We know that there was some kind of civilization around at the end of the last Ice Age, about 12,000 years ago. We’ve found thier stone works. There was also the Atlantis Myth, that said it was located outside the gates, and surrounded by ice. So can we make any “good guesses” about what the world of civilization looked like then? Where there might be artifacts to be found?
has an interesting set of graphs and some speculation wrapped around it. First up, their idea about what the “livable” places would have been in the cradle of civilization:
I think this is a bit pessimistic. The text says:
Glaciers of about 20,000 years ago are shown in dark blue, blue, and light blue in this map from The Times Atlas of World History (Times Books (4th ed) 1993). Red shows the extended land area due to low sea levels about 20,000 years ago, and green and yellow show areas favorable for human habitation in wet and dry periods, respectively. The two turqouise squares show the locations of the Sphinx-Giza complex at the mouth of the Nile River, at the intersection of the favorable Asian and African areas, and Gora Belukha in Central Asia, which may be known in China as Kunlun Shan, home of Xi Wang Mu, the Queen of the West, and in India as Su Meru, home of Indra.
First off, people live in a whole lot of different kinds of places. Neanderthals lived up close and personal with the ice, and if the moderns were not “in their face” then, would have not gone extinct / merged with moderns. Second, take a look at that coastal area. We are pretty sure there was a city in the Indus area of India in that red. We know folks have been living in coastal areas for tens of thousands of years before this map. IMHO, there’s a LOT more of that area that is livable.
Per Atlantis, it must be found near ice with a circular harbor (per Solon from the Egyptian Priest story). Only two places look possible. In the area where Italy joins the alps, if those glaciers reach the sea on the west side. (The east side is a long low valley. Likely a very good place for some underwater archeology…) and outside the Med. Sea up toward what would become Britain. Nowhere else has the requisite ice meeting the sea.
Notice that the Persian Gulf has become a nice flat plain. That matches with the Biblical story about an ‘Eden’ being flooded out. By this time, early humans had already made it to Australia some 30,000 years before, so that entire coastal area was likely occupied, IMHO.
The Nile, then, was not the same as now (it’s done a whole lot of eroding since then, for one thing); but I would expect there to still be livable and near any river. Their “green” for when dry and “yellow” when wet is a bit, um, restrictive too IMHO. The tropics have species that are frost tender with consistent water demands, and didn’t go extinct, while there are clear differences of European vs Asian vs African species showing long separation between them (so long periods of isolated livable areas).
With all that said, I think the map does have some merit. That green swath over Turkey / the Levant is where most genetic studies find the origin for European genetic types. It is also likely the reason we find 12,000 year old carved stones in the middle of it.
Their other map shows 18,000 years ago, and a global view.
Their text says:
At the peak of glaciation, about 18,000 years ago, sea level was about 85 meters lower than it is now (which is about 50 meters lower than it was when the Ice Age ended about 11,600 years ago).
At 18,000 years ago, the Earth looked like this map from Earth and Life Through Time, by Steven Stanley, (Freeman (2nd ed) 1989):
85 meters or about 250 feet down. Look for old coastline and excavate it…
Looks like Chile, Argentina, and a lot of Peru and Bolivia “have issues”… Canada, of course, is toast. Russia does better than I’d expected. The northern Germanic nations of the EU are done for… (which likely explains why we have a demonstrable migration of Germanics into that area and Celts into the Gaulish / British areas as the ice left.) The Desert Southwest of the USA and Mexico do nicely. Australia too. Lots of the ‘outback’ gets some life.
It also looks like there is a fair amount of Steppe and Savannah in areas the other map does not flag as ‘livable’. People do rather well in Steppe and Savannah… It looks like a clear path “out of Africa” along the coast to the Red Sea and along the Nile to the Levant. We can also see why historically the “European” types of Hungary and the Tocharians were doing just fine in Asia. The Asian type originated in South East Asia. The “European” type was actually a Levant / West & South Asia type.
As we enter into the next Ice Age Glacial, it looks like the Canadians need to head south fairly fast. (I suggest Florida or Mexico) and it looks like the Germanics get screwed. From Switzerland to Norway, England to Prussia. Ice. I suggest Australia, Florida, or Brazil… ( I expect Russia and the Chinese will be ‘busy’ with each other…) It also looks like the “Islamic World” stays about the same. North African / Arabian sand, Indonesian jungle.
Turkey is interesting. It shows why so many “European” ethnic groups have roots reaching back to Anatolia / Turkey. Celts, Slavics, and more. That was the best place north of Africa. Lots of coastline, warm enough, but with water.
Interesting to note that Japan does well too, but gets reconnected to the mainland. Alaska rejoins Asia and gets an ice barrier to the “lower 48″.
The good thing is that we’ve got a few thousand years just to get started on the ice, and then about 80,000 more years to build up to full thickness. So “no hurry” on the passport ;-)
It does look to me like Turkey, offshore of Atlantic France and South England would be interesting places to survey for ruins. Offshore India near historic rivers and at the bottom of the Persian Gulf as well. It also looks like attempting to “preserve” Canada as pristine is a bit silly. Go ahead and mine and extract the tar sands. It’s going under ice for 100,000 years in about 2000 years (hopefully not less…)
All in all, an Ice Age is worse for us than what we have now; since the large amount of land very far north nets buried in ice, and the added land around the edges is smaller. There are a lot of areas that become more ‘marginal’. Colder. Drier. Most likely it will be a reduction in carry capacity of the Earth. I hope that 2000 years from now we’re already leaving this planet for space colonies. The alternative is likely a “getting close” in the tropics with a whole lot of technological food growing (nuclear greenhouses).
At any rate, that’s what I’m seeing in those maps. Where we were, and where we return in a couple of thousand years.