Ancient Civilizations Battled Climate Change Long Before Cars, Factories, New Study Shows

Written by on August 12, 2014 in Climate Change, Environment with 0 Comments
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Andrew Fazekas | Yahoo

dry feild climate changeIn what is now the Middle East, some of the most ancient, productive farming societies going back as far as 12,000 years ago had to deal with the powerful effects of climate change – similar to what modern society fear today, according a new study.

A team of German researchers working out of Tübingen University collected and examined over 1000 ancient grains of barley from 33 locations across the ancient breadbasket region of which once was the Ancient Near East. Samples ranged in age from 2,500 years to well over 12,000 years old. By measuring the relative ratios of carbon isotopes within the ancient plant cells, they were able to determine if the plants had enough water while growing and ripening.


The lab results clearly showed a correlation between periods of extreme drought and the growth of barley. Not surprisingly, the new research shows that the natural water supply available for agriculture at the time noticeably impacted the chemical makeup of the plant cells.

These droughts, which the researchers believe were linked to major climate fluctuations occurring at various times and locations in the ancient world, significantly affected settlements.

As expected, the new finding showed that harvests along coastal regions were able to weather drought conditions, however for the first time we can see strong evidence that agricultural regions more inland were hit hard as the rains dried up.

“Geographic factors and technologies introduced by humans played a big role and influenced societies’ options for development as well as their particular ways of dealing with drought,” said lead author Simone Riehl, an archeologist with Tübingen University in a press statement.

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