3.2K-Year-Old Mystery Undone by Pollen
Drought led to crisis in Bronze Age society: researchers
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Oct 22, 2013 8:12 AM CDT
Updated Oct 26, 2013 7:00 PM CDT
A tourist takes photographs of the Great Temple of Ramses II in Abu Simbel, Egypt. Ramses II led as the region approached Late Bronze Age disaster.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

(Newser) – In the Late Bronze Age, a thriving society near present-day Tel Aviv and far beyond suddenly fell apart, and researchers have long been stumped as to the precise cause—until now. The explanation for the crisis lies in fossilized pollen, which remains stable for millennia and points the finger of blame, in this case, at drought. To make their findings, researchers plunged into the sediment under the Sea of Galilee, where pollen had been "driven by wind and river-streams ... [and become] embedded," a researcher tells the Jewish Press. They drilled 65 feet downward and pulled out 60 feet of sediment cores, the New York Times reports. Near the Dead Sea, they obtained further cores.

Over the course of three years, the experts investigated the pollen grains trapped in the cores, looking at samples from every 40 years between 3,500 BC and 500 BC. (The Times calls those 40-year increments "the highest resolution yet in this region.") They discovered that populations of Mediterranean oaks and pines, as well as olive trees, saw a sudden and fairly drastic decrease in the Late Bronze Age, indicating a series of droughts, specifically between 1250 and 1100 BC. The researchers also discussed what came next: a wet period that heralded the dawn of Biblical kingdoms. "Understanding climate is key to understanding history," says one of the researchers. (In related news, 245 million-year-old grains of pollen helped researchers solve an "abominable mystery.")

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Showing 3 of 32 comments
Lou Bernardo
Oct 28, 2013 10:50 PM CDT
Everything in the Bible has a logical and real expolaination. The Bible stories were created to explain what "leaders" of a tribe of the era didn't or couldn't understand and as leaders of a cult they had to make up something to tell their their underlings in the cult to sound like wisemen. Some of the bible incorporated older fables and events from pre-Hebrew times.
bikpet
Oct 27, 2013 10:46 AM CDT
Most people don’t realize that the Bible is a doomsday book and Christians are a death worshiping cult. The Bible teaches that history ends and everything gets destroyed by the savior god that comes back in vengeance. Sounds appealing to those under the spell. We worship death and think we are going to heaven. Those in the cult are blinded by the memes, they can’t see like a fish that is unable to detect water. Want out of hell? Stop worshiping hell and calling it heaven, stop thinking that punishment is a good thing and that we need more prisons. Stop worshiping a judging god because by doing that you are programming your mind to be judgmental. With a judgmental mind you will vote and create a police state, a prison planet.
jgarbuz
Oct 27, 2013 9:36 AM CDT
While the Bible is neither a science book nor accurate history tome, it nevertheless did reflect some of the tribal stories passed down from generation to generation from roughly 10th century BC to the 1st century AD in that region. Stories of natural disasters abound, and the major powers of that time, Egypt, the Hittites and others lost their grip on the Levant leading to the rise of Phoenicia, Israel and other minor states in that area until major states recovered.