Archaeologists have debated for decades over what caused the once-flourishing civilizations along the eastern Mediterranean coast to collapse about 1300 BC. Many scholars have cited warfare, political unrest and natural disaster as factors. But a new study supports the theory that climate change was largely responsible. 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 1300 BC, they "disappeared completely from history."
Kemo D. 7