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Catastrophes and Prehistory

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Author Topic: Catastrophes and Prehistory  (Read 6843 times)
Troy Exeter
Superhero Member
Posts: 2113

« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2007, 10:43:24 pm »

The Climax of a Turbulent Millennium:

Evidence for Major Impact Events in the late Third Millennium BC

Timo Niroma, Helsinki, Finland

The First Intermediate Period
The Curse of Akkad
Troy IIg
Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse
Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations
Two separate cataclysms
Sodom and Gomorrah
Where did the impacts occur?


The First Intermediate Period

Selections from "The Egyptians" by C. Aldred (London 1987).

"At this distance of time, the overthrow of the Old Kingdom at

the end of the Sixth Dynasty has all the appearance of being sudden

and complete.

"Recent research has attributed the abrupt nature of the collapse

to contemporary changes in the climate of Africa and the Near East.

With the cessation of the Neolithic Wet Phase about 2350 BC, the

spectre of famine begins to haunt the region. An isolated block from

the Unas Causeway, showing piteously emaciated people weakened by

famine and dying of hunger, is an early portent of the evils to

come. Egypt was protected from the worst of such irregular

calamities by its unique irrigation system. It is fairly evident,

however, that a change in the pattern of monsoon rains falling on

the Abyssinian plateau could lead to a series of low Niles. Hot

winds from the south apparently accompanied this climatic

aberration. There are veiled references to the sun being

obscured by dust storm: 'the sun is occluded and will not shine that

men may see... none may know that it is midday, and the sun will

cast no shadow.' The high winds assisted the denudation by creating

dust bowls and shifting sand dunes on to the cultivation. The whole

political and economic system of Egypt would have been discredited

in a very short time. The king-lists refer to many pharaohs during

the three decades of the Seventh and Eighth Dynasties, each ruling

for a year or two and disappearing without trace.

"In these conditions, 'when the Nile was empty and men crossed

over it on foot', Egypt splintered into a number of feudal states.

There are cryptic references in the meagre records that have

survived to marauding bands of starving people searching for food in

more favoured localities.

"In the 20th century BC the local governors took what measures

were open to them to succour their own districts, by conserving

water supplies, and reducing the number of hungry mouths by driving

out famine-stricken invaders, whether natives, Libyans or Asiatics,

from their provinces. The internecine strife further restricted the

areas of cultivation; and the perils of these times are reflected in

the boasts of the local rulers on their crude tomb stelae. The

cataclysm is plain for all to see. The monuments of the period are

very sparse and mere feeble copies of the Memphite style of the

past. The widespread civil disorder is evident in the decoration of

the crude model funerary boats, hacked out of the local wood. All

were afraid when they beheld smoke arising in the south. Macabre

reminders of the civil strife of these days are the bodies of some

sixty shock troops who were accorded an honoured mass-burial at

Thebes. Their wounds showed that they had fallen in the desperate

storming of some key fortress.

"Famine in their own lands always drove Libyans and the bedouin of

Sinai and the Negeb to graze their flocks on the borders of the

Delta in the manner of Abraham and Jacob. The evils caused by

famine, poverty, social upheaval and anarchy brought others in their

train such as plague and sterility. A deep and lasting impression

was left on the ancient Egyptians by the trauma of these times, so

that in later literary works, such as the Prophecy of Neferti and

the Admonitions of Ipuwer, when the writer wished to depict mankind

tormented by intolerable miseries, it was the sufferings of this

period that he recalled."

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