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Angela
28-05-14, 02:42
I'm in the middle of reading a history of the collapse of the Bronze Age Societies, and I thought some of you might be interested in it.

It's called "1177 B.C. The Year that Civilization Collapsed" and it's by Eric H. Cline.

This is the blurb...
"In this major new account of the causes of this "First Dark Ages," Eric Cline tells the gripping story of how the end was brought about by multiple interconnected failures, ranging from invasion and revolt to earthquakes, drought, and the cutting of international trade routes. Bringing to life the vibrant multicultural world of these great civilizations, he draws a sweeping panorama of the empires and globalized peoples of the Late Bronze Age and shows that it was their very interdependence that hastened their dramatic collapse and ushered in a dark age that lasted centuries."

And, "In the space of virtually no time, the mighty Hittite empire was destroyed, leaving nothing but a bare memory in some biblical references. Mycenaea was likewise completely destroyed, as were other empires and kingdoms of the epoch, e.g., Babylonia, Minoa, the Ugarit Kingdom, and Assyria, many of which disappeared so completely that they did not leave a memory behind, until their massive constructions were unearthed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Similarly, the Canaanite civilization disappeared to be recovered under the new management of the Hebrews and Philistines. Egypt survived in a much reduced form after fighting off the onslaughts of Sea Peoples, but in weaker and much reduced form."


One of the reviews on Amazon is actually excellent and very scholarly, and the poster, while praising the book, took exception to the proposition that it was multiple factors that brought about the demise of many of these civilizations, and he particularly critiqued the idea that the unavailability of tin for the production of bronze (because the Sea Peoples cut the trade routes) was such an important factor in the collapse of these cultures, and questioned whether it was indeed unavailable. Unusually, the author responded.

The review and response can be found here:
http://www.amazon.com/review/R1IEOACDV4BYVJ/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0691140898#wasThisHelpful

LeBrok
28-05-14, 05:44
Should be a good read.
It is hard to be sure what caused the bronze collapse exactly, but surely there was a chain reaction: failed crops, hunger, sea people/pirates, wars, destroyed trade network. Civilizations way back were very vulnerable. Only 10% food surplus was feeding the cities, which were the places of knowledge and specialized trades. Now imagine failed crops few years in a row, and guess how much food will go to the cities? In such economy the cities are first to collapse, and therefore entire civilization. Off course some villages with some population survives the worse, and give start to new cities, but they need to create civilization from scratch.

Sile
28-05-14, 08:14
Cheap price, but only 256 pages

Maybe not enough detail for me..................still its seems like a good buy


or this one........maybe too pricey
Mycenaean Greece, Mediterranean Commerce, and the Formation of Identity By Bryan E. Burns (http://www.fishpond.com.au/c/Books/a/Bryan+E.+Burns)

mid 2012

Aberdeen
28-05-14, 09:23
It sounds like a fascinating read. I'm curious as to what the author says about the causes of such a complete and widespread collapse and of course one has to suspect climate change as one of the culprits. But I'm wondering about the possible role that iron played in the collapse, particularly if the discovery of new iron deposits and/or iron manufacturing methods occurred outside the boundaries of the existing Bronze Age empires, especially since there now seems to be some evidence of steel being developed earlier than previously thought. Iron isn't harder than bronze, but steel is, and iron is certainly cheaper to make, less dependent on the availability of scarce products such as tin and easier to make, once you know how. So perhaps iron producing "barbarians" could perhaps have played a role in the collapse. I wonder if this is a subject that the author addressed? I suppose I'll find out when I read the book. But tottering civilizations often need foreign invaders to push them over the edge.

Angela
29-05-14, 19:57
It sounds like a fascinating read. I'm curious as to what the author says about the causes of such a complete and widespread collapse and of course one has to suspect climate change as one of the culprits. But I'm wondering about the possible role that iron played in the collapse, particularly if the discovery of new iron deposits and/or iron manufacturing methods occurred outside the boundaries of the existing Bronze Age empires, especially since there now seems to be some evidence of steel being developed earlier than previously thought. Iron isn't harder than bronze, but steel is, and iron is certainly cheaper to make, less dependent on the availability of scarce products such as tin and easier to make, once you know how. So perhaps iron producing "barbarians" could perhaps have played a role in the collapse. I wonder if this is a subject that the author addressed? I suppose I'll find out when I read the book. But tottering civilizations often need foreign invaders to push them over the edge.

I tried using the index to skip around and see what the author says about iron. I couldn't find any reference to the use of iron weapons by the Sea Peoples and their contribution to the Bronze Age collapse. As to origin, he places it in Cyprus and the Levant.

Perhaps he subscribes to the model I've read before that the increasing reliance on iron was more of a response to the disruption in the trade networks that made the production of bronze implements and tools much more difficult than as a contributing cause of the Bronze Age collapse itself.

Eochaidh
31-05-14, 20:00
The end of the 12th century BC marked the rise of the Hill Forts in Ireland which are one of the major cultural horizons in the early era.

Professor Michael Baillie has identified the likely year of an historic collapse which coincided with the Hill Forts and is probably related to the general European/Middle East collapse.

Here is a piece from the book - In Search of Ancient Ireland: The Origins of the Irish from Neolithic Times to the Coming of the English by McCaffrey, Carmel; Eaton, Leo (2003-06-11).


Confidence in priestly mediators must have been in short supply in the twelfth century B.C. as the quality of Bronze Age life in Ireland deteriorated very quickly. Initially thought to be part of a more gradual deterioration, there is increasing evidence that a single environmental event in 1159 B.C. brought disruption and chaos to Ireland and the rest of the ancient world; the greatest climate catastrophe humanity had faced in thousands of years.

Amazingly, evidence for such a huge event has been discovered only recently, the clues revealed in three-thousand-year-old tree rings. Professor Michael Baillie of Queen's University, Belfast, is one of the scholars who have been investigating this ancient disaster. He is a dendrochronologist, a scientist who studies tree rings.

Eleven sixty B.C. was a perfectly normal year and the tree goes dormant around October. It wakes up again around May 1159 and starts growing but that's it; there's no summer growth in 1159, 1158, and 1157. For eighteen years this tree only stays alive by putting on spring vessels."

He said they had cross-referenced dozens of samples from many different locations. All tell the same story, as do tree samples from elsewhere in Europe: beginning in 1159 B.C. there was a disaster of biblical proportions. Calculating such accurate dates is the drudgery of dendrochronology, a scientific study less than a century old. Trees live a long time, and those whose dates are known can be matched ring for ring with older trees from the same region, gradually building a chronology back through time. Each time late rings from a previously undated tree match early rings from a tree whose dates are known, the horizon moves further back into the past. It is painstaking work, cross-referencing hundreds of thousands of measurements. Michael unrolled a fat scroll of graph paper on a light-box in his laboratory, a timeline of Irish history running backward from the present to before the first Neolithic farmers arrived in Ireland, then stopped with his finger on a dip between 1159 and 1141 B.C. It looked like graphs more often seen when the bottom falls out of the stock market. "These are the worst growth conditions the trees have seen in more than eight hundred years," he said. "Eighteen years is a horrendously long time. Imagine what eighteen years of failed harvests would do to any civilization. It would pretty much wipe out any agricultural group."

Across the world, Bronze Age civilizations faced similar disaster. The date suggested for the fall of Homeric Troy, the collapse of Mycenae, and the beginning of the Greek Dark Ages is close to 1159 B.C. In the same period the Hittite Empire of Anatolia ended in rebellion and economic chaos while Babylonian poems, inscribed on clay tablets, speak of abandonment by the gods. Egypt was almost overrun by an invasion of sea peoples, nations were on the move, and in distant China terrible events heralded the fall of the mighty Shang dynasty. All these events took place in the mid-twelfth century B.C. Since dendrochronology can pinpoint environmental change within a few months, it is not unreasonable to assume that the root cause of all these worldwide disasters— of which Ireland's troubles were just a small part— struck sometime during the summer of 1159 B.C.

While some scholars think stories of catastrophe and collapse overdramatize what happened in Ireland during the twelfth century B.C., there is no question that society was facing serious problems. There is evidence of more weapon production and a warrior aristocracy gaining power. Hill settlements were fortified for the first time and as Barry Raftery explained: "You don't go to the trouble of building massive hill forts unless you've got a very good reason."


Here is a tree showing the 18 year period in its rings:
http://i1125.photobucket.com/albums/l589/Knockbridge1/DNA/1159BC-1.jpg

LeBrok
31-05-14, 20:59
The end of the 12th century BC marked the rise of the Hill Forts in Ireland which are one of the major cultural horizons in the early era.

Professor Michael Baillie has identified the likely year of an historic collapse which coincided with the Hill Forts and is probably related to the general European/Middle East collapse.

Here is a piece from the book - In Search of Ancient Ireland: The Origins of the Irish from Neolithic Times to the Coming of the English by McCaffrey, Carmel; Eaton, Leo (2003-06-11).



Here is a tree showing the 18 year period in its rings:
http://i1125.photobucket.com/albums/l589/Knockbridge1/DNA/1159BC-1.jpg

Oh, this is an excellent find Eochaidh. I'm amazed how far back they managed to go with dendrochronology. I guess we just need to wait for peer confirmation somewhere else in the Europe or the world and will have 100% assurance about this global disaster.
They even got the exact date, wow, 1159 BC.

What is also interesting, on this picture with tree rings, is that after these 18 lean years we have a dramatic climate shift to very wet and warm. The rings on the outside of the tree are the youngest, and look visibly much bigger than older rings in the middle of the tree. I wonder what could cause such astonishing climate changes, from normal years to 18 terribly dry or cold and then with the turn of the switch we have 24 very excellent ones. At least the picture shows only so much.

If it was a volcanic or huge meteorite event we would have see a gradual improvement every year when ear was cleaning up from ashes. But these 18 yeas are exactly same bad. To me it looks like some external effect like sun cycles, or maybe earth going through some heavy interstellar dust on its way around the galaxy. It is a rather scary proposition if our sun can make such dramatic changes at will and we won't be able to do anything about it.


We can assume that populations relying on agriculture didn't do well during these 18 years and shrunk. However populations based on sea food, fisherman rich cultures could maintain demographics much better and became more powerful compared to agriculturalists. It might explain the Sea People success, and definitely sets their location somewhere on sea shore or islands.

Who knows maybe lactose tolerance was greatly influenced and expanded in Northern Europe during these 18 years, if nothing grew but some grass.

Angela
31-05-14, 22:17
The dates in the Cline book are not as precise. Cline, quoting from other scholars, notes that "the change most likely occurred before 1250-1197BC...There was a sharp increase in Northern Hemisphere temperatures immediately before the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization palatial centers, possible causing droughts, but there was a sharp decrease in temperature during the abandonment of these centers, meaning that it first got hotter and then suddenly colder, resulting in cooler, more arid conditions during the Greek Dark Ages. This was all accompanied by a decline in the surface temperature of the Mediterranean before 1190 BC that resulted in less rainfall.

All of this was accompanied by one of those periods of volcanic activity and earthquakes to which the Aegean and southern Italy are periodically subject, as they sit atop a large system of faults in the crust.

However, according to Cline, this area periodically goes through periods of drought and earthquake activity without bringing civilizations to their knees, so he seems to favor a perfect storm scenario, where climate change and the subsequent drought and famine, earthquake activity, the depredations of the Sea Peoples, and the resulting disruption of trade networks which had supplied tin for the production of bronze for tools and weapons, plus internal revolt, brought everything crashing down.

I should have noted that the 1177 BC date which Cline chose shouldn't be viewed as a precise ending. The invasions came in waves; the prior terrible one was in 1207 BC. Egypt was victorious both times, but it was a Pyrrhic victory, as she was so weakened that the empire was a mere shadow of itself.

As to the origin of the Sea Peoples themselves, he doesn't really clarify things, merely repeating the associations people have made in the past with the Aegean, Sicily and Sardinia, but adds that they may have come from the eastern Mediterranean and merely settled subsequently in those areas. He also draws on contemporaneous descriptions for the proposition that they were actually a loose confederation of different peoples.

Ed. A prior draft was inadvertently printed. This is the correct version.

FrankN
31-05-14, 22:39
While disputed, especially with respect to the exact timing, an eruption of the Hekla volcano on Iceland appears to emerge as a plausible explanation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hekla_3_eruption

The Hekla 3 eruption (H-3) circa 1000 BC is considered the most severe eruption of Hekla (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hekla) during the Holocene (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene).[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hekla_3_eruption#cite_note-1) It threw about 7.3 km3 of volcanic rock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_rock) into the atmosphere,[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hekla_3_eruption#cite_note-gvp-2) placing its Volcanic Explosivity Index (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_Explosivity_Index) (VEI) at 5. This would have cooled temperatures in the northern parts of the globe for several years afterwards.

An eighteen-year span of global cooling is recorded in Irish bog oaks that has been attributed to H-3.[3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hekla_3_eruption#cite_note-3)[4] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hekla_3_eruption#cite_note-4)
The eruption is detectable in Greenland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland) ice-cores, the bristlecone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristlecone) pine sequence, and the Irish oak sequence of extremely narrow growth rings. Baker's team dated it to 1021 + 130/-100 BC.[5] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hekla_3_eruption#cite_note-5)
Baker preferred a "high chronology" (earlier) interpretation of these results. In Sutherland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutherland), northwest Scotland, a spurt of four years of doubled annual luminescent growth banding of calcite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcite) in a stalagmite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalagmite) is datable to 1135 ± 130 BC.[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hekla_3_eruption#cite_note-6) A rival, "low-chronology" interpretation of the eruption comes from Dugmore, 2879 BP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Before_Present) = 929 BC ± 34


However, other explanations, e.g. a cosmic impact (Phaeton?), possibly linked to a tsunami in the Eastern Atlantic or the North Sea, are still being explored as well.
http://www.2008-paris-conference.org/mapage12/phaethon-in-springer-1-.pdf

In any case, the Tollense battle in NE Germany probably needs to be included in the timeline of bronze age collapse. The collase was definitely more than a mere Eastern Mediterranean event.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13469861

Angela
31-05-14, 23:16
Just to keep things interesting, a lecture by a professor who isn't buying any of the climatology explanations, and sees internal problems and invasions by less civilized groups on the fringes( who had been incorporated into the armies) as the culprits:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2dN7MvU5zg

Aberdeen had brought up the topic of iron weapons as perhaps having played a role, presumably by the "Sea Peoples". Cline specifically describes the Sea Peoples as being armed with bronze weapons, and this professor specifically says that iron weapons were more of a result than a cause of the Bronze Age Collapse. He cites longer swords and different battle tactics as their advantages.

Ed. I don't see where it couldn't, as Cline states, be a combination of these forces, particularly as I don't see why the pollen evidence would be discounted.

It goes without saying that a collapse of the great Bronze Age civilizations of the Mediterranean would have had an impact on all the connected Bronze Age cultures.

LeBrok
01-06-14, 00:45
The dates in the Cline book are not as precise. Cline, quoting from other scholars, notes that "the change most likely occurred before 1250-1197BC...There was a sharp increase in Northern Hemisphere temperatures immediately before the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization palatial centers, possible causing droughts, but there was a sharp decrease in temperature during the abandonment of these centers, meaning that it first got hotter and then suddenly colder, resulting in cooler, more arid conditions during the Greek Dark Ages. This was all accompanied by a decline in the surface temperature of the Mediterranean before 1190 BC that resulted in less rainfall.

All of this was accompanied by one of those periods of volcanic activity and earthquakes to which the Aegean and southern Italy are periodically subject, as they sit atop a large system of faults in the crust.

However, according to Cline, this area periodically goes through periods of drought and earthquake activity without bringing civilizations to their knees, so he seems to favor a perfect storm scenario, where climate change and the subsequent drought and famine, earthquake activity, the depredations of the Sea Peoples, and the resulting disruption of trade networks which had supplied tin for the production of bronze for tools and weapons, plus internal revolt, brought everything crashing down.

I should have noted that the 1177 BC date which Cline chose shouldn't be viewed as a precise ending. The invasions came in waves; the prior terrible one was in 1207 BC. Egypt was victorious both times, but it was a Pyrrhic victory, as she was so weakened that the empire was a mere shadow of itself.
.
This actually makes sense because, when looking at the mentioned picture, the century before total collapse wasn't to peachy either. For comparison look at the rings after the drought, they are so much bigger than anything before on this trunk. The good years started and lead to development of Greek and Roman civilizations.

LeBrok
01-06-14, 00:48
While disputed, especially with respect to the exact timing, an eruption of the Hekla volcano on Iceland appears to emerge as a plausible explanation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hekla_3_eruption


However, other explanations, e.g. a cosmic impact (Phaeton?), possibly linked to a tsunami in the Eastern Atlantic or the North Sea, are still being explored as well.
http://www.2008-paris-conference.org/mapage12/phaethon-in-springer-1-.pdf

In any case, the Tollense battle in NE Germany probably needs to be included in the timeline of bronze age collapse. The collapse was definitely more than a mere Eastern Mediterranean event.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13469861
I'm going to sustain that the climatic changes were brought by something more prosaic but less visible by naked eye, the sun cyclical fluctuation. Just one percent decline in solar activity can bring big cooling shift on earth. Less heat also means less water evaporation from oceans therefore less rain on land.

FrankN
01-06-14, 01:10
This actually makes sense because, when looking at the mentioned picture, the century before total collapse wasn't to peachy either. For comparison look at the rings after the drought, they are so much bigger than anything before on this trunk. The good years started and lead to development of Greek and Roman civilizations.
But wouldn't a volcanic eruption also on the medium term increase soil mineralisation and fertility, and ultimately promote rapid vegetation growth?

Aberdeen
01-06-14, 03:24
I'm going to sustain that the climatic changes were brought by something more prosaic but less visible by naked eye, the sun cyclical fluctuation. Just one percent decline in solar activity can bring big cooling shift on earth. Less heat also means less water evaporation from oceans therefore less rain on land.

Yes, I would say sun cycle. That would explain a sudden heating up, followed by a cooling down.

Aberdeen
01-06-14, 03:30
The dates in the Cline book are not as precise. Cline, quoting from other scholars, notes that "the change most likely occurred before 1250-1197BC...There was a sharp increase in Northern Hemisphere temperatures immediately before the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization palatial centers, possible causing droughts, but there was a sharp decrease in temperature during the abandonment of these centers, meaning that it first got hotter and then suddenly colder, resulting in cooler, more arid conditions during the Greek Dark Ages. This was all accompanied by a decline in the surface temperature of the Mediterranean before 1190 BC that resulted in less rainfall.

All of this was accompanied by one of those periods of volcanic activity and earthquakes to which the Aegean and southern Italy are periodically subject, as they sit atop a large system of faults in the crust.

However, according to Cline, this area periodically goes through periods of drought and earthquake activity without bringing civilizations to their knees, so he seems to favor a perfect storm scenario, where climate change and the subsequent drought and famine, earthquake activity, the depredations of the Sea Peoples, and the resulting disruption of trade networks which had supplied tin for the production of bronze for tools and weapons, plus internal revolt, brought everything crashing down.

I should have noted that the 1177 BC date which Cline chose shouldn't be viewed as a precise ending. The invasions came in waves; the prior terrible one was in 1207 BC. Egypt was victorious both times, but it was a Pyrrhic victory, as she was so weakened that the empire was a mere shadow of itself.

As to the origin of the Sea Peoples themselves, he doesn't really clarify things, merely repeating the associations people have made in the past with the Aegean, Sicily and Sardinia, but adds that they may have come from the eastern Mediterranean and merely settled subsequently in those areas. He also draws on contemporaneous descriptions for the proposition that they were actually a loose confederation of different peoples.

Ed. A prior draft was inadvertently printed. This is the correct version.

I think all this fits with a blip in the solar activity. The sudden heating could have been a time of solar flares that could have created increased earthquake activity. And although very large earthquakes can block out the sun, a much colder period of several years suggests perhaps lower than usual solar activity. And a time of famine that weakens empires could also make the "barbarians" on the fringe desperate enough to invade. It sounds as if everything went wrong over the space of one generation, and the survivors would have had to rebuild from scratch, starting with local resources, since the trade networks that brought tin, etc. from distant places no longer existed. And in that context, I can understand the idea that the iron age only happened because lots of people no longer had what they needed to continue making bronze.

MOESAN
01-06-14, 13:14
I think all this fits with a blip in the solar activity. The sudden heating could have been a time of solar flares that could have created increased earthquake activity. And although very large earthquakes can block out the sun, a much colder period of several years suggests perhaps lower than usual solar activity. And a time of famine that weakens empires could also make the "barbarians" on the fringe desperate enough to invade. It sounds as if everything went wrong over the space of one generation, and the survivors would have had to rebuild from scratch, starting with local resources, since the trade networks that brought tin, etc. from distant places no longer existed. And in that context, I can understand the idea that the iron age only happened because lots of people no longer had what they needed to continue making bronze.


very intersting thread and good work of all of yours _I hope nobody will come to polluate it!

LeBrok
01-06-14, 17:28
But wouldn't a volcanic eruption also on the medium term increase soil mineralisation and fertility, and ultimately promote rapid vegetation growth?
That's true but this effect drops sharply the farther away you live from volcano. I would say, farther than 1,000 km and this effect is negligible. We should be able to observe similar situation on temporal scale too. The first year from explosion being the coldest with every year afterwards air clearing up and warming. After huge explosion of Pinatubo in Philippines, couple of decades ago, air pollution and global temps returned to normal pretty much after a year. It is then unlikely that even bigger volcanic explosion could cause a catastrophe lasting as long as 18 years. Also when we look at these 18 lean rings we don't see a gradual improvement, year after year, but radical sharp changes.
Due to these long change periods and lack of gradual changes in ring sizes we should exclude possibility that the terrible years were caused by volcanic eruption or meteorite hit.

LeBrok
01-06-14, 17:43
And in that context, I can understand the idea that the iron age only happened because lots of people no longer had what they needed to continue making bronze. I can buy that. It is possible that iron was considered an inferior material to bronze, being less sharp for weapons and constantly rusting. Who want to go to war in dirty rusty armor softer than bronze? The rise of iron and Iron Age could have happened because of economic collapse of Bronze Age civilization and societies becoming very poor. For that reason they started to use the cheaper and ubiquitous iron.
The superior iron that we know today came with later improvements of adding carbon and creating hardened iron that we call steel.



1. Bronze is an alloy of tin and copper. On the other hand, iron is a naturally occurring metal.
2. Bronze is denser than iron.
3. While iron has a melting point of 1600 degrees Celsius, bronze has a melting point of 1000 degrees Celsius.
4. Bronze is easier to cast, but it is harder to forge.
5. Iron rusts, while bronze does not.
6. Unlike bronze, iron has magnetic properties.
7. Bronze is also less brittle than iron. This makes it hard to work with bronze metals.
8. Bronze is stronger than simple iron, but it is weaker than carburized iron.


Read more: Difference Between Iron and Bronze | Difference Between | Iron vs Bronze (http://www.differencebetween.net/object/difference-between-iron-and-bronze/#ixzz33P1w9E9g) http://www.differencebetween.net/object/difference-between-iron-and-bronze/#ixzz33P1w9E9g

To conclude, I would say, that Bronze Age came when people replaced copper with much more superior Bronze. The Iron Age came, however, from economic crisis and necessity to use something cheaper and more accessible, iron. One can say that iron was mostly embraced by poor people, as bronze was still used by rich elite even in Iron Age:
http://l.yimg.com/g/images/spaceout.gif
http://l.yimg.com/g/images/spaceout.gifhttps://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQSsS8fczxWynRCbAMc0HLUUb2KS1Cz3 l2GGTloBuH7zErjkEZjj0lS2581

and medieval times:
https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRSK8Q9VZsunFQYbkdA25DPzucKUqyP3 cnRY431KUmp6Cp2ZGGZvlSt-4Py

FrankN
01-06-14, 20:03
That's true but this effect drops sharply the farther away you live from volcano. I would say, farther than 1,000 km and this effect is negligible. We should be able to observe similar situation on temporal scale too. The first year from explosion being the coldest with every year afterwards air clearing up and warming. After huge explosion of Pinatubo in Philippines, couple of decades ago, air pollution and global temps returned to normal pretty much after a year. It is then unlikely that even bigger volcanic explosion could cause a catastrophe lasting as long as 18 years. Also when we look at these 18 lean rings we don't see a gradual improvement, year after year, but radical sharp changes.
Due to these long change periods and lack of gradual changes in ring sizes we should exclude possibility that the terrible years were caused by volcanic eruption or meteorite hit.
I accept your point as concerns volcanos. Actually, even though I myself brought up the Hekla 3 scenario here, there also seems to be a bit too much uncertainty as regards the timing of both the Hekla eruption and the growth anomaly in Irish tree rings to closely tie the two together.

I would, however, not completely rule out a cosmic impact. If large enough, and hitting far enough north, it could temporarily affect the location and/or cline of the earth's rotational axis.

Aberdeen
01-06-14, 21:54
I can buy that. It is possible that iron was considered an inferior material to bronze, being less sharp for weapons and constantly rusting. Who want to go to war in dirty rusty armor softer than bronze? The rise of iron and Iron Age could have happened because of economic collapse of Bronze Age civilization and societies becoming very poor. For that reason they started to use the cheaper and ubiquitous iron.
The superior iron that we know today came with later improvements of adding carbon and creating hardened iron that we call steel.


To conclude, I would say, that Bronze Age came when people replaced copper with much more superior Bronze. The Iron Age came, however, from economic crisis and necessity to use something cheaper and more accessible, iron. One can say that iron was mostly embraced by poor people, as bronze was still used by rich elite even in Iron Age:
http://l.yimg.com/g/images/spaceout.gif
http://l.yimg.com/g/images/spaceout.gifhttps://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQSsS8fczxWynRCbAMc0HLUUb2KS1Cz3 l2GGTloBuH7zErjkEZjj0lS2581

and medieval times:
https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRSK8Q9VZsunFQYbkdA25DPzucKUqyP3 cnRY431KUmp6Cp2ZGGZvlSt-4Py

That's exactly why I initially wondered whether iron played a role in the ending of the Bronze Age - while someone with a good bronze sword would generally win a fight against someone with a primitive iron sword, if it was possible to make a dozen iron swords for the cost of one bronze sword, that would change things significantly. However, since iron apparently didn't appear until after the Bronze Age collapse, perhaps people just didn't initially see the advantages of iron or realize that it could be used as a substitute for bronze. Or perhaps the Bronze Age elites did realize that iron had the potential to significantly democratize both economic activity and warfare, so they discouraged its use. Either one seems like a possibility to me, but in the absence of any evidence, perhaps we should just assume that people hadn't yet discovered how to use iron effectively.

LeBrok
01-06-14, 23:05
That's exactly why I initially wondered whether iron played a role in the ending of the Bronze Age - while someone with a good bronze sword would generally win a fight against someone with a primitive iron sword, if it was possible to make a dozen iron swords for the cost of one bronze sword, that would change things significantly. However, since iron apparently didn't appear until after the Bronze Age collapse, perhaps people just didn't initially see the advantages of iron or realize that it could be used as a substitute for bronze. Or perhaps the Bronze Age elites did realize that iron had the potential to significantly democratize both economic activity and warfare, so they discouraged its use. Either one seems like a possibility to me, but in the absence of any evidence, perhaps we should just assume that people hadn't yet discovered how to use iron effectively.
One of the drawbacks and perhaps delay in using iron was its high melting temperature. Improvements to smelting furnaces need to be developed and spread before full iron revolution could start and price of iron items became affordable for ordinary people. Iron also needed new smiths (retrained smiths) who learned how to forge and work with this very malleable metal, unlike bronze which was mostly casted. It was parabola the time when every farmer could finaly afford a metal sickle, axe, hummer and probably first spikes to nail something. Iron might have been a bigger revolution for ordinary folks rather than for armies, till the steel was invented.

Angela
21-11-14, 03:40
The debate continues as to the role of climate change in the Bronze Age Collapse.

"Archaeologists and environmental scientists from the University of Bradford, University of Leeds, University College Cork, Ireland (UCC), and Queen's University Belfast have shown that the changes in climate that scientists believed to coincide with the fall in population in fact occurred at least two generations later.

Their results, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that human activity starts to decline after 900BC, and falls rapidly after 800BC, indicating a population collapse. But the climate records show that colder, wetter conditions didn't occur until around two generations later.


Their results, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that human activity starts to decline after 900BC, and falls rapidly after 800BC, indicating a population collapse. But the climate records show that colder, wetter conditions didn't occur until around two generations later.

According to Professor Armit, social and economic stress is more likely to be the cause of the sudden and widespread fall in numbers. Communities producing bronze needed to trade over very large distances to obtain copper and tin. Control of these networks enabled the growth of complex, hierarchical societies dominated by a warrior elite. As iron production took over, these networks collapsed, leading to widespread conflict and social collapse. It may be these unstable social conditions, rather than climate change, that led to the population collapse at the end of the Bronze Age.

See Science article:
"http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141117164123.htm

This is the link to the paper, but unfortunately I don't have access. If someone can read it, it would be great if you could report back.
Armit et al, Rapid Climate Change Did Not Cause Population Collapse At The End of the European Bronze Age
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/11/12/1408028111

I have a few major questions or concerns about this paper. First of all, Cline's book is talking about a much earlier period, around 1150 BC. The subject of this paper is Phase II. They may be right that there was a big drop in activity around 950 but the climate downturn was around 750BC. However, what about the earlier period?

Also, these authors blame the peripheral new groups using iron weapons for the collapse:
"According to Professor Armit, social and economic stress is more likely to be the cause of the sudden and widespread fall in numbers. Communities producing bronze needed to trade over very large distances to obtain copper and tin. Control of these networks enabled the growth of complex, hierarchical societies dominated by a warrior elite. As iron production took over, these networks collapsed, leading to widespread conflict and social collapse. It may be these unstable social conditions, rather than climate change, that led to the population collapse at the end of the Bronze Age."

Cline also finds that invasions were a contributing factor, but in that earlier period they (the Sea Peoples) were supposedly still using Bronze weapons.

So, I'm not sure where we are....Don't you sometimes wish you could get them all in a room and not let them out until they've reached a consensus? :)

Aberdeen
21-11-14, 18:11
I haven't been able to access the paper, but I wonder whether we have enough information yet to be able to explain the Bronze Age collapse. Or the Mesolithic collapse in Europe that apparently happened prior to the arrival of the Neolithic farmers. Or the collapse of the early Neolithic culture in Europe that apparently allowed some hunter gatherer types to become incorporated into the Neolithic lifestyle, so that European farmers during the late Neolithic apparently had more Mesolithic European ancestry than European farmers did during the early Neolithic. The one pattern I'm seeing is that major changes in population or culture often seem to be preceded by some kind of collapse. So if I had to choose a side, my guess would be that the Bronze Age collapse preceded the introduction of iron tools and weapons. Why that happened still seems to be a mystery.

Sile
21-11-14, 19:35
That's exactly why I initially wondered whether iron played a role in the ending of the Bronze Age - while someone with a good bronze sword would generally win a fight against someone with a primitive iron sword, if it was possible to make a dozen iron swords for the cost of one bronze sword, that would change things significantly. However, since iron apparently didn't appear until after the Bronze Age collapse, perhaps people just didn't initially see the advantages of iron or realize that it could be used as a substitute for bronze. Or perhaps the Bronze Age elites did realize that iron had the potential to significantly democratize both economic activity and warfare, so they discouraged its use. Either one seems like a possibility to me, but in the absence of any evidence, perhaps we should just assume that people hadn't yet discovered how to use iron effectively.

Iron did not fully replace bronze until steel was discovered, so from 800BC to 500BC , iron and bronze where basically equal in value and usage

Aberdeen
21-11-14, 19:52
Iron did not fully replace bronze until steel was discovered, so from 800BC to 500BC , iron and bronze where basically equal in value and usage

I'm aware that bronze continued to be used for certain things after the Bronze Age collapse, and in fact still is. Nevertheless, a Bronze Age collapse did in fact occur, and while it did involve a decrease in overall population and economic activity, it also apparently involved the production of much less bronze than previously. The issue we're trying to resolve is whether there was for some reason a decline in bronze production that caused the collapse or whether some other factor (climate change, disease, an invasion of iron wielding people from the periphery) disrupted the complex trading chains that allowed for bronze to be cast far from any deposits of tin or other suitable alloy. Nobody is suggesting that bronze production completely ceased.

Yetos
21-11-14, 21:05
the superiority of bronze against iron is rust,

from the nails that are found by archaiologists we know that they knew to harden iron, although made it heavy,
but iron rust easy, and loses his 'cut edge' quicker,
so an early iron needed to 'stones' to 'sharp' its edges, and did not last long due to rust, and it was very heavy,

mettals millenium before iron was founded place 'played' also the role of money,
one of the first money coin was cypriot talanton which had the size of a lamp fleece,
but from antique gold was consider superior than copper than iron,
why? I believe it is the resist against rust,

gold is softer than iron, yet more precious 6 milleniums now,
why? cause money should have a strong resist in time.

in ancient Makedonians a month was named Xanthos, due to that month they all brush and sharp their iron weapons,
consider such thing in early iron mettalurgy,
yet in areas were they needed hard metal they put iron,
but they use bronze in daylife in other things

kamani
22-11-14, 19:14
Don't know how accurate this article is in terms of timelines. I know that Illyrians and the West Balkans in general were not good with iron until the 8-th Century BC. This is evident in the materials found in tombs; very few iron objects found before 8-th century BC. Their iron industry reached its potential between 8-7 century BC, in the same areas that were famous before for bronze and cooper, namely the areas of Kukesi and Korca. (Kukesi is where E-v13 is probably 40%, btw)

Sile
22-11-14, 19:28
Don't know how accurate this article is in terms of timelines. I know that Illyrians and the West Balkans in general were not good with iron until the 8-th Century BC. This is evident in the materials found in tombs; very few iron objects found before 8-th century BC. Their iron industry reached its potential between 8-7 century BC, in the same areas that were famous before for bronze and cooper, namely the areas of Kukesi and Korca. (Kukesi is where E-v13 is probably 40%, btw)

The illyrians where the best with steel in east austria (Noricum area) .......it was called noric steel
It was already in use centuries befor ethe Romans arrived