Collapse of Bronze Age Civilizations

Middleton, Guy D. (2018) Collapse of Bronze Age Civilizations. In: Climate Changes in the Holocene. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp. 271-293. ISBN 9780815365938

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Archaeologists and historians, amongst others, have long been interested in climate and its potential effects on human societies (Fairbridge 2009a). Since Douglass (1867–1962) pioneered dendrochronology and dendroclimatology in the early twentieth century, archaeologists have used tree rings as proxies for past climate records (Fairbridge 2009b, 430). Huntington’s 1917 study is an early example of dendroclimatology and its application to a historical problem: the decline of Rome; he used the growth rates of Californian sequoia trees as a proxy and compiled a palaeoclimatic record for Roman history. In a chain of causality, he linked climate change with agricultural productivity, and with the economic, political and biological spheres. Bad years caused subsistence problems, which led to economic and political problems; long-term aridity was catastrophic: “thousands of people must have been driven from their homes” (Huntington 1917, 200). Climate would also affect the prevalence of diseases, such as malaria (Huntington 1917, 202–203). Now there are many more ways to gather palaeoclimatic proxy data; Dincauze (2000, 142) lists “the altitudes of tree lines, snow lines, and cirques; pollen assemblages; stable isotope ratios …; marine, lacustrine, and terrestrial microfaunal associations; and paleosols”.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
V300 History by topic
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2019 11:19
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 17:48

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