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The Late Bronze Age Dark Age

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  • jdcroft@yahoo.com
    I have spoken repeatedly on this list server about the Late Bronze Age Dark Ages which broke upon the world in the period between the accession of Merenptah
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2001
      I have spoken repeatedly on this list server about the Late Bronze Age
      Dark Ages which broke upon the world in the period between the
      accession of Merenptah and death of Rameses III. This was a period of
      unmittigated environmental, social and political disaster that saw the
      death of millions. Any account of Ancient History which leaves this
      disaster out, or tries by chronological sleight of hand to make it go
      away, in the future, I believe, will be seen as erronious and

      This dark ages explains the inflation of crop prices by 500% in
      Rameses III's Egypt as well as the decision by that Pharaoh to let
      captive peoples within the Egyptian state leave. It explains the
      stories of the famines that drove Jacob and Abram to Egypt. It
      explains stories of volcanic pillars of cloud and fire. It explains
      the collapse of Mesopotamian civilisation, the disappearance of the
      Hittites and the Mycenaeans. It equally explains the collapse of the
      Shang Dynasty in China, and the rise of the barbarian Chou

      The stories of the Old Testament and later Greek myths were fashioned
      out of dimly remembered events of this disaster. Cropping collapsed
      over large areas of the Eastern Mediterranean, economic refugees
      sought to move down the Tigris and Euphrates and down the Levantine
      Coast and across the Libyan Coast to Egypt to stay alive.

      It was not the only time in history that such a collection of events
      has occurred. I post the attached article to show some of the kinds
      of events we can associate with this catastrophe.

      I would be interested on what others think



      The dark ages may have really been dimmer
      Contact: John Webster, webster@..., (505) 667-5543

      LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Dec. 17, 2000 -- The beginning of the Dark Ages may
      have been literal, as well as figurative, as the result of a massive
      volcanic eruption in the 6th century, according to a volcanologist at
      the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory.

      Ken Wohletz said an eruption in the Indonesian archipelago could have
      produced a 150-meter-thick cloud layer over the entire Earth,
      triggering a chain of climatic, agricultural, political and social
      changes that ushered in the Dark Ages.

      Evidence supporting the catastrophe includes tree-ring and ice-core
      measurements, indications of a huge underwater caldera, and ash and
      pumice in the same area, said Wohletz, who discusses his work modeling
      such an eruption today (Dec. 17) at the fall meeting of the American
      Geophysical Union.

      The 6th century was a turbulent, unsettling period in human history.
      The Roman Empire began to fall; nomads of central Asia migrated to
      Europe and the Near East; civilizations in Persia, Indonesia and South
      America collapsed; major religions experienced considerable change as
      natural events were viewed as omens.

      Many of these social transformations resulted from widespread crop
      failures and the explosion of plague around the globe, which in turn
      were caused by major climatic changes, Wohletz said. Beginning in
      about the year 535, according to historical and archeological records,
      the weather was colder and drier, sunlight diminished, snow fell in
      summer and regions of persistent drought suffered floods.

      Wohletz was a resource for a book postulating that the climate changes
      resulted from a huge volcanic eruption. The book, "Catastrophe: A
      Quest for the Origins of the Modern World" by David Keys, was
      published earlier this year.

      Wohletz said he worked with Keys to try to identify a volcano that
      could produce such dramatic climate change. "We came up with an
      eruption that would certainly be the largest in recorded history, some
      four or five times bigger than the (1815) eruption of Tambora, which
      is usually considered the biggest eruption in the past few millennia,"
      he said.

      Such an explosion, he said, would eject some 200 cubic kilometers of
      material, and one-third to one-half of it would be lofted into the
      stratosphere, where it would remain suspended for months to years
      while being carried around the globe.

      "It would have produced enough dust and water vapor (in the form of
      ice crystals) to form a cloud layer 150 meters thick over the entire
      globe, and that's a conservative estimate," he said, adding that a
      cloud of particles that thick may have diminished the transmission of
      sunlight by as much as 50 percent.

      Wohletz said tree-ring data collected around the world and ice-core
      measurements in Greenland and Antarctica support the possibility of a
      huge eruption in the 6th century. Ocean depth measurements between
      Sumatra and Java ­ where Krakatoa exploded in a well known 1883
      eruption ­ indicate the presence of a caldera up to 50 kilometers in
      diameter, and a recent survey uncovered evidence of ash and pumice
      layers formed in the area during the appropriate time frame.

      Under a likely scenario, a large volcano, which Wohletz calls
      proto-Krakatoa, connected the islands of Sumatra and Java. When it
      erupted and then subsided, it created the Sundra Strait and left a
      ring of smaller volcanoes, including the present day Krakatoa. The
      ash, dust and water vapor blown into the stratosphere would disperse
      across both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

      "This volcano would have had the potential to be a major player in
      destabilizing the climate around the world," he said. "An eruption
      that couldproduce a caldera 50 kilometers across would have been big

      Although definitive evidence for such a catastrophic eruption has not
      been discovered, the possibility deserves a full-scale field study,
      Wohletz said, in part because of the potential impact on the world if
      another such catastrophe happens.

      "(Key's book) is the first detailed account of how closely humanity is
      linked to the natural world," he said. "If the natural world goes
      through some large upheaval, we'll all be affected."
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