I’ve been meaning to get a nice organized posting done on this for about two weeks. The windows lay open in my browser to remind me…
I’ve not gotten to it.
So I’m going to toss a couple of bits at the wall here, mostly just to remind me to “Dig Here!” some more.
What’s this about? It’s about history. Very long term history. Things it can tell us, in some detail, if we only look. Mostly it’s about the fact that Climate Has Changed, and often very dramatically, all on it’s own. There is no way to disambiguate any change today from any natural changes. Changes in the past have been spectacular compared with our near rock solid stability of today. So, given that, what can really be said about “Climate Change” other than “It is, it has been, it always will be; and it has nothing to do with us as causal.”
With that, the ‘notes’ splattered on the wall…
We’ve met these folks before, in a wide ranging cruise through all of history. At some point I want to dig a bit more into their history. It looks to be very interesting. They, to some extent, overlap the Egyptian Empire. Starting about 2334 BC, falling in 2154 BC, per the Wiki.
They were from down near the Babylonians, in Iraq. After their fall, the Hittites take over some of their role.
The Akkadians spoke a Semitic language, the Hittites an early Indo-European one. The Hittites were from the area of Turkey. They were busy from the time of the 14th century BC on to about 1180 BC.
So why do these long dead empires matter? Because they likely fell due to “Climate Change”. One in 2150 BC, the other in 1180 BC, about a thousand years apart. Each a well respected civilization. Very different languages and customs. Somewhat different technologies (Hittites made a fine war chariot…)
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia. They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c. the 14th century BC, encompassing a large part of Anatolia, north-western Syria about as far south as the mouth of the Litani River (in present-day Lebanon), and eastward into upper Mesopotamia. The Hittite military made successful use of chariots. By the mid-14th century BC (under king Suppiluliuma I) carving out an empire that included most of Asia Minor as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia. After c. 1180 BC, the empire disintegrated into several independent “Neo-Hittite” city-states, some surviving until the 8th century BC.
Their Hittite language was a member of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family. Natively, they referred to their land as Hatti, and to their language as Nesili (the language of Nesa). The conventional name “Hittites” is due to their initial identification with the Biblical Hittites in 19th century archaeology. Despite the use of “Hatti”, the Hittites should be distinguished from the Hattians, an earlier people who inhabited the same region until the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC, and spoke a non-Indo-European language known as Hattic.
Although belonging to the Bronze Age, the Hittites were forerunners of the Iron Age, developing the manufacture of iron artifacts from as early as the 14th century BC, when letters to foreign rulers reveal the latter’s demand for iron goods.
Chariots and iron workers. My kind of folks… I do have to wonder if the vanished Hittites ended up forming the basis from which some of the Celts of Anatolia and other areas nearby grew… but I digress… (If only we could find a Hittite Bagpipe ;-)
So why did the Hittites get to take over from the Akkadians? What lets one empire grow by turning another to dust?
Perhaps the winds and rains, or the lack of them.
The Akkadian Empire (Akkadian URUAkkad KI, Hittite KUR A.GA.DÈ.KI “land of Akkad”; Biblical Hebrew אַכַּד Akkad) was an empire centered in the city of Akkad (Sumerian: Agade) and its surrounding region in Mesopotamia.
During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism. Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as a spoken language somewhere around the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate).
Akkad reached its political peak between the 24th and 22nd centuries BC, following the conquests of king Sargon of Akkad (2334–2279 BC), often referred to as Sargon the Great. Under Sargon and his successors, Akkadian language was briefly imposed on neighboring conquered states such as Elam. Akkad is sometimes regarded as the first empire in history, though there are earlier Sumerian claimants.
We all know that Sumer was a great state, and the blending of the Sumerians with the Akkadians is not that surprising. Both were linguistically similar. Both had cultural similarities.
A well situated empire, well connected, working well with it’s neighbors. What could go wrong? They had been around since the early 3rd millennium BC.
Semitic speakers of the Akkadian language seem to have already been present in Mesopotamia at the dawn of the historical period, and soon achieved preeminence with the first Dynasty of Kish and numerous localities to the north of Sumer, where rulers with Semitic Akkadian names had already established themselves by the 3rd millennium BC. Sargon has often been cited as the first ruler of a combined empire of Akkad and Sumer, although more recently discovered data suggests there had been Sumerian expansions under previous kings, including Lugal-Anne-Mundu of Adab, Eannatum of Lagash, and Lugal-Zage-Si.
How can you hang around for a thousand years, then suddenly go “poof!”. It’s not like you haven’t had time to get good at dealing with the neighbors… (Though the “empire” stage was much shorter).
During the Akkadian period, the Akkadian language became the lingua franca of the Middle East, and was officially used for administration, although the Sumerian language remained as a spoken and literary language. The spread of Akkadian stretched from Syria to Elam, and even the Elamite language was temporarily written in Mesopotamian cuneiform. Akkadian texts later found their way to far-off places, from Egypt (in the Amarna Period) and Anatolia, to Persia (Behistun).
Well? How can you go from cultural Top Dog to footnote of history so fast?
Collapse of the Akkadian Empire
The Empire of Akkad collapsed in 2154 BC, within 180 years of its founding, ushering in a period of regional decline that lasted until the rise of the Sumerian Third Dynasty of Ur in 2112 BC. By the end of the reign of Naram-Sin’s son, Shar-kali-sharri (2217–2193 BC), the empire had weakened. There was a period of anarchy between 2192 BC and 2168 BC. Shu-Durul (2168–2154 BC) appears to have restored some order, however he was unable to prevent the empire eventually collapsing outright from the invasion of barbarian peoples from the Zagros Mountains known as the Gutians.
Little is known about the Gutian period, or how long it endured. Cuneiform sources suggest that the Gutians’ administration showed little concern for maintaining agriculture, written records, or public safety; they reputedly released all farm animals to roam about Mesopotamia freely, and soon brought about famine and rocketing grain prices. The Sumerian king Ur-Nammu (2112–2095 BC) cleared the Gutians from Mesopotamia during his reign.
It has recently been suggested that the regional decline at the end of the Akkadian period (and First Intermediary Period of the Ancient Egyptian Old Kingdom) was associated with rapidly increasing aridity, and failing rainfall in the region of the Ancient Near East, caused by a global centennial-scale drought.
Drought that sends your population into anarchy and drives barbarian neighbors into your cities would kind of do that to you…
“Centenial-scale drought”. Hmmm… Must have been horse farts from all those chariots…
Evidence from Tell Leilan in Northern Mesopotamia shows what may have happened. The site was abandoned soon after the city’s massive walls were constructed, its temple rebuilt and its grain production reorganised. The debris, dust and sand that followed show no trace of human activity. Soil samples show fine wind-blown sand, no trace of earthworm activity, reduced rainfall and indications of a drier and windier climate. Evidence shows that skeleton-thin sheep and cattle died of drought, and up to 28,000 people abandoned the site, seeking wetter areas elsewhere. Tell Brak shrank in size by 75%. Trade collapsed. Nomadic herders such as the Amorites moved herds closer to reliable water suppliers, bringing them into conflict with native Akkadian farmers. This climate-induced collapse seems to have affected the whole of the Middle East, and to have coincided with the collapse of the Egyptian Old Kingdom.
This collapse of rain-fed agriculture in the Upper Country meant the loss to southern Mesopotamia of the agrarian subsidies which had kept the Akkadian Empire solvent. Water levels within the Tigris and Euphrates fell 1.5 metres beneath the level of 2600 BC, and although they stabilised for a time during the following Ur III period, rivalries between pastoralists and farmers increased. Attempts were undertaken to prevent the former from herding their flocks in agricultural lands, such as the building of a 180 km (112 mi) wall known as the “Repeller of the Amorites” between the Tigris and Euphrates under the Ur III ruler Shu-Sin. Such attempts led to increased political instability; meanwhile, severe depopulation occurred to re-establish demographic equilibrium with the less favorable climatic conditions.
It has also been recently suggested that the rapid climatic collapse, marking the Akkadian Dark Age, may have been responsible for the religiously prescribed prohibition against the raising and consumption of pigs that spread through the Ancient Middle East from the end of the third millennium BC.
So, all those doomsters are why Jews and Muslims don’t get to eat bacon, eh? Man that Climate Change does strange things to folks ;-)
So The missing bit ought to be here…
This is where I was going to do a nice bit of digging to find all the various references to a massive drought about 2150 BC to 2250 BC. I had some of them in the prior ‘sweep of history’ page. I’ve stumbled on more I didn’t track well enough. So this is a ‘someday fill it in’ bit. Suffice it to say, there are interesting things in the sediment cores from the oceans off Iraq / Saudi Arabia…
Instead, we’re going to take a short trip over to Lake Chad. Or, rather, we were. I’ve added a pretty big chunk in here, so the visit to the lake comes a bit further down than before ;-)
Some Added Bits here:
OK, I’ll likely be sticking some dribs and drabs in here for a while. This site has a particularly intriguing article:
It gives the possible causative agent as “impact events”. Plausible, as many things have repeating orbits, so a periodic return to an orbital debris field would give periodic disruptions of civilization.
Evidence for Major Impact Events in the late Third Millennium BC
Timo Niroma, Helsinki, Finland
The First Intermediate Period
The Curse of Akkad
Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse
Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations
Two separate cataclysms
Sodom and Gomorrah
Where did the impacts occur?
There is a LOT in that page, so I can only quote a ‘taster’ here. It deserves a lot more:
Paleoenvironmental Data for Abrupt Climate Change:
The Workshop on Third Millennium BC Climate Change
and Old World Collapse
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.
So first off, I’ve now got another book I want… Someone has written a whole book on my current muse, how convenient ;-)
Second, looks like I need to widen my scope to include the Indus Valley too.
“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.
So, lots of dust and debris. A potential for a ‘two fer’ with a few hundred years between events. Oddly, there are folks who think that Bond Event 1 started with some kind of impact (there are reports of sky glow from an eruption or impact event circa 535 AD to 540 AD). So perhaps some searching for ‘impact events’ coincident with Bond Events would be fruitful.
“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.
I would expect it to be ‘not too hard’ to date an impact crater and / or show that the southern part of the Dead Sea is, or is not, an impact site. Still, “Shades of Sodom and Gomorrah, Batman”, I mean, destruction by fire and brimstone from the sky would sure fit the bill, and the timing might even be right. At any rate, it’s an amusing speculation to dig into…
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.
Well, it does look like Indus gets in on the act too. The C13 changes are rather of interest too. Makes that whole “measure human impact by C12 / C13 ratio” thing a bit more suspect if it can jump around that much suddenly and all by it’s lonesome.
The posting goes on to look at the probability of massive wild fires and dust / ejecta and to state that the various things cataloged can be explained as sequelae of an impact event.
“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.”
Big mouthful to say, with evidence: “Big Badda Boom happened. Strange stuff burned and deposited”. Again, ought to be easy to confirm / refute. Something burned. A lot. Timo’s take?
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.
But what kinds of events? And are they, in fact, periodic?
There is some discussion of ‘narrow ring events’ in the tree record (much as for the 535-540 AD event) and for other evidence.
“…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…”
Or “Shit Happened”… quite a lot of it, it would seem. Timo adds in a comment about changes in Finland, too:
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 we’ve got a potential tsunami in the mix too. Wonder how many other histories would find a ‘problem’ in 2200 BC like the one in Finland?
Timo then goes on to include an interesting slightly speculative history of the Akkadians as a thought vehicle for supporting his ‘little then big’ bang theory.
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
I don’t know why the text cuts off at “into Atl” but it does. From there, the text moves on to recount events from China, who attempted to stop floods, and to:
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.
But the more interesting bit is a wander through an old text that is disparaged by many, with an eye to maybe it not being so bogus after all… The Frisian Oera Linda text:
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.
Odd that a disparaged text would have such a well placed date in it.
At any rate, Timo goes on to give a nicely reasoned argument for a meteor or comet impact of some sort, including the latitudes of the various places disrupted being about the same, and that an incoming body that had broken into bits would have them hitting at different longitudes, but the same latitude.
At the bottom, the page has a link to more about potential impact events in our history. Something I’ll need to explore ‘later’.
In any case, it’s an interesting possible to ponder. BUT if that event was an impact event, and similar ones happen with a periodicity… that implies there might be a debris field we regularly intercept. Are there any OTHER impact events that seem to land on top of Bond Event dates?
MORE RECENT EVIDENCE FROM LEGENDS AND MYTHS
By Edward A. Byrant
Deluge Comet Impact Event 8,200 ± 200 years ago (Kristan-Tollmann and Tollmann, 1992)
If cosmogenically generated tsunami are so rare, certainly within the timespan of human civilisation, then a paradox exists because evidence for such events certainly appears often in the geological record and in human legends.
Gee… 8200 BP. Just about on top of Bond Event 5. Just saying…
One of the more disturbing accounts has been compiled from these legends by Edith and Alexander Tollmann of the University of Vienna, who believe that a comet circling the sun fragmented into seven large bodies that crashed into the world’s oceans 8,200 ± 200 years ago. This age is based on radiocarbon dates from Vietnam, Australia and Europe. The impacts generated an atmospheric fireball that globally affected society. This was followed by a nuclear winter characterised by global cooling.
The event may well have an element of truth. Figure 8.9 plots the location of the seven impact sites derived from geological evidence and legends. Two of these sites, in the Tasman and North Seas, have been identified as having mega-tsunami events around this time. The North Sea impact centre corresponds with the location of the Storegga slides described in Chapter 6. Here, the main tsunami took place 7,950 ±190 years ago. One of the better dates comes from wood lying above tektites in a sand dune along the South Coast of Victoria, Australia. The tektites are associated with the Tasman Sea impact and date at 8,200 ±250 years before present. These dates place the Deluge Comet impact event–a term used by the Tollmanns–around 6200 BC. This event does not stand alone during the Holocene. It has been repeated in recent times–a fact supported by Maori and Aborigine legends from New Zealand and Australia.
A fascinating retelling of New Zealand place names and Maori legend follows, all of it pointing to an airburst event of some kind with fire and destruction. Well worth the read, but a bit too much to quote. The Maori legends say this was the event that led the Moa to extinction.
The age when these fires occurred can be determined by radiocarbon dating wood debris from the fires. The dating evidence comes from two sources: buried wood and carbon derived from unconformal layers in swamps and bogs that have been interrupted as fire-induced. These dates traditionally have been interpreted as reflecting the time of deforestation due to Maori occupation in New Zealand. However, many of the dates come from uninhabitable high country that was burnt on a vast scale. The distribution of dates is plotted in Figure 8.3 and spans at least two centuries, with the ages peaking at the beginning of the Fifteenth Century. This wide range in dates is logical knowing that mature trees, already hundreds of years old, burnt. The crucial point is that few ages occur after the Fifteenth Century. The Fires of Tamaatea legend may well have a cosmogenic origin. The peak in dates is synchronous with the highest number of meteor sightings by Chinese and Japanese astronomers for the past two thousand years (Figure 8.3). More importantly, the timing of the fires is also coherent with the occurrence of mega-tsunami along the nearby coastline of Southeast Australia.
The big deal for me isn’t that it was dated… it is that there IS a carbon layer…
A very long and interesting discussion of ‘megatsunami events’ follows. What stands out in that is this passage about debris fields:
Six separate tsunami events can be recognised over the past 8,000 years with peaks at 7500 BC, 5000 BC, 3300 BC, 500-2000 BC, AD 500 and AD 1500.
7500 BC / 9500 BP is just about Bond Event 6.
5000 BC / 7000 BP is about 1/2 way between B.E. 5 and 4.
3300 BC / 5300 BP is just 600 years before B.E. 4.
500-2000 BC / 2500-4000 BP spans B.E. 2 and 3.
500 AD / 1500 BP is right about B.E. 1.
1500 AD is not too far off from the start of the Little Ice Age that starts in 1550 AD.
Not an exact match, but spooky close on many dates. Interesting also is that the text goes on to specifically address the absence of a 2300 BC and 8200 BP signature due to issues with scrubbing and preservation from other events. Those are on top of B.E. 3 and 5, more or less.
There may be more events than this; but, until further dating, it is impossible to know whether or not the broad sequence of dates between 500-2000 BC represents a single event or many. This later timespan includes an impact event in the Middle East dated around 1600 BC. Reference to fire and stones falling from the sky appear in the Bible and other manuscripts written around this time. The record, however, doesn’t show any evidence for a Bronze Age event around 2350 BC that is believed to have destroyed civilisations simultaneously in Europe, the Middle East, India and China. Nor do any of the dates cluster around the time of Tollmanns’ Deluge Comet impact event 8,200 ±200 years ago. This may be due to the poor preservation potential of shell material this old, or to the removal of such material by subsequent tsunami. However, thermoluminescence dating of sand layers deposited by tsunami, on the New South Wales South Coast, indicate that a major discontinuity in sedimentation occurred 8,700 ± 800 years ago. This hiatus is within the timespan of Tollmanns’ Deluge Comet impact event. The New South Wales event peaking in AD 1500 appears to be the largest as it is associated with overtopping of the headland, 130 m high, at Steamers Beach, Jervis Bay. Because no large tsunami has been reported along the New South Wales Coast since European settlement in 1788, the shell samples that are too young for radiocarbon dating allude to a small, but significant, tsunami event in the early Eighteenth Century.
This next bit implies that a specific patch of sky and time of year bears watching. Something to put on my ‘to do’ list:
The peak of the AD 1500 tsunami event corresponds with the largest number of meteorite observations for the past two millennia (Figure 8.3). In addition, the peak at AD 500 corresponds with a clustering of meteorite sightings that is believed by astronomers to be one of the most significant over this timespan in the Northern Hemisphere. Both of these clusterings are associated with the Taurid complex. Furthermore, the event around AD 1500 coincides with the calibrated ages for the Fires of Tamaatea across the Tasman Sea on the South Island of New Zealand. As well, the tsunami event at Atcheson Rock that accounts for the Aboriginal legend of the ocean falling from the sky occurred at this time, as does the age of the meandering backwash channels on the Shoalhaven Delta forty kilometres to the south (Figure 4.3).
The connection with the Taurid Complex reminds me of another “bull” connection to the religion of Mithras
This is reputed to have been connected with the shift of the zodiac and what that meant to ancient astronomers / astrologers (they were the same thing then) about the non-fixedness of the heavens. But perhaps it came about from a more serious issue of rocks falling from the sky and ‘Climate Chaos’…
At any rate, at this point I’m going to cut off this update since it’s reaching the point were it ought to be it’s own article…
But, suffice it to say, it’s looking like there just might be a reason to watch the Taurid Meteor Shower with an eye to a 1500 year or so “lump” in it…
And as we’ve not had a major rock fall lately, maybe we’ve not yet had Bond Event Zero ™ from it just yet…
With that, on to Lake Chad…
Much has been made about “Climate Change” causing Lake Chad to almost dry up. And it’s all our fault (or so they say). Left out is the minor detail of irrigation diverting feed waters and local land use changes. Also left out is the HISTORY of Lake Chad drying up.
Has some interesting snippets on Lake Chad. Down near the bottom we find:
Lake Chad is a historically large, shallow lake surrounded by Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria on the edge of the Sahara Desert in Africa. It is believed to be a remnant of a former inland sea which has grown and shrunk with changes in climate over the past 13,000 years.
At its largest, around 4000 BC, this lake is estimated to have covered an area of 400,000 km², (approx. 154,000 sq miles). Lake sediments appear to indicate dry periods, when the lake nearly dried up, around 8500 BC, 5500 BC, 2000 BC, and 100 BC.”
It was considered to be one of the largest lakes in the world when first surveyed by Europeans in 1823. Lake Chad has shrunk considerably since the 1960s when it had an area of more than 26,000 km², making its surface the fourth largest in Africa. An increased demand on the lake’s water from the local population has likely accelerated its shrinkage over the past 40 years.
The size of Lake Chad greatly varies seasonally with the flooding of the wetlands areas. In 1983, Lake Chad was reported to have covered 10,000 km²-25,000 km² (3,861 mi²-9652 mi²), had a maximum depth of 36 feet, and a volume of 72 km3 (17.27 mi3).
By 2000 its extent had fallen to less than 1,500 km². A 2001 study blamed the lake’s retreat largely on overgrazing in the area surrounding the lake, causing desertification and a decline in vegetation. Others claim about half of the lake’s decrease is attributable to human water use such as inefficient damming and irrigation methods. Still others blame climate change for 50 to 75 percent of the water’s disappearance. Some consider it likely that the lake will shrink further and perhaps even disappear in the course of the 21st century.
So, nice big lake in 4000 BC. Nearly dried up in 2000 BC. Hmmm… What else happened just before 2000 BC?… Oh, right, the Akkadian Empire fell during a century long drought…
I note in passing that “interesting things” may have happened in about 8500 BC (10,500 BP) and about 6000 – 5500 BC (8000-7500 BP) too. Including the fall of the Sahara as a population center with decent water and the movement of civilization of to the Nile with the founding of the Egyptian Empire(s)… The Sahara Pump theory applied to people and civilizations.
During periods of a wet or “Green Sahara”, the Sahara and Arabia become a savanna grassland and African flora and fauna become common. Following inter-pluvial arid periods, the Sahara area then reverts to desert conditions, usually as a result of the retreat of the West African Monsoon southwards. Evaporation exceeds precipitation, the level of water in lakes like Lake Chad falls, and rivers become dry wadis. Flora and fauna previously widespread as a result retreat northwards to the Atlas Mountains, southwards into West Africa, or eastwards into the Nile Valley and thence either south-east to the Ethiopian Highlands and Kenya or north-east across the Sinai into Asia. This separates populations of some of the species in areas with different climates, forcing them to adapt, possibly giving rise to allopatric speciation.
Hmmm… there’s that Lake Chad again…
So there’s a well established bit of “Climate Change” that even has the Sahara turning green and Arabia being a grassland. Followed by “inter-pluvial arid periods”. (Rather like, oh, now, for example.)
But that was tens of thousands of years ago, wasn’t it?
For many of the changes, yes. Some were more recent:
The sudden subsequent movement of the ITCZ southwards with a Heinrich event (a sudden cooling followed by a slower warming), linked to changes with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle, led to a rapid drying out of the Saharan and Arabian regions, which quickly became desert. This is linked to a marked decline in the scale of the Nile floods between 2700 and 2100 BC.
So the InterTropical Convergence Zone moved. In, what a surprise, the years leading up to 2100 BC. Rapid drying of the Sahara, Arabia (and, one presumes, some drying over in Mesopotamia as well).
How much did burning coal or oil have to do with those changes? Nil.
So today we have a drying Lake Chad. Just about on schedule from a 2000 BC, near zero BC, 2000 AD period of about 2000 years. (With untold hundreds of ‘slop’ as the lake dries) Gee, wonder if there might be some kind of cycle going on? (It would be interesting to see if there is any evidence for a 4000 BC / 6000 BP and circa 6000 BC / 8000 BP drought as well… Oh, wait, there is:
≈1,400 BP (Bond event 1) — roughly correlates with the Migration Period pessimum (450–900 AD)
≈2,800 BP (Bond event 2) — roughly correlates with the Iron Age Cold Epoch (900–300 BC)
≈4,200 BP (Bond event 3) — correlates with the 4.2 kiloyear event (correlates also with the collapse of the Akkadian Empire and the end of the Egyptian Old Kingdom)
≈5,900 BP (Bond event 4) — correlates with the 5.9 kiloyear event (correlates with the end of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, and the arrival of nomadic pastoralists in the Middle East)
≈8,100 BP (Bond event 5) — correlates with the 8.2 kiloyear event
≈9,400 BP (Bond event 6) — correlates with the Erdalen event of glacier activity in Norway, as well as with a cold event in China.
≈10,300 BP (Bond event 7) — unnamed event (correlates with the beginnings of grain agriculture in the Middle East)
≈11,100 BP (Bond event 8) — coincides with the transition from the Younger Dryas to the boreal
I’d also point out that a Heinrich Event sure sounds like what we’ve just had. “Rapid cooling followed by slow warming”. Little Ice Age to now, anyone? (Actual Heinrich Events are only known from during the last glaciation due to the need for ice rafting of debris to get into the ocean sediments that define them. I’m speculating that the process and period may continue even during interglacials and with similar climate patterns, even if there are no glacial rafted debris to make any actual Heinrich Event signature in the ocean floor. I’d further assert that they ARE Bond Events, just in a different evidentiary guise.)
Heinrich events occur during some, but not all, of the periodic cold spells preceding the rapid warming events known as Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) events, which repeat around every 1,500 years. However, difficulties in establishing exact dates cast aspersions on the accuracy—or indeed the veracity—of this statement. Some (Broecker 1994, Bond & Lotti 1995) identify the Younger Dryas event as a Heinrich event, which would make it H0.
Call them Bond Events, D-O events, Heinrich Events. It’s all a cyclical phenomenon of climate change with a long 1500 year period, just picked up in different indicators and in different glacial / interglacial regimes. SOMETHING cycles. SOMETHING has a cold excursion followed by a slow warm up. We just had a very cold excursion, followed by a slow warming. Lake Chad dries up when it happens, and Lake Chad is just about dried up. NONE of that has to do with human activity causing anything.
Yes, a lot of slop in the dates. But 5900 BP / 3900 BC is mighty close to 4000 BC (Bond Event 4). And 8100 BP / 6100 BC is mighty close to 6000 BC (Bond Event 5). Oh, and I suppose this is a decent time to point out that 1180 BC, when the Hittites fell, is mighty close to that 900 BC start date of the “Iron Age Cold Period” (Bond Event 2). Looks to me like the Hittites may have had a bit of weather trouble too… By 800 BC there were pretty much gone. Seems to match to me. I’d have no trouble at all thinking we might be off by a hundred years or so on the start / end dates of those things.
At any rate, it sure looks to me like we’ve got some pretty good evidence for a periodic “issue” with the weather / climate shifting, and in just such a way that Lake Chad periodically dries out and Empires in the Middle East fall.
What are the conditions right now in Iraq? A bit on the hot and dry side… not exactly the pastoral paradise of Biblical reports. What is Arabia like right now? Oh, a desert. Not exactly savanna. Sure looks like the same kind of thing we’ve seen happening, cyclically, in the past. So what makes this time “our fault” other than paranoia?
I still want to ‘flesh this out’ some, and I may at some future time add to this point.
But for now, what I find fascinating (and what I think this posting captures, even if not fully illuminated) is that there ARE long term climate cycles. They have nothing to do with us as CAUSE, but a lot to do with us as victim. Nature is what does it, and for reasons we do not ken, even slightly. Lake Chad is a decent barometer of where we are in that cycle, and right now it says we are in a dry phase (again, not due to US, due to nature).
The biggest questions I see are this:
Are we on the cusp of a ‘final collapse’ when we have a very cold Bond Event leading to exceptional drought? Have we just gone through the lead up phase, now waiting for the plunge? Or was that plunge the Little Ice Age, already past? I’ve not found enough resolution on D-O, Heinrich, or Bond Events to know if they have a ‘double dip’ character. If a 200 year ‘warm up’ is the exit, or just the middle before the big drop.
For Heinrich event 4, the fresh water flux has been estimated to 0.29±0.05 Sverdrup with a duration of 250±150 years (Roche et al., 2004),
250 +/- 150 years. Anywhere from 100 to 400 years long. So which is it? … My hope is that the LIA was it, and we’re done. My fear is that it ends in 2040 when the Present Grand Minimum ends and after a new Big Chill. It would be nice to have a logical and sound way to chose between those two scenarios.
It also would be nice to know if all those rock falls from space have a 200 year double dip character to them, or not. Oh, and someone really needs to point some good telescopes at the Taurids… Often, and a lot of them…
Are we able to get off this cycle due to our much better technology and mobility now, compared to then? We ship wheat from Australia to Iraq. What does it matter if regional shifts happen, as long as commerce can “fix it”?
It would be interesting to do a detailed history of the weather of Iraq and history of Lake Chad from the last 200 years; compared to similar histories from prior events, to answer the first of these. It would also be very nice to get finer resolution into the decades scale texture of Bond Events. I’d love to find that someone had dissected them to that precision, the we could say with certainty that “1800 and Froze To Death” was the depths of Bond Event Zero ™ and not just the lead up to the Big Chill still to come Real Soon Now. But until I find something with that level of detail, it’s just too coarse a reading of 1470 +/- a few hundred to make a decent call on where we are now.
Our technological flexibility will have to wait for nature to play her hand and then ‘we will see’…
In any case, it’s pretty clear that just like the Hittites, Akkadians, Egyptians, and even the Western Romans who fell about Bond Event 1, we’re just along for the ride, not driving the bus…