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Climate Change Caused The Collapse Of The Harappan Civilization


Of all the first great urban civilizations in the world, the Harappan civilization is the least known. This is quite surprising considering the fact that this obscure society was bigger, more populous, more democratic, and more sophisticated than ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. At its peak, the Harappan civilization extended over 1 million square kilometers (390,000 mi2), encompassing lands that now belong to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan.

About 4,000 years ago, this great civilization mysteriously collapsed. The cause remained a mystery until recently.

Liviu Giosan, a geologist from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, and his team recreated the landscape of the rivers and plains where the Harappan civilization flourished. They discovered that ancient climate change caused the monsoon-based rivers supporting the agriculture of the Harappan civilization to dry up. As a result, big cities collapsed and the inhabitants migrated to the East, specifically “toward the Ganges basin, where monsoon rains remained reliable.”


War Didn’t Cause The Collapse Of The Easter Island Civilization


One of the most enduring mysteries of the ancient civilization that flourished in Rapa Nui, Chile, beginning in the 13th century is the cause of its collapse. The theory that many scientists believe and propagate involves massive infighting among the inhabitants caused by dwindling resources. This theory is supported by the thousands of triangular objects known as mata’a that are found all over the island. Scientists believe that these objects were used as weapons by the inhabitants.

However, a new analysis of the mata’a by anthropologist Carl Lipo of Binghamton University and his team revealed that these so-called triangular weapons were not “used in warfare after all.”

They arrived at this controversial conclusion after using a technique known as morphometrics to analyze “the shape variability of a photo set of [more than 400] mata’a.” According to Lipo, the mata’a were used by the inhabitants not as weapons but as cultivation tools for domestic activities or tattooing.


The Minoans Were Indigenous Europeans


For many years, the origin of the ancient Minoan civilization was fiercely debated For many years, the origin of the ancient Minoan civilization was fiercely debated by scholars. Some suggested that they originated from Africa, specifically Egypt and Libya. Others believed that they came from the Middle East and Anatolia. In 2013, this debate was finally put to rest when Professor George Stamatoyannopoulos from the University of Washington published a study that revealed that the ancient Minoans were indigenous Europeans.

Stamatoyannopoulos analyzed the mitochondrial DNA of 37 ancient Minoans whose remains were discovered in a cave on the eastern portion of Crete. His analyses revealed that the Minoan civilization was genetically distant from the peoples of North Africa and the Middle East. More importantly, the results showed that “ancient Minoan DNA was most similar to populations from western and northern Europe.”


War Was Important For The Minoans


Contrary to popular belief, the Minoans, who prospered on Crete during the Bronze Age, were not a peace-loving people. Ever since they were rediscovered over a century ago, the Minoans were regarded as “a paradigm of a society that was devoid of war, where warriors and violence were shunned.”

However, new research conducted by archaeologist Barry Molloy of the University of Sheffield revealed that war played an important role in the Minoan society. Molloy arrived at this conclusion after discovering numerous pieces of evidence depicting violence in the material remains and symbolic grammar of ancient Crete.

In addition, Molloy’s research showed that one of the primary expressions of Minoan male identity was warrior identity. Also, many weapons that dominated Europe until the Middle Ages, such as spears and swords, may have originated from the Minoan civilization.


Earthquake Caused The Disappearance Of The Sanxingdui Civilization

Sanxingdui is an ancient Chinese civilization and settlement that flourished in the Sichuan Province of China. For thousands of years, this advanced culture was lost. It was only rediscovered in 1929 when a peasant found jade and stone artifacts while repairing a sewage ditch.

The two prevailing theories about Sanxingdui’s mysterious disappearance are war and flood. However, Niannian Fan from Tsinghua University in Chengdu, China, found these theories to be “not very convincing.” In 2014, he published research that details how an earthquake caused the Sanxingdui civilization to disappear.

According to Fan’s study, a massive earthquake almost 3,000 years ago “caused catastrophic landslides [that] rerouted the flow of [Sanxingdui’s] river.” The inhabitants simply moved closer to the new river flow. This theory is supported by historical records of earthquakes that occurred near Sanxingdui. Fan believes that the inhabitants relocated to Jinsha after the river was rerouted.