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Noah's Ark flood spurred European farming

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« on: November 17, 2007, 09:48:45 pm »

Noah's Ark flood spurred European farming

By Michael Kahn


A Greenpeace volunteer ends the day's work during sunset as they build a modern day version of the legendary Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat, eastern Turkey, May 21, 2007 as part of a project to draw attention to global warming. An ancient flood some say could be the origin of the story of Noah's Ark may have helped the spread of agriculture in Europe 8,300 years ago by scattering the continent's earliest farmers, researchers said on Sunday. (Fatih Saribas/Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) - An ancient flood some say could be the origin of the story of Noah's Ark may have helped the spread of agriculture in Europe 8,300 years ago by scattering the continent's earliest farmers, researchers said on Sunday.

Using radiocarbon dating and archaeological evidence, a British team showed the collapse of the North American ice sheet, which raised global sea levels by as much as 1.4 meters, displaced tens of thousands of people in southeastern Europe who carried farming skills to their new homes.

The researchers said in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews their study provides direct evidence linking the flood that breached a ridge keeping the Mediterranean apart from the Black Sea to the rise of farming in Europe.

"The flooding of the Black Sea was not well dated but we got it down to about 50 years," said Chris Turney, a geologist at the University of Exeter, who led the study. "As soon as the flooding is done, farming goes crazy across Europe."

The researchers created reconstructions of the Mediterranean and Black Sea shoreline before and after the rise in sea levels. They estimated the flood covered some 73,000 square kilometers over a 34-year period, causing mass displacement of people.

Previous archaeological evidence has shown communities in the region were already farming when the flood hit. The Exeter team suggests the mass migration caused a sudden expansion of farming and pottery production across the continent.

"We looked at all the earliest data on farming in Europe and we found a little bit of farming in Greece and the Balkans just before the flood," Turney said in a telephone interview. "When the flood happened, farming seemed to stop but it was re-established a generation later across Europe."

The researchers believe these people took their skills to new areas previously populated by hunters and gatherers where there had been no evidence of farming, Turney said.

The study also underscores the potential impact rising sea levels may have in the future, the researchers said. An expected one meter rise by the end of the century due to climate change would displace some 145 million people, Turney added.

It also paints a picture of the kind of mass disruption that has prompted some scientists to link the ancient flood to the origins of the biblical story of Noah's Ark, Turney said.

"When the Black Sea flooded at end of last ice age some people have suggested it was the origins of the Noah's Ark myth," he said. "If you lived in that basin it would have seemed like the whole world had flooded."

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Catherine Evans)

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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2007, 08:45:27 pm »

Catastrophic early Holocene sea level rise, human migration and the Neolithic transition in Europe

Chris S.M. Turneya
School of Geography, Archaeology and Earth Resources, University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4RJ, UK
Heidi Brown
GeoQuEST Research Centre, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia


The collapse of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and release of freshwater 8740–8160 years ago abruptly raised global sea levels by up to 1.4 m. The effect on human populations is largely unknown. Here we constrain the time of the main sea level rise and investigate its effect on the onset of the Neolithic across Europe. An analysis of radiocarbon ages and palaeo-shoreline reconstruction supports the hypothesis that flooding of coastal areas led to the sudden loss of land favoured by early farmers and initiated an abrupt expansion of activity across Europe, driven by migrating Neolithic peoples.


The spread of farming in Europe, Caucasia and Asia, as well as the highlands of Africa and Meso-America (!) started some 9.000 years ago.

The first seeds of an agri culture are found a few generations after the crack-down of the Scandinavian ice-sheet, 10.000 BP. Though, the spread throughout Europe and America was still halted by the cold interface caused by the crack-up of the ice-sheets of N America.

When these enormous ice-massives started to crack, move and crack up the speed of the melting was rapidly accelerating. Helped by the saline ocean the melt-down became ABRUPTLY fast, some 8.700 BP.

So - as the ice melted to water, where did the all that stored coldness go?
Into the ocean water AND the immediate atmosphere, of course - releasing the final "rush" of ice-time throughout the melting-zone.

By 8.000 BP the meltdown had been accumulated and a new and more stable thermic balance were established around the northern hemisphere. 500 years later the temperatures of north Scandinavia and Greenland had risen to a level 2,3 Celsius HIGHER than today.

In the period between 7.500 BP and 2.500 BP this temperate climate endured. Then we have had a stepwise drop in temperature, that culiminated 650 years ago. In 1350-55 the temperature of N Europe were at its all-time LOW since the end of ice-time.

During the 18th century the temperature gradually increased, although there were small set-backs as late as 1876. Since then the temperature have risen slowly until the middle of last century. After WWII the temperature-rise has boosted - and today we seem to be heading back to the lush climate of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, when local truffles and sparkling grape-wine was enjoyed along the coast of Norway...


Thus  may stress that main reason for the spread of agriculture in Europe and Caucasia were the rising temperature and the melting of the enormous fields of Eur-Asia that used to be glaciers, tundra, taiga or permafrost...

The rise in water observed by the present reporters tells an important story about the effects of rapid melt-downs. It further confirms the preceding observations of a major melt-down causing the end of ice-time. Which ignites the spread of agriculture - throughout Europe as well as the highlands of Asia and Africa...

Though; the 1,4 meter rise of the sea-level hardly explains anything about the origin or the spreading-pattern of agriculture. If we look around the area of the Black Sea we find that even locally the RAPID spread of agriculture - throughout Egypt, Greece, Caucasus, Mesopotamia, NW India AND Europe - started and developed long with the "climatic optimum" - 7.500 to 2.500 BP.

And - it's still funny how the authors of the report find it relevant to head-line a connection between:

1) the final end of ice-time
2) the story of Noa
3) the spread of agriculture

I heard that explicit connection explained before, somewhere...
« Last Edit: November 20, 2007, 09:58:50 pm by Boreas » Report Spam   Logged

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