Drought possibly led Mycenae to collapse

• Category: News
Various explanations have been given for the mysterious collapse of the Mycenaean and other important civilizations of the Eastern Mediterranean Basin, about 3,200 years ago. Archaeologists have disagreed for years about the causes of this sudden collapse of some of the most advanced civilizations that time, an event that has been called crisis of the Late Bronze Age.

Recently a new scientific French-Belgian research led by David Kaniefski of Toulouse University supports that the climatic change and more particularly a prolonged drought of 300 years was mainly responsible for the disappearance of the Mycenaeans, the Hittites and other Eastern civilizations of the Late Bronze Age.

Mr Kaniefski and his colleagues collected ancient sediments from four saline lakes located just outside of Larnaca Cyprus, near the mosque of Hala Sultan Tekke. These lakes were part of a bay surrounded by land around 1,450 BC. The study of pollen grain found in sediments revealed that agriculture collapsed in around 1,200 BC and did not recover before 850 BC, three centuries later. At the same time, however, the proportion of plants resistant to cold and dry conditions increased.

The conclusion is that the crisis of the Late Bronze Age coincides with an abrupt climate change to drier and colder due to the significant decrease of rainfalls. This resulted in the destruction of farm cultivations and therefore in famine, massive emigrations, wars and invasions.

Scientists also came to this conclusion combining the research results from the lakes in Cyprus with the study of mail tablets between the kings of that era, talking about the burning down of towns and the killing of large populations.