The Bronze Age occurred between the Stone and Iron Age (Leick, 2010, p. 3). The period was mainly characterized by the introduction of metal and metal works in the communities (Keeley, 1996, pp. 1-7). Previously, the Stone Age encompassed individuals inhabiting unorganized settlements. During the Bronze Age, the settlements became highly organized as civilization evolved. Moreover, the earliest written scripts present in the modern society date back to the Bronze Age. Within the Mediterranean region, during the earliest years of this era, copper was mainly used to make gardening tools (Kristiansen & Larsson, 2005, pp. 2- 6). Bronze is an amalgam of Copper and Tin. The Bronze Age came about because the civilizations of the time used the alloy metal widely, due to its durability. The Bronze Age period caused many cities in the Eastern Mediterranean to flourish, including Syria and Greece among others. The Near East regions also advanced because of the spread of the Bronze Age. However, all these nations collapsed in the 13th Century. Many archaeologists have previously attempted to determine the factors that led to the collapse of Empires in the Eastern Mediterranean regions and the Near East. Although societal rebellions and the collapse of the political systems have been attributed to their collapse, researchers have argued that changes in climate also played a crucial role (Fagan, 2004). Specifically, the climate during the Late Bronze Age was characterized by drought and hence eventual famine. In the nations near the Mediterranean, the famine led to the migration of the sea dwellers to other areas on the land and this led to conflicts. These conflicts led to the collapse of the political and economic systems in the Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. The current study assesses the influence of climate changes on the Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East. Information for the research is assessed through the review of academic books related to the topic.
The purpose of the study is to assess the impact of climate changes on the Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the Near East. The research will specifically determine whether changes in climate in the two regions contributed to the end of the Bronze Age period.
Available Data and Methods
Information for the current research was obtained through a review of academic books. The literature encompasses books that focused on the Bronze Age patterns in the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East regions respectively. Additionally, books that focus on the effect of climate changes during this period will also be assessed.
Analysis and Discussion
Effect of Climatic Changes on the Bronze Age in Eastern Mediterranean and Near East
The Bronze Age in the Mediterranean region dates back to 3000 B.C. A far-ranging trade network was established during the civilization (Bevan, 2007, pp. 8-9). The Bronze products were later exported to other nations within the Mediterranean region. Egypt was one of the principal beneficiaries of the Bronze trade. Moreover, the production of Bronze was critical to the manufacture of weaponry, boats, and ships (Fields & Delf, 2006, pp. 2-9). The majority of the Palaces and the Minoan Empires also incorporated the use of Bronze in their construction. According to Robbins (2001, pp. 55-57), Bronze in the Mediterranean region was important in security and economic advancements. Kings also viewed Bronze as a form of prestige over the beauty of their palaces. The middle Bronze Era in the region was characterized by intense trading activities and advancement in the social and political structures (Barrett & Halstad, 2004, pp. 3- 10). The Bronze trade spread to all the areas of the Near East covering the areas between Egypt and Anatolia. Additionally, the region from the Mediterranean and the Iranian Plateau was also characterized by extensive Bronze Age civilizations.
According to Pullen (2006, pp. 22-27), there has been consensus among different archaeologists that the end of the Bronze Age era was characterized by political instability, drought, and sea-borne invasions. Moreover, these archaeologists argue that agricultural activities were the backbone of the proliferation of the Bronze Age period. As a result, the climate change crisis could not allow the agriculture to flourish and hence the decline of the Bronze Age. In the Eastern Mediterranean region, researchers investigated pollen grains obtained from the ancient lake to prove that climate played a critical role in the end of the era. According to Bachuber and Roberts (2008, pp. 33-37), the findings indicated that environmental changes led to the collapse of the Bronze Age. Moreover, evidence of shifts in carbon atoms in the Near East region provided evidence that the waters were initially flourishing, but later dried due to climate changes. Evidence in the Eastern Mediterranean on the other hand, dried to form a landlocked salt lake (Freeman, 2004, pp. 33-37). As a result, people could no longer plant and famines became the order of the day. People then began to immigrate to neighboring regions in search of a better environment, leading to conflicts, which then resulted in the destabilization of the economic, social and economic order in the different nations.
Bevan (2007, pp. 56-63) indicates that the pollen collected from the Gibala City indicated the region was characterized by severe drought between 13 and 19 centuries BC. In addition, pollen climate evidence from the Ugariti Empire near Modern Syria also shows severe climate changes during the Bronze Age. Because of the climate shift in the Eastern Mediterranean region, farming and fishing activities were affected. Activities, such as pastoral nomadism, fishing, and agriculture had sustained powerful nations, such as Greece, Egypt, and Anatolia in the Bronze Age. Since nations in the Near East were majorly dependent on agriculture for survival, drought was a constant concern. Most of these nations depended on artificial rainfall to provide water for irrigating their crops. In the event of drought, the water was no longer available. According to Chew (2007, pp. 5-9), researchers indicate that during the Bronze Age, the area could have experienced about five or six major droughts. Each of the droughts could have lasted a year or longer. In addition, the proximity to the Mediterranean Sea could have predisposed the cities to flooding, and as a result, the soil could have been degraded resulting in low yields. Therefore, a collapse in the agricultural practices meant that the nations could no longer be stable. Brown (1997, pp. 19-25) states that temperature and precipitation changes over a long period are likely to have a negative impact on agricultural production. According to Bevan (2007, pp. 55-60), the famine had a major role to play in the decline of the Mycenaean Empire in Greece during the late Bronze Age. However, some researchers argue that the incursion of the Dorian tribes in the region led to the decline. In this view, Dickson (2005, pp. 15-17) explains that the nations were too powerful to be affected by the incursion of less civilized populations. In both the Near East and Mediterranean regions, a rise in precipitation during the winter season in Holocene was recorded. According to Rahmstorf (2011, pp. 105-110), the Holocene period is characterized by a reduction in the average temperatures. The increase in precipitation during winter was then followed by a reduction in oscillation. Moreover, many archaeologists have shown that the Holocene events occurred during the shift of the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. The two regions showed deteriorating climate patterns at the close of the Bronze Age.
Fagan (2004, pp. 31-33) notes that pollen analysis of oceanic sediments along the Sea of Galilee also indicated that climate changes occurred between the Bronze and Iron Ages. The analysis also revealed that the Southern Levant region was the driest ever between 1250 and 1100 BC. Additionally, a shrinkage of the forests in the Near East regions occurred. Bachuber and Roberts (2008, pp. 23-29) states that the driest periods and increased oscillations were reported in the Near East during the transition from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age. Because of the increased oscillations, cities, such as Levant and Hazor were destroyed. Although these trends also occurred in Megiddo, the destruction was minimal. The deteriorating climate changes also lead to an increase in humidity that led to outward migration of many populations to the less humid regions. It is clear that climatic conditions had a negative impact on the people during the Bronze Age. However, it is imperative to note that the climatic changes were not the sole cause of the collapse of the nations in the Near East and the Mediterranean. Other factors, such as political and economic instability also played a role in the collapse.
The Bronze Age occurred between the Stone and Iron Ages. During this period, bronze metal was produced as an alloy of Tin and Copper. As a result, the metal and metal works sectors in the economy became advanced. Many empires manufactured farming tools from bronze. Moreover, the alloy was used for trading. However, the Bronze Age ended at the beginning of Thirteenth Century BC. As a result most of the nations previously powerful collapsed and the Mediterranean and Near East regions became socially, politically, and economically unstable. The majority of the evidence on the collapse of these nations indicates that it was because of conflicts due to migration of uncivilized populations to the powerful cities. In addition to the political conflicts, this research provides evidence that climatic changes were contributing factors to this collapse. As a result of extensive drought in these regions, populations migrated to neighboring states to seek refuge. This led to conflicts with the local populations and an eventual collapse of the nations. Other climatic changes included increased oscillations and rise in humidity. Evidence from pollen analysis of oceanic rocks has shown that these climatic changes occurred in the transition from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age. Therefore, climatic changes led to the decline of the Bronze Ages in the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East regions.
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