High-resolution Bronze Age palaeoenvironmental change in the eastern Mediterranean: exploring the links between climate and societies.

Calian Hazell*, Matthew Pound, Emma Hocking

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Bronze Age archaeological records from the eastern Mediterranean identify two periods of widespread so-called societal “collapse” between ca. 4.50 – ca. 4.20 cal ka BP and ca. 3.50 – ca. 2.80 cal ka BP respectively, which have been linked to a number of proposed causes, including climate change. However, the role of climate change in the “collapse” of eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age societies has been questioned due to the resolution of climate proxy records. In this paper we present a regional synthesis of the highest resolution palaeoclimate records and compare these to archaeological evidence. By recalibrating radiocarbon dates onto a consistent timescale and using pollen, oxygen and carbon isotopes from both marine and terrestrial deposits, we reconstruct aridity at a 50-year resolution. Our results challenge a simple “climate destroyed society” hypothesis. Instead, we find a more complex record of changing aridity and societal response and provide a nuanced perspective on climate versus non-climate causes of Bronze Age societal “collapse” events. Our results have implications for the generation of palaeoclimate records aimed at exploring links between climate and societal change, emphasising the need for high resolution records proximal to archaeological sites.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPalynology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 13 Apr 2022

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