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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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1177 BC – The Collapse of Society System-Wide

1177 BC – The Collapse of Society System-Wide 

QUESTION: I do not believe you have ever commented on Eric Cline’s book 1177BC, the year civilization collapsed. Do you think this is likely what we face or is this different?


ANSWER: There were about eight civilizations that all collapsed with the exception of Egypt post-1250 BC. It was caused by a major shift in climate that led to droughts which resulted in the widespread famine that inspired migrations/invasions. This event of 1177BC was the Bronze Age equivalent to the fall of Rome, for they both were followed by a Dark Age.

Many have attributed this collapse of the Bronze Age to the Sea Peoples, which were most likely northern Mediterranean mass migrants due to the climate getting colder in Europe. Cline has put together a nice assembly of sources, but he missed the climate change. He assumed there was a migration southward. However, we can see the first dip to cold came about 1,800 years ago. We can see that the all-time high temperature was about 3,300 years ago.

The collapse of the Bronze Age was mostly complete by about 1100-1000 BC. Our computer has identified a 1720-year cycle beginning in the Dark Ages with the fall of Rome in 476 AD when the last pretend Emperor reigned (Romulus Augustus (575-476AD)). Our model highlighted the cycle between the Dark Ages of 1720 years which brings us to 1244 BC — right on target for the beginning of the collapse of civilization.

How Civilization Collapses
1) Collapse in centralized government
2) The rich flee and economic growth declines
3) The economy implodes without investment
4) Birth rates decline with population
5) People migrate and abandon urbanization

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The fall of the Mediterranean society during the bronze age: why we still don’t understand civilization collapse

The fall of the Mediterranean society during the bronze age: why we still don’t understand civilization collapse

Eric Cline  wrote an excellent book on the end of the Bronze Age in the Mediterranean region but, unfortunately, it doesn’t arrive to a definite conclusion about the reasons of the collapse. Cline suggests that “several stressors” worked together to ensure the demise of this civilization. But this is very disappointing, to say the least. It is like a murder mystery where, at the end, we are told that the killer of Miss Scarlett could have been Professor Plum, Mrs. Peacock, Mrs. White, Reverend Green, or Colonel Mustard but, really, it seems that all of them simultaneously stabbed her.

Imagine a team of archaeologists living three thousand years in the future. They work at digging out the remains of an ancient civilization on the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, a region that its ancient inhabitants called “Syria.” The archaeologists find clear evidence that the Syrian civilization collapsed in correspondence of a series of disasters: a severe drought, a civil war, the destruction of cities by fire, foreign invaders, a reduction in population, and more. The evidence for these event is clear, but what exactly caused them? Our future archaeologists are baffled; they suspect that there is a single reason for this coalescence of disasters, but they can’t find proof of what it could have been. One of them proposes that it had to do with the fact the ancient Syrians were extracting something from underground and using it as a source of energy. But, without reliable data on the production trends, they cannot prove that oil depletion was the basic cause of the Syrian collapse.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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