History Global Warming

Wadi Kubbaniya And The Kom Ombo Plain

The burial was of an adult male, 1.73m tall and 35 to 40 years old at the time of death. According to the arm and chest bones, he was disabled during his last years. This is interpreted as reflecting social commitment to such members of the local group. All of this raises interesting questions about the degree of social organisation among people living in coastal sites during the LGM that now lie below the waves. 3.14 WADI KUBBANIYA AND THE KOM OMBO PLAIN In...

The Lost Saharan Pastoral Idyll

Wadi Howar

Changes in rainfall over North Africa in the mid-Holocene had a drastic impact on life in the Sahara. The rock and cave paintings in the central Sahara, the best known of which are the 'Tassili Frescoes', depict a lost world of a land teeming with life and supporting vibrant pastoral economy.5 These images of antelope, elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus, ostrich, rhinoceros and pastoral lifestyle seem impossible when viewed against the surrounding superarid desert Fig. 5.4 . The climatic record...

The North Atlantic Oscillation

Much of the analysis in this chapter and the next will focus on events in the Middle East and Europe. How the climate of these parts of the world is affected by global circulation patterns is central to the discussion. In this context, it turns out that the features of the North Atlantic, which have been so much part of the book up to now, continue to dominate our thinking. In particular, behaviour of the winter circulation that is known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (Marshall et al., 2001)...

The Broad Spectrum Revolution

In contrast, isotope values for remains of modern humans dating to the mid-Upper Paleolithic in Europe indicate significant amounts of aquatic foods fish, molluscs and or birds in some of their diets. Most of this evidence points to greater exploitation of inland freshwater resources. These results are seen as supporting what is known as the 'broad spectrum revolution', which resulted in a broadening of the subsistence economy in inland Europe by the mid-Upper Paleolithic period Stiner, 2001 ....

Life in the ice age

In the bleak mid-winter Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak mid-winter, Long ago. Christina Rossetti 1830-1894 , Mid-winter Point Barrow in northern Alaska is a desolate place. In the driving sleet of an August afternoon it is hard to imagine that this remote Inuit settlement has been occupied for thousands of years. It seems amazing that the community has been able to survive here for so long. The reason...

Our climatic inheritance

At the base of all these aristocratic races the predator is not to be mistaken, the splendorous blond beast, avidly impatient for plunder and victory. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), Zur Genealogie der Moral Nietzsche's observation about the superiority of certain races is an anathema to modern political thinking on racial equality. This repudiation is not just a matter of political correctness, but reflects the fact that his ideas are wholly contrary to the evidence of genetic mapping...

The Origins Of Agriculture

The origins of agriculture from yet another area of fierce debate. At issue are not only the role of climate change, but also population growth and the morphology of plants or animals e.g. the species exploited, site location and the relative importance of animals and plants in the food supply . What is not at issue is the main advantage of agriculture it can support more people per unit area than living off wild resources. In addition, by staying in one place it is possible to gather more...

Climate Change In Prehistory

More information - www.cambridge.org 9780521824095 Climate Change in Prehistory explores the challenges that faced humankind in a glacial climate and the opportunities that arose when the climate improved dramatically around 10,000 years ago. Drawing on recent advances in genetic mapping, it presents the latest thinking on how the fluctuations during the ice age defined the development and spread of modern humans across the Earth. It reviews the aspects of our physiology, intellectual...

Changes In Sea Level

History Sea Levels

In 1931 a trawler working in the southern North Sea dredged up a lump of peat containing an exquisitely crafted spearhead made from a deer's antler Mithen, 2003, pp. 150-1 . Dated as being nearly 14 kyr old, this artefact was dramatic evidence of how early humans exploited the broad expanses of land that had been exposed during the last ice age, and were only reclaimed by the sea some 7 kya. When this spearhead was buried, dense oak forests had yet to spread into the region, known to...

Do Icecore And Oceansediment Data Relate To

HUMAN EXPERIENCE One fundamental aspect of analysing climate change must be addressed from the outset. This is whether the evidence from far-flung places like Antarctica, Greenland or the depths of the great oceans provides a real measure of what was happening across the plains of Eurasia, or in Africa or Australia. Clearly the major changes associated with the waxing and waning of the ice ages were global in nature. figure 2.7. Deep-ocean sediment core from the central North Atlantic showing...

The First Fishermen Of Galilee

So far all the emphasis of living through the ice age has been an unremitting tale of grappling with almost insurmountable odds. This may not be too much of an exaggeration when compared with modern life, but it needs to be emphasised that in certain circumstances our forebears may have been able to live off remarkably abundant food supplies. The more temperate climate at lower latitudes, even allowing for the influence of the climatic ups and downs in the North Atlantic, would have been a...

Flood Myths

The change in sea level (see Section 2.10) since the end of the ice age has had a profound effect on both the geography of many countries and the lives of their people during the time since then. All around the world, large areas of continental shelf have been inundated in the past 15 kyr. Many of these areas offered attractive sites for human occupation, and it is possible that in some places surprisingly well-developed communities may have emerged, only to be flooded out by the advancing sea....

Natufian Culture

Another piece in the jigsaw of agricultural origins is the lifestyle identified as the 'Natufian culture' that thrived in the Levant between 14.5 to 12 kya Bar-Yosef, 1998 . During the first half of this period temperatures rose and precipitation increased and in the southern Levant reached a peak around 13.5 kya. This led to increased vegetation and greater yields of wild fruit, seeds and game animals, which altered lifestyles. In favoured areas sedentism became the preferred settlement...

The Demonisation Of The

The impact of climate change on the social structures was not just a matter of the rise and fall of ancient civilisations, and their associated social structures. There is evidence that it took on more subtle forms. The establishing of large-scale agriculture had a wide range of economic and social implications. The emergence of food taboos in societies of southwest Asia around 5 to 4 kya may be an interesting example. This is yet another area of intense academic speculation and controversy,...

The Formation Of The Nile Delta

The consequences of rising sea levels are not simply the inundation of low-lying coastal areas. In some places they altered the estuarial aspects of major rivers and produced rich alluvial deltas. This is what happened around 6 to 7 kya in the Mediterranean where the rising sea altered the drainage characteristics of the Nile Delta. Cores from the delta provide a detailed picture of how the alluvial deposits built up Krom et al., 2002 . By 6.5 kya the level was about 15 m below current values....

Emerging from the ice age

And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth And all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered. Fifteen cubits upwards did the waters prevail Defining the meaning of 'emerging from the last ice age' is a matter for debate. Frequently it has been assumed that this coincides with start of the Holocene, broadly speaking around 10 to 11 kya, immediately after the Younger Dryas around 12.9 to 11.6 kya. Many of the most interesting aspects of human development appear,...