Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sea Level Rise Led to European Farming

via National Geographic, the theory that the melting of the North Amercian ice sheet at the end of the last Ice Age 8000 years ago may have inadvertently led to the expansion of farming in Europe shortly afterward, as well as the myths generally known today (via the Hebrew Bible) as "Noah's Flood". Rationale? The increase in the ocean levels might have initiated the flooding of the Black Sea basin, which has a substantial amount of evidence of early farming settlements.

"Scientists have speculated for some time that the biblical account of Noah's flood was rooted in a real event thousands of years ago. One theory is that it could have been a flooding of the Black Sea, an inland sea wedged between southeastern Europe and the Anatolian peninsula. Such a flood could have been caused by the melting about 8,000 years ago of a gigantic ice sheet that once covered most of North America. The deluge may have also contributed to an explosion in European agriculture—especially throughout inland regions near the Black Sea, where farms were previously scarce, the researchers found."

Sonar maps show the shoreline of an ancient lake some 100 meters below current water levels of the Black Sea today. Once these low level areas around the Black Sea were flooded, the theory is refugees from the area evacuated to Europe where they spread the agricultural methods and technologies known today as the Neolithic Revolution. The transistion of the Black Sea from freshwater to salt has been narrowed to around 8,300 years ago. The number of archaelogical sites with evidence of farming in southeastern Europe expands greatly in the period from 8,200 to 7,300 years ago, fitting neatly into the the proposed explanantion.

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