda may have got some of their content from the evident Atlantic tsunami in 2200-2190 BC, although I consider the main flood originator both in general and especially Atrahasis/Gilgames/Genesis something that happened about 3100 BC.
So it seems that there were two separate cataclysms in the latter part of the third millennium BC.
The period of Sargon, from 2334 BC to 2279 BC, was very prosperous. Under
the reign of Naram-Sin from 2254 BC to 2218 BC everything still seemed
"normal". Akkadian Sumer was a welfare state in its own way during those
times. If the Anatolian event of 2345 BC was a local one, it neatly explains
Sargon's attack on the south of Anatolia, because of the havoc in north, and also the prosperity that followed when the highly civilized Akkadian culture moved south.
In fact before 2345 BC there was not any big difference between Northern and
Southern Mesopotamia. But when the North was in Chaos, this meant both
welfare and difficulties for the South. The population increased suddenly,
which stressed the food supply seems to have driven hungry people
still farther to the south, towards Egypt. Still Sumer prospered. But 150 years
later all this came to an abrupt end. The reign of Shar-Kali-Sharri was
interrupted suddenly into a chaos in 2193 BC .
How about Egypt? The end of the Old Kingdom of Egypt is surrounded by many
uncertainties. Modern Egyptologists originally thought that its last king
was Pepi II, whose reign began about 2250 BC. Later his reign was counted
as having lasted 90 years. Still later they added two more kings,
Intiemsaef II and Neithkeret. If we accept the original estimate that Pepi II
was the last Old Kingdom king, and if we take as a tentative theory that
the catastrophe also happened in Egypt in 2193 BC, it still gives Pepi
a reign of some 60 years.
So there seems to be a difference between the 2350 BC and 2200 BC events.
I suggest that the 2350 BC event was local, an Anatolian event, from the
Aegean to the Caspian. The 2200 BC event was global, as seen by
the evidence from Iberia to China. The Rio Cuarto impact in Argentina seems also to have happened during the latter part of the third millennium BC. Unable to destroy Tell Leilan and leave surroundings untouched, I would link it rather to the 2200 BC event. With its 50 km long and 10 km wide destruction path consisting of 11 craters (the largest one is 4.5 km long and 1.1 km wide) it must have had global consequences. Because of its different direction (nearly north to south) and different latitude of impact at 20 degrees S would however hint that it was a third and separate event during the series of catastrophes during the late third millennium BC. Be it connected to either of the mentioned cataclysms or a separate one in the late third millennium, one thing is sure: it must have had wordwide consequences, especially climatological. A flood event it was not, because it happened right in the middle of South America. But it itself was a multiple event and can have been accompanied by some debris that fall into Atl
In fact Greek mythology speaks of three flood events, of which the Ogyges and Deucalion legends are the most famous. Ogyges would then be the Anatolian event of 2345 BC and Deucalion event the global event of 2193-2194 BC. The third would be that of Atrahasis and Gilgames (the precursor for the Noachian flood) but because it happened in the first part of the unlucky third millennium BC, it is not considered here.
But let's go back to the 2200 BC event. In China a ruler named Yu, who has been praised of attempts to stop floods in China, reigned according to the standard chronology from 2205 BC to 2197 BC. The legend tells that at the time of the birth of Abra(ha)m there was a guest star (supernova). Bamboo Annals give one in 2287 BC. Again according to legend Abraham was of age 99, when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. If we take this literally we get the year 2188 BC, but of course the 99 years could also mean "nearly 100".
Marie-Agnes Court (The Soil Record of an Exceptional Event at 4000 BP in the Middle East (Natural Catastrophes During Bronze Age Civilisations, ed. Benny Peiser et al., Oxford 1998)), whose excavations at Tell Leilan in Northern Syria has led to two layers of burnt soil, whose calibrations (from radiocarbon age) yield ages of 4400-3900 BC and 4800-4300 BC, open also the above two windows. Benny Peiser ("Comparative Analysis of Late Holocene Upheaval") says that "Floodplain deposits of up to 3 metres thick and stretching up to 15 kilometres inland have been detected between Tirys and Mycenae" dated to ca. 2200-2300 BC.
Now there is a very interesting coincidence. There exists one very old
Frisian manuscript named the Oera Linda book. It was found in 1820, but
the scientific community condemned it as a forgery in 1871. We can ask
if that was too hasty a conclusion. One of the reasons the issue should
be reconsidered is that the book is some kind of a diary from the third millennium BC to about 500 BC. Right in the beginning is mentioned "The destruction of Atland" in 2194 BC. It describes the paradise before that, the year 2194 "when the bad days came", the escape of Atlanders first to Crete, where they founded their culture, the Minoan culture.
There have been excavations on the
Lisan peninsula, which nearly cuts the southern part of the Dead Sea
off from the rest of it. It is also different from the main Dead Sea in that it's mean depth is very different from the rest of the Dead Sea, only 10 m in average. It seems that there was a great
catastrophe around 2200 BC that has destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. The surface of the Dead Sea dropped suddenly by 100m around 2200 BC (Frumkin et al., The Holocene 1.3, 1991). If
we take the story in Genesis for what it seems to indicate, size=4>the whole southern part of the Dead Sea may be an impact
crater that was caused by a cosmic disaster, one piece in the 2200 BC disaster.
Now I propose my theory: the Earth was hit in 2194 or 2193
BC by a comet which had spread into many parts, as did Comet
Shoemaker-Levy 9 which hit Jupiter in 1994 AD. The Dead Sea lies at latitude
31 degrees N, and the badly devastated Mohenjo-Daro on the shores of Indus had
a latitude of 28 degrees N. China's Yangtze area has a latitude of around
30 degrees. N. (Impact latitude is stable, longitude varies, such as it did for
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.) This latitude is also the latitude between Canary Islands
and Madeira. If a great tsunami washed away one island here or had a hit
right on an island, we could have Atlantis there, somewhere between Canary Islands and Azores (or in the shallow waters outside the Iberian peninsula). Those who lived over escaped to Crete and grounded the Minoan civilization, if we are to believe the Oera Linda history.
The incidence of 2345-2344 BC may have been an Anatolian event, destroying most badly the area from Troy (IIg) to Tell Leilan. The incidence of 2194-2193 BC surely had a global frame. Mahabharata may describe what happened at Mohenjo-dara, Indus. Edda may describe what happened in the Atlantic Ocean.
Go to the
Evidence of Astronomical Aspects of Mankind's Past and Recent Climate Homepage
The Thera explosion was in 1628BC, same time as the Exodus. Thera was their "Staff by day, torch by night."
Tree rings and Ice Cores proved that wrong, when on for quite a while if I remember right, 10/15 years.
Yup. FReeper LostTribe and I still occassionally fuss about the 1628BC date for Exodus.
One of the reasons that the population of Europe was hit so hard by the Black Plague was that is was not healthy, there was a shortage of most of the above. Then after the plague hit the Little Ice age set in which reduced the area under cultivation, took centuries to recover.
The western Roman Empire had a problem with a shrinking population and a reduction of cultivated land starting in about 200, plague (?) they can't find enough bodies to match the stories. Samething with the plague in Justinians' time (532), no bones. As Blam speculated there is evidence of and impact of some sort around that time.
400-425 AD Gohnerrhea (sp).
750 AD The plague
Around there I woulds imagine. In the Domesday Book the town that my family originated in had a population of 250, that was in 1068, in 1279 the population was about 1500 with about the same area.
I do think though that small pox was a symptom of decline reather than a cause.
Developing a species that MIGHT be capable of protecting the Earth from big nasty rocks is the Earth's survival strategy.