In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh's army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians. The thriving economy and cultures of the late second millennium B.C., which had stretched from Greece to Egypt and Mesopotamia, suddenly ceased to exist, along with writing systems, technology, and monumental architecture. But the Sea Peoples alone could not have caused such widespread breakdown. How did it happen?
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.
A compelling combination of narrative and the latest scholarship, 1177 B.C. sheds new light on the complex ties that gave rise to, and ultimately destroyed, the flourishing civilizations of the Late Bronze Age--and that set the stage for the emergence of classical Greece.
TITLE Photo: The Ain Sakhri lovers. British Museum: 11,000-year-old Natufian sculpture. The Epipaleolithic Natufian culture existed from around 13,050 to 7,550 BC in the Levant. The culture was unusual in that it supported a sedentary or semi-sedentary population even before the introduction of agriculture. The Natufian communities may be the ancestors of the builders of the first Neolithic settlements of the region, which may have been the earliest in the world. Natufians founded Jericho, which may be the oldest city in the world. Some evidence suggests deliberate cultivation of cereals, specifically rye, by the Natufian culture, at Tell Abu Hureyra, the site of earliest evidence of agriculture in the world.
Michael Balter, Science Magazine, in re: Archaeology thinks that Mankind made leaps of cognition over the last hundred thousand years that explain revolutions in managing our environment and our habitat, and our ability to cook – leading to better nutrition and better brains.
It wasn’t so long ago that the majority of archaeologists were focussed on the Upper Paleolithic in Europe, about 50,000 years ago. Theory was that people didn’t do art till they got to Europe [puzzling!]. Now we see it goes back 200,000 years in Africa. Till ten years ago we had no real evidence that people then had engaged in symbolic behavior (such as art). With spear points, we're pushing it back farther. In South Africa, very sophisticated behavior going back 500,000 years – and who knows how much farther back it'll go as we unearth more evidence? Gaps in the record are due not only to patchy excavation; there are times when complex behavior and symbolic behavior are more appropriate, certainly among large groups, where people may wear ornaments.
Natufians, farmers of the Near East: the Neolithic “revolution”; they were sophisticated hunter-gatherers, wore ornaments. Site Karna 4, in Eastern Jordan, found sophisticated huts, habitations, ornaments, shell beads – some of the beads come from 2,000 km away in the Indian Ocean. . . . once you had agricultural surplusses in order to have village life, you get to fairly dramatic changes. Evolution, not revolution, for Homo sapiens.
WHO THEY WERE