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News: Comet theory collides with Clovis research, may explain disappearance of ancient people
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Author Topic: THE SAHARA  (Read 4036 times)
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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2009, 08:59:07 am »

It happened elsewhere, too, around the same time—about 5800 years ago.

When the rains failed decade after decade in Mesopotamia, small farming villages were devastated. Dense populations in a landscape with minimal carrying capacity forced the intensification of cropping and food storage—and the first appearance of bureaucracies to enforce equal distribution and protection.

Temples, city walls and other public works followed.

“The villages had coalesced into cities,” writes Brian Fagan, emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of California and one of the world’s leading archeological writers. “By 3100 BC, the southern cities had become the world’s first civilization. Ur became the hallmark of Mesopotamian civilization.”

In his recent book 'The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization', he tells the story of human adaptation to the demands and challenges of ever-changing climate.

“Fagan might be more positive than I am about this innovation, casting it as a creative response to crisis,” says Brooks. “I see it more as a last resort, something that people found themselves doing without ever intending to—not that Fagan would argue that people ever planned to become civilized.”

Brooks says in Western Sahara there isn’t yet enough information to develop a narrative equivalent to that of Mesopotamia, but he wants to test the hypothesis that the social changes indicated by the arrival of cattle herding and the building of monuments paralleled, and were in large part a response to, changes in climate, especially desertification.

“In particular, we want to know whether these developments postdated those in the rest of the Sahara,” he says. “And if so, whether there is any evidence that western Sahara acted as a refuge
for those feeling aridity in parts of the Sahara to the east, where desertification was more advanced.”
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