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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, 10:49:32 pm »

Troy IIg

Illustration from theDaimler-Benz Troy Excavations Homepage

"Oh Lord, Won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?

Quotations from SIS.

"Extensive evidence exists that Early Bronze II came to an end

some centuries before 2000 BC with general destruction and cultural

disruption throughout most of Anatolia. Mellaart in 1960:

"... the number of sites burnt or deserted has already reached

the number of 350, and in the following period not more than one out

of every four earlier settlements was inhabited, and often not more

than squatted on. Whole areas, such as the Konya Plain and the

Pisidian plains south of Burdur revert to nomadism after thousands

of years of settled agricultural life."

The EB sequence of Troy in western Anatolia is complex, and also

confused to some extent because of inadequacies in Schlieman's early

excavations. There is however strong agreement that phase IIg of

Troy was destroyed by fire at this time. In the words of the

excavator, Carl Blegen:

"The stratum of Troy IIg had an average thickness of more than

one metre; it consisted mainly of ashes, charred matter and burned

debris. This deposit apparently extended uniformly over the great

megaron and across the entire site, eloquent evidence that the

settlement perished in a vast conflagration from which no buildings

escaped ruin."

Even the stones of the walls were reddened and calcined by fire

in a destruction of fearful suddenness:

"In all areas examined by the Cincinnati expedition, it was

obvious that the catastrophe struck suddenly, without warning,

giving the inhabitants little or no time to collect and save their

most treasured belongings before they fled. All the houses exposed

were still found to contain the fire-scarred wreckage of their

furnishings, equipment, and stores of supplies. Almost every

building yielded scattered bits of gold ornaments and jewelry, no

doubt hastily abandoned in panic flight."

There were dislocated building foundations for Troy IIg which

would indicate earthquake damage. Despite the great destruction,

there is no evidence of a massacre by foreign elements; furthermore,

the same culture reoccupied the site afterwards. McQueen, a noted

archaeologist, states that Troy IIg was "destroyed by fire without

apparently the involvement of any outside enemy"."

Paleoenvironmental Data for Abrupt Climate Change:
The Workshop on Third Millennium BC Climate Change
and Old World Collapse

The following excerpts are from " Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse", ed. by Nuzhet Dalfes, George Kukla and Harvey Weiss, NATO ASI Series, Vol I 49, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997. The book is based upon Proceedings of the Workshop by that name held at Kerner, Turkey, in September 1994. Harvey Weiss from Yale University has summarized some of the data from this book in an article entitled"Late Third Millennium Abrupt Climate Change and Social Collapse in West Asia and Egypt". Citations are from H. Weiss's article (unless otherwise noted).

I begin by picking some relevant pieces which seem to support my catastrophe theory. The climate change will be discussed regarding four regions: Mesopotamia, Palestine, Egypt and Indus Valley.


"Lemcke and Sturm (Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse) document an abrupt doubling of the quartz content of [one] Lake Van core ... or a tripling in other Van sediment records (Lemcke, abstract 1994), from 4200 to 4000 BP. This spike is synchronous with initiation of the k(18)O enrichment phase at 4190 cal yr BP (Lemcke and Sturm, Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse"). As Butzer (Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse") notes, the Lemcke and Sturm oxygen isotope record from the Van varves indicates a pronounced dry spell ca. 2350-2075 BC."

"Together these suggest, with Courty (Paleorient 20, 1994), that the 2200 BC phase of decreased precipitation was synchronous with increased wind turbulence and aeolian dust transport to Lake Van. Sampling at 84 year intervals may have precluded observations of Na and Al peaks that are considered to be effects of volcanic tephra."

Or the missing Na and Al peaks are indications that the tephra is not of volcanic origin. Courty herself has later deviated from his early opinion and admitted the non-volcanic character.

The following extract is from Marie-Agnes Courty and Harvey Weiss: "The Scenario of Environmental Degradation in the Tell Leilan Region, NE Syria, During the Late Third Millennium Abrupt Climate Change":

"The occurrence of an abrupt climate change 2200-1900 BC has been identified by changes in the dynamic of soil landscapes of the Habur Plains (Weiss et al. 1993). The chronostratigraphic record at Tell Leilan and regional survey links the rapid establishment of drastic arid conditions with site and regional abandonment. The soil properties of the 300 year long occupational hiatus stratum suggest that the climatic disturbance persisted until a "normal" climatic pattern was re-established ca. 1900 BC when the Tell Leilan region was re-occcupied."

As later will be noted, Courty changes the Tell Leilan hiatus to ca. 2350 BC and Harvey enlarges the whole Anatolian-Mesopotamian incident as having happened 2200 +/-200 BC.

My hypothesis is that there were two events, the first one around 2350 BC (2345 BC?), and the second one around 2200 BC (2193-2194 BC?), of similar cause, but possibly independent of each other.

Other places of major wind erosion at the end of the third millennium BC are from southern Iraq (Robert Adams: Heartland of Cities. Chicago 1981) and the wind-blown dolomite Mesopotamian dust within a sediment core from the Gulf of Oman.


"In the eastern Mediterranean, the exceptionally arid climate stage 4 of the Dead Sea Holocene record, beginning abruptly at ca. 2200 BC, is represented by a ca. 100 meter drop in Dead Sea level. "Abruptness" in this case is defined by six radiocarbon dates, with interpolation nadir."

My theory suggests that the southern part of the Dead Sea is a meteorite crater that catalysmically was born around 2200 BC.


Lake Turkana, which has great control over Nile floods, had a low lake level at 2250-2200 BC. Lake conditions changed abruptly, but the atmospheric circulation changed only gradually during the next centuries.

Indus Valley

An interpretation based on Ilhem Bentalen et al.: " Monsoon Regime Variations During the Late Holocene in the SW India, Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse".

First I have made a time calibration: 3500 BP radiocarbon calibrated as

2200 BC, 4300 BP radiocarbon calibrated as 3100 BC (based on Schove: Sunspots

plus several articles in Nature). Place: near the mouth of Kalinadi river.

Evergreen forest dropped from nearly 30% from 3100 BC to 15-20% in 2800 BC. The next drop was from nearly 20% in 2200 BC to below 10% in the next centuries. At the same time periods savanna increased from 20% to 40%, then remained at that level until 2200 BC, when there began a rapid increase, which leveled at 60% in 2 centuries. The most dramatic shifts are seen in delta(13)C: A sudden change from the level of 23 o/oo to 23.5 in 3100 BC and a rapid return to 23, and a new sudden change to 23.5 at 2200 BC and then a sharp change that eventually levels off to today's value of 21.5 o/oo some thousand years later.


"The quality of 2200 BC abrupt climate change records varies considerably, but none so much as the paleobotanical one (Bottema, Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse).

Why this is the case remains to be explained. Some cores of West Asia lakes (van Zeist and Bottema: Late Quaternary Vegetation of the Near East, Wiesbaden 1991) indicate an abrupt decline in arboreal pollen ca. 2200-1950 BC."

There are clear occupation hiatuses at Habur Plains/Tell Leilan (NE Syria), Tell Taya (N Iraq), Palestina, Iranian plateau and then there is the very sudden and dramatic collapse of Mohenjo-Daro, all beginning around 2200 BC (Dalfes, Kukla, Weiss, 1997). The whole area including East Africa, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Gulf of Oman, Aegean, Indus shows signs of abrupt climatic change around 2200 BC.

Lake Van, Lake Bosumtwi, Tell Leilan

Lake Van in Eastern Anatolia shows an interesting peak in core Van 90-10. Oxygen isotope 18 and the lake water ratio of Mg/Ca begin to increase in 4190 BP (varve count calendar) (Gerry Lemcke and Michael Sturm, Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse)

Lake Bosumtwi in Ghana shows an abrupt drop of 30m in lake level below today's level around 2200 BC. Its previous level is not exactly known, but had for 3000 to 4000 years been at least 60m higher than today. (Rhodes Fairbridge et al., Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse).

Courty and Weiss:
Tentative model describing the regional climatic effects
of the synchroneous events recorded during the abrupt climate change:

The following model has been set forth by Courty and Weiss in The Scenario of Environmental Degradation in the Tell Leilan Region, NE Syria, During the Late Third Millennium Abrupt Climate Change (Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse).

1. Large-scale climatic disturbances caused by
2. Modification of the land/sea temperature gradient in the Mediterranean basin caused by
3A. Surface cooling/increased planetary albedo (suppression of regular precipitation) and
3B. Heavy rainstorms.
4A. Increased planetary albedo is caused by radiative forcing.
4B. Heavy rainstorms are caused by cloud condensation nuclei.

5. The above sequence is caused by
5.1. Massive smoke injection and
5.2. Ash and dust fallout.
6. Extensive wildfires, unknown causes.

My suggestion for
the extensive wildfires or
the burning forests (smoke and ash)
is that they were caused
by the tremendous heat waves caused by
cosmic impacts in the Anatolian area.
The impacts themselves ejected
hot dust in the atmosphere
plus caused earthquakes and volcanic bursts.

Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations:
The SIS Cambridge Conference 1997

Mark Bailey:
"Near-Earth objects (NEOs) comprise a heterogeneous population of objects from a variety of sources ranging from long-period comets to the main asteroid belt. Recent dynamical results show that the orbits are chaotic, and that comets may in principle evolve into orbits similar to those of objects usually classified as asteroids (and vice-versa), and that comets and asteroids may resemble one another depending on the phase of their physical evolution and heliocentric distance."

Marie-Agnes Courty:
"Test on various late Third millennium BC archaeological deposit provides evidence for the regional occurrence in northern Syria of a layer with an uncommon petrographic assemblage, dated at ca. 2350 BC. It consists of fine sand-sized, well-sorted spherules of various composition, millimetric sized fragments of a black, vesicular, amorphous material made of silicates with Mg-Ca carbonate and phosphate inclusions, ovoid micro-aggregates made of densely packed crystals and exogenous angular fragments of a coarse crystallised igneous rock. All these particles are only present in this specific layer and are finely mixed with mud-brick debris or with a burnt surface horizon in the contemporaneous soils. In occupation sequences, the layer displays an uncommon dense packing of sand-sized, very porous aggregates that suggests disintegration of the mud-brick construction by an air blast. In the virgin soil, the burnt horizon contains black soot and graphite, and appears to have been instantaneously fossilized by a rapid and uncommon colluvial wash. Occurrence in a previously recorded thick tephra deposit of particles identical to some of the mysterious layer and resemblance of its original pseudo-sand fabric with the exploded one of the mysterious layer confirms that the later is contemporaneous with the tephra deposit. ... The restricted occurrence of the [tephra deposit] suggests that the massive tephra accumulation can no longer be considered as a typical fallout derived from the dispersion of material from a terrestrial volcanic explosion. ... Origin of this mysterious phenomena still remains unsolved."

Courty continues that this new dating causes the Akkad empire sudden collapse theory, based on an abrupt climate change, to lose its basis. I see however that the evidence of a great cataclysm between 2200 BC and 2190 BC is so compelling that on this basis we can't dismiss it. On the other hand, Courty is right in her theory of a major occurrence which I would date between 2350 BC and 2340 BC. When the External Collapse Theory (ECT) was first introduced in the late 1980's or early 1990's, the proponents talked about an event ca. 2300 BC. The 1994 SIS Conference talked about a 2200 BC event. In the Cambridge Conference 1997 and elsewhere also there has been an accumulating evidence of some event around 2350 BC besides the 2200 BC event. I suggest that there really were two disparate events, a local one in Near East 2200-2190 BC and 150 years later, 2200-2190 BC, a global one.

Mike Baillie:
"In 1988 the observation was made that narrowest-ring events in Irish sub-fossil oak chronologies appeared to line up with large acidities in the Greenland ice records from Camp Century and Dye3. Three of the events, at tree-ring ages 2345 BC, 1628 BC and 1159 BC turned out to be of particular interest as they contributed to debates on the Hekla 4 eruption in Iceland, Santorini [Thera] in the Aegean, and, possibly, Hekla 3..."

I think there are good grounds to combine the 1628 BC event with Santorini/Thera, but Hekla 4 looks like a later event, ca. 2300 BC, and vice versa the 2350 BC event doesn't look like a volcanic event. Also the connection between Hekla 3 and the 1159 BC event is questionable, because of its larger context from Mycenean to Shang dynasty China.

Baillie has later come to the conclusion that only 1628 BC is volcano-based, but 2345BC and 1159BC are not.

Benny Peiser:
"...Most sites in Greece (ca.260), Anatolia (ca.350), the Levant (ca.200), Mesopotamia (ca.30), the Indian subcontinent (ca.230), China (ca.20), Persia/Afghanistan (ca.50), Iberia (ca.70) which collapsed at around 2200+-200 BC, exhibit unambiguous signs of natural calamities and/or rapid abandonment. The proxy data detected in the marine, terrestrial, biological and archaeological records point to sudden ecological, climatic and social upheavals which appear to coincide with simultaneous sea- and lake-level changes, increased levels of seismic activity and widespread flood/tsunami disasters. The main problem in interconnecting this vast amount of data chronologically is the application of incoherent and imprecise dating methods in different areas of geological and climatological research..."

I would like to add Finland to this list: The population here dropped suddenly to third of its previous value sometimes between 2400 BC and 2000 BC (Turku University).

Another aspect of this is that if there ever was a real (pre)historical background for the flood- and other catastrophe stories, including Plato's Timaios and Critias and the Oera Linda book. The flood stories in Genesis, Plato and Oera Linda may have got some of their content from the evident Atlantic tsunami in 2200-2190 BC, although I consider the main flood originator both in general and especially Atrahasis/Gilgames/Genesis something that happened about 3100 BC.

Two separate cataclysms

So it seems that there were two separate cataclysms in the latter part of the third millennium BC.

The period of Sargon, from 2334 BC to 2279 BC, was very prosperous. Under

the reign of Naram-Sin from 2254 BC to 2218 BC everything still seemed

"normal". Akkadian Sumer was a welfare state in its own way during those

times. If the Anatolian event of 2345 BC was a local one, it neatly explains

Sargon's attack on the south of Anatolia, because of the havoc in north, and also the prosperity that followed when the highly civilized Akkadian culture moved south.

In fact before 2345 BC there was not any big difference between Northern and

Southern Mesopotamia. But when the North was in Chaos, this meant both

welfare and difficulties for the South. The population increased suddenly,

which stressed the food supply seems to have driven hungry people

still farther to the south, towards Egypt. Still Sumer prospered. But 150 years

later all this came to an abrupt end. The reign of Shar-Kali-Sharri was

interrupted suddenly into a chaos in 2193 BC .

How about Egypt? The end of the Old Kingdom of Egypt is surrounded by many

uncertainties. Modern Egyptologists originally thought that its last king

was Pepi II, whose reign began about 2250 BC. Later his reign was counted

as having lasted 90 years. Still later they added two more kings,

Intiemsaef II and Neithkeret. If we accept the original estimate that Pepi II

was the last Old Kingdom king, and if we take as a tentative theory that

the catastrophe also happened in Egypt in 2193 BC, it still gives Pepi

a reign of some 60 years.

So there seems to be a difference between the 2350 BC and 2200 BC events.

I suggest that the 2350 BC event was local, an Anatolian event, from the

Aegean to the Caspian. The 2200 BC event was global, as seen by

the evidence from Iberia to China. The Rio Cuarto impact in Argentina seems also to have happened during the latter part of the third millennium BC. Unable to destroy Tell Leilan and leave surroundings untouched, I would link it rather to the 2200 BC event. With its 50 km long and 10 km wide destruction path consisting of 11 craters (the largest one is 4.5 km long and 1.1 km wide) it must have had global consequences. Because of its different direction (nearly north to south) and different latitude of impact at 20 degrees S would however hint that it was a third and separate event during the series of catastrophes during the late third millennium BC. Be it connected to either of the mentioned cataclysms or a separate one in the late third millennium, one thing is sure: it must have had wordwide consequences, especially climatological. A flood event it was not, because it happened right in the middle of South America. But it itself was a multiple event and can have been accompanied by some debris that fall into Atl

In fact Greek mythology speaks of three flood events, of which the Ogyges and Deucalion legends are the most famous. Ogyges would then be the Anatolian event of 2345 BC and Deucalion event the global event of 2193-2194 BC. The third would be that of Atrahasis and Gilgames (the precursor for the Noachian flood) but because it happened in the first part of the unlucky third millennium BC, it is not considered here.

But let's go back to the 2200 BC event. In China a ruler named Yu, who has been praised of attempts to stop floods in China, reigned according to the standard chronology from 2205 BC to 2197 BC. The legend tells that at the time of the birth of Abra(ha)m there was a guest star (supernova). Bamboo Annals give one in 2287 BC. Again according to legend Abraham was of age 99, when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. If we take this literally we get the year 2188 BC, but of course the 99 years could also mean "nearly 100".

Marie-Agnes Court (The Soil Record of an Exceptional Event at 4000 BP in the Middle East (Natural Catastrophes During Bronze Age Civilisations, ed. Benny Peiser et al., Oxford 1998)), whose excavations at Tell Leilan in Northern Syria has led to two layers of burnt soil, whose calibrations (from radiocarbon age) yield ages of 4400-3900 BC and 4800-4300 BC, open also the above two windows. Benny Peiser ("Comparative Analysis of Late Holocene Upheaval") says that "Floodplain deposits of up to 3 metres thick and stretching up to 15 kilometres inland have been detected between Tirys and Mycenae" dated to ca. 2200-2300 BC.

Now there is a very interesting coincidence. There exists one very old

Frisian manuscript named the Oera Linda book. It was found in 1820, but

the scientific community condemned it as a forgery in 1871. We can ask

if that was too hasty a conclusion. One of the reasons the issue should

be reconsidered is that the book is some kind of a diary from the third millennium BC to about 500 BC. Right in the beginning is mentioned "The destruction of Atland" in 2194 BC. It describes the paradise before that, the year 2194 "when the bad days came", the escape of Atlanders first to Crete, where they founded their culture, the Minoan culture.

Sodom and Gomorrah

There have been excavations on the

Lisan peninsula, which nearly cuts the southern part of the Dead Sea

off from the rest of it. It is also different from the main Dead Sea in that it's mean depth is very different from the rest of the Dead Sea, only 10 m in average. It seems that there was a great

catastrophe around 2200 BC that has destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. The surface of the Dead Sea dropped suddenly by 100m around 2200 BC (Frumkin et al., The Holocene 1.3, 1991). If

we take the story in Genesis for what it seems to indicate, size=4>the whole southern part of the Dead Sea may be an impact

crater that was caused by a cosmic disaster, one piece in the 2200 BC disaster.

Where did the Impacts occur?

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 after fragmentation by Jupiter's gravity

Now I propose my theory: the Earth was hit in 2194 or 2193

BC by a comet which had spread into many parts, as did Comet

Shoemaker-Levy 9 which hit Jupiter in 1994 AD. The Dead Sea lies at latitude

31 degrees N, and the badly devastated Mohenjo-Daro on the shores of Indus had

a latitude of 28 degrees N. China's Yangtze area has a latitude of around

30 degrees. N. (Impact latitude is stable, longitude varies, such as it did for

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.) This latitude is also the latitude between Canary Islands

and Madeira. If a great tsunami washed away one island here or had a hit

right on an island, we could have Atlantis there, somewhere between Canary Islands and Azores (or in the shallow waters outside the Iberian peninsula). Those who lived over escaped to Crete and grounded the Minoan civilization, if we are to believe the Oera Linda history.

The incidence of 2345-2344 BC may have been an Anatolian event, destroying most badly the area from Troy (IIg) to Tell Leilan. The incidence of 2194-2193 BC surely had a global frame. Mahabharata may describe what happened at Mohenjo-dara, Indus. Edda may describe what happened in the Atlantic Ocean.

Fireballs on Jupiter after impacts of fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9

Go to the
Evidence of Astronomical Aspects of Mankind's Past and Recent Climate Homepage

The author would especially like to thank E.P. Grondine
For his assistance in laying out these pages.

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