Analyzing ancient pollen grains from Cyprus, researchers concluded that a massive drought hit the region about 3,200 years ago. Ancient writings have described crop failures, famines and invasions about the same time, suggesting that the drying trend triggered a chain of events that led to widespread societal collapse of these Late Bronze Age civilizations.
Before their downfall, the Aegeans, Hittites, Egyptians and Syro-Palestinians had formed a complex, economically linked network in the eastern Mediterranean. But about 1200 BC, they “disappeared completely from history,” said Lee Drake, an archaeologist at the University of New Mexico who was not involved in the study.
Story: Melissa Pandika, LA Times | Photo: David Kaniewski, Geological Survey of Belgium