The impact of rapid climate change on prehistoric societies during the Holocene in the Eastern Mediterranean

Weninger, Bernhard, Clare, Lee, Rohling, Eelco, Bar-Yosef, Ofer, Boehner, Utz, Budja, Mihael, Bundschuh, Manfred, Feurdean, Angelica, Gebe, Hans Georg, Joeris, Olaf, Lindstaedter, Jörg, Mayewski, Paul, Muehlenbruch, Tobias, Reingruber, Agathe, Rollefson, Gary, Schyle, Daniel, Thissen, Laurens, Todorova, Henrieta and Zielhofer, Christoph (2009) The impact of rapid climate change on prehistoric societies during the Holocene in the Eastern Mediterranean. Documenta Praehistorica, 36, 7-59. (doi:10.4312/dp.36.2).


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In this paper we explore the impact of Rapid Climate Change (RCC) on prehistoric com- munities in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Early and Middle Holocene. Our focus is on the so- cial implications of the four major climate cold anomalies that have recently been identified as key time-windows for global RCC (Mayewski et al. 2004). These cooling anomalies are well-dated, with Greenland ice-core resolution, due to synchronicity between warm/cold foraminifera ratios in Medi- terranean core LC21 as a proxy for surface water temperature, and Greenland GISP2 non sea-salt (nss) [K+] ions as a proxy for the intensification of the Siberian High and for polar air outbreaks in the northeast Mediterranean (Rohling et al. 2002). Building on these synchronisms, the GISP2 age- model supplies the following precise time-intervals for archaeological RCC research: (i) 8.6–8.0 ka, (ii) 6.0–5.2 ka, (iii) 4.2–4.0 ka and (iv) 3.1–2.9 ka calBP. For each of these RCC time intervals, based on detailed 14C-based chronological studies, we investigate contemporaneous cultural developments. From our studies it follows that RCC-related climatic deterioration is a major factor underlying so- cial change, although always at work within a wide spectrum of social, cultural, economic and reli- gious factors.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.4312/dp.36.2
Additional Information: (Neolithic Studies 16)
ISSNs: 1854-2492 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Q Science > QE Geology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
ePrint ID: 73088
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:05

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