According to a study published on August 14 in the journal PLOS ONE, a 300-year drought may be responsible for the collapse of several Mediterranean cultures, including that of ancient Greece, around 3,200 years ago.
For a long time now, archeologists have been debating on the reasons behind their fall often citing economic factors. However, according to this new research, natural factors, including a wintry drought, may have dried up agriculture, caused famine and forced people into war.
As Brandon Lee Drake, an archaeologist at the University of New Mexico, stated among others, “If you can imagine this complex Greek civilization sitting on top of a bucket, then the climate came and kicked it out from under them, and there was really nothing that they could have done.”
The latest findings, are based on an analysis of ancient sediment cores from Larnaca Salt Lake, near Hala Sultan Tekke in Cyprus by David Kaniewski, an archaeologist at the University of Paul Sabatier-Toulouse in France, and his colleagues. The lake was once a harbor, but became landlocked thousands of years ago.
“It’s getting hard to argue that there wasn’t a significant change in climate at that time,” Drake told LiveScience.
In the heart of these dark ages, the ancient Mycenaens lost their writing system, called Linear B, and correspondence between countries slowed to a trickle,” Drake said. He also added that, “It happened over 200 years. People may not have even recognized the climate was changing, because it was happening so slowly over their lifetime.”