Bible and archaeology news
Researchers investigating pollen and charcoal in the Nile Delta revealed a connection between the buried assemblages and a drought in ancient Egypt that precipitated the collapse of the Old Kingdom almost 4,200 years ago. The report, published in Geology, highlights the role of water availability and climatic stability in sustaining an ancient imperial system.
Drought, reflected in a decrease of wetland pollen, is often accompanied by fire, evidenced in elevated charcoal levels. These effects compliment the historical and archaeological record, which shows an extended decrease in vegetation in the region. The timing of the drought led to famines in Egypt and may have had impact on the agriculture and trade of the broader Eastern Mediterranean. The researchers, affiliated with the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Pennsylvania and Smithsonian Institution, identified two other large climatic shifts in around the Near Eastern Bronze Age, one of which is associated with the collapse of several Eastern Mediterranean and Near Eastern states at the end of the Late Bronze Age.
BAS Library members can read “Does Pollen Prove the Shroud Authentic?” as it appeared in the November/December 2000 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, including sidebars “How to ‘Read Pollen’ and “Pollen Analysis—The Right Way.”
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