Date sent: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 11:29:34 -0500 (EST)
Priority: NORMAL

edited by H.N. Dalfes, G. Kukla, and H. Weiss
(Springer Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 1997)


Fekri A Hassan: Nile Floods and Political Disorder in Early Egypt,

Arlene M Rosen: Environmental Change and Human Adaptational Failure
at the End of the Early Bronze Age in the Southern Levant, p. 25

Frank Hole: Evidence for Mid-Holocene Environmental Change in the
Western Khabur Drainage, Northeastern Syria, p. 39

Tony J Wilkinson: Environmental Fluctuations, Agricultural
Production and Collapse: A View from Bronze Age Upper Mesopotamia,
p. 67

Marie-Agnes Courty and Harvey Weiss: The Scenario of Environmental
Degradation in the Tell Leilan Region, NE Syria During the Late
Third Millennium Abrupt Climate Change, p. 107

Sturt W Manning: Cultural Change in the Aegean c. 2200 BC, p. 149

Katina T Lillios: The Third Millennium BC in Iberia: Chronometric
Evidence for Settlement Histories and Socio-cultural Change, p. 173

Gregory L Possehl: Climate and the Eclipse of the Ancient Cities of
the Indus, p. 193

Karl W Butzer: Sociopolitical Discontinuity in the Near East c. 2200
BCE: Scenarios from Palestine and Egypt, p. 245

Nicole Petite-Maire, L Beufort and N Page: Holocene Climate Change
and Man in the Present Day Sahara Desert, p. 297

Vaclav Cilek: Mid-Holocene Dry Spells in Bohemia, Central Europe,
p. 309

Oguz Erol: Geomorphologic Arguments for Mid- to Late Holocene
Environmental Change in Central Anatolian (Pluvial) Lake Basins,
p. 321

Constantin V Krementski: The Late Holocene Environmental and Climate
Shift in Russia and Surrounding Lands, p. 351

Natalia P Gerasimenko: Environmental and Climatic Changes between 3
and 5ka BP in Southeatern Ukraine, p. 371

Klaus D Jaeger: Mid to Late Holocene Changes in Central Europe
Climate and Man, p. 401

Neil Roberts, Warren J Eastwood, Henry F Lamb and John C Tibby: The
Age and Causes of Mid-Late Holocene Environmental Change in
Southwest Turkey, p. 409

Ilhan Kayan: Bronze Age Regression and Change of Sedimentation on
the Aegean Coastal Plains of Anatolia (Turkey), p. 431

Catherine Kuzucuoglu, Mustafa Karabiyikoglu, Michel Fontugne, J-F
Pastre and Tevfik Ercan: Environmental Changes in Holocene
Lacustrine Sequences from Karapinar in the Konya Plain (Turkey),
p. 451

Reid A Bryson: Proxy Indications of Holocene Winter Rains in
Southwest Asia Compared with Simulated Rainfall, p. 465

Ilhem Bentaleb, Claude Caratini, Michel Fontugne, Marie Therese
Morzadec-Kerfourn, Jean Pierre Pascal, Colette Tissot: Monsoon
Regime Variations During the Late Holocene in Southwest India,
p. 475

Sytze Bottema: Third Millennium Climate in the Near East Based upon
Pollen Evidence, p. 489

Donatella Magri: Middle and Late Holocene Vegetation and Climate
Changes in Peninsular Italy, p. 517

Leszek Starkel: Environmental Changes in Central Europe 5000-3000
BP, p. 531

Vojen Lozek: Development of Sediments, Soils, Erosinal Events,
Molluscan and Vertebrate Assemblages in Connection with Human Impact
in central Europe During the Time Span 3000 - 5000 BP, p. 551

Reid A Bryson and Robert U Bryson: High Resolution Simultations of
Regional Holocene Climate: North Africa and the Near East, p. 565

Rhodes Fairbridge, Oguz Erol, Mehmet Karaca and Yuecel Yilmaz:
Middle to Late Holocene Changes in Tropical Africa and Other
Continents: Paleomonsoon and Sea Surface Temperature Variations,
p. 611

Isabelle Reynaud-Farrera: Late Holocene Vegetational Changes in
South-West Cameroon, p. 641

Gerry Lemcke and Michael Sturm: d18o and Trace Element Measurements
as Proxy for the Reconstruction of Climate Changes at Lake Van
(Turkey): Preliminary Results, p. 653

Bernd Zolitschka and J F W Negendank: Climate Change at the End of
the Third Millennium BC - Evidence from Varved Lacustrine Sediments,
p. 679

H Nuezhet Dalfes: Environmental Vulnerability of Early Societies:
Some Reflections on Modeling Issues, p. 691

George Kukla: Was the Holocene Climate Uniquely Benign or is the
Eemian Catching Cold from the Reinforcement Sydrome Virus?, p. 699

Harvey Weiss: Late Third Millennium Abrupt Climate Change and Social
Collapse in WEst Asia and Egypt, p. 711


Date sent: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 10:51:16 -0500 (EST)
Priority: NORMAL

Book announcement:

edited by H Nuzhet Dalfes, George Kukla and Harvey Weiss
[ISBN 3-540-61892-9; Springer Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 1997]

In 1948, Oxford University Press surprised the academic world when
it published (in French) Claude Schaeffer's magnus opus
IIe MILLENAIRES (OUP: Oxford & London).

In this book, Claude Schaeffer, 20th century's most eminent French
archaeologist and excavator of Ugarit, Enkomi and Malatya, analysed
and compared the stratigraphies and destruction layers of some 40
important excavation sites of the Near and Middle East.

Schaeffer, who had joined Charles de Gaulle in Britain during World
War II, wrote most of his STRATIGRAPHIE COMPAREE at St John's
College in Oxford between 1942 and 1944. Years earlier, whilst
excavating Ugarit (1929 - 1939), he had discovered a sequence of
four major destruction layers (ca. 2300 BC, 2100 BC, 1365 BC
and 1200 BC) which showed traces of fire and earthquake destruction.

The massive demage which destroyed Ugarit's Early, Middle and Late
Bronze Age cultures, did not appear to be the result of military
action. Instead, huge buildings and massive walls were crumbled and
cracked as if great tremors had hit this ancient site repeatedly.
"Therefore, Schaeffer opted for local earthquakes. Yet he already
nourished doubts because in Troy, some 900 kilometres away from
Ugarit, destruction levels were excavated which belonged to the same
periods as in Ugarit" (Heinsohn 1990).

During his stay at St John's, Schaeffer compared his findings with
excavation reports of other Near Eastern Bronze Age sites. He
discovered that most of them, spanning a territory with a diametre
of nearly 5,000 kilometres (from Troy in the west to Tepe Hissar in
the east, and from the Black Sea in the North to Lachish in the
south) had been repeatedly destroyed during their Bronze Age

Up to four successive destruction levels were present in all sites,
the most prominent of which were detected at the end of the Early
Bronze Age (ca. 2300 BC), at the end of the Middle Bronze Age (ca.
1650 BC), and at the end of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1200 BC). Since
the archaeological evidence in situ showed every sign of natural
disasters, Schaeffer concluded that only some 'seismic' catastrophe
could explain the simultaneity of the widespread Bronze Age

"Our investigation has shown that these successive crises, which
ushered in and concluded the principal phases of the 3rd and 2nd
millennia, were not caused by the action of man. On the contrary,
compared with the magnitude of these all-emcompassing crises and
their profound effects, the exploits of conquerors and the schemes
of political leaders seem very insignificant" (Schaeffer 1948).

For the next 40 years, most archaeologists and historians simply
ignored Schaeffer's findings, as Harvey Weiss has recently
emphasised: "For decades, one could say, catastrophes were so
unfashionable among archaeologists that we ignored the evidence in
front of our noses. We sought other explanations for social
collapses because we wanted them to be true. The dramatic data now
emerging may change this picture" (Weiss 1996).

Only a handful of scholars (such as Sir Moses Finley, Rene Gallant,
James Melaart and Robert Raikes) and some outsiders (such as
Geoffrey Gammon, Moe Mandelkehr and Immanuel Velikovsky) realised
that the archaeological evidence documented by Schaeffer required
further scientific elucidation, as Sir Moses Finley stressed in

"Archaeology reveals cataclysms, but it cannot tell us the
circumstances or even who the participants were [...] There were
periodic catastrophes, hence the division into five clearly marked
stages" (Finley 1981).

Yet, Schaeffer's seismic explanation for the successive collapses of
Near and Middle Eastern civilisations was refuted by the
eminent Austrian archaeologists Fritz Schachermeyr many years ago.
Schachermeyr correctly pointed out the fact that earthquakes have
epicentres and never devestate territory of more than some 80
kilometres in diametre. "Regarding earthquakes, we are dealing with
local rather than widespread catastrophes" (Schachermayr 1980).

Thus, from a scientific point of view, earthquakes caused by crustal
tentions appear unable to result in continental (let alone global)
destructions. Consequently, a viable alternative to Schaeffer's
'seismic' model is required to explain the natural causes for
repeated Bronze Age destructions.

Now, almost 50 years after the launch of Schaeffer's study, a new
publication tries to present new answers to the riddle of Bronze Age
COLLAPSE focuses on the catastrophe at the end of the Early Bronze
Age which brought down the first high civilisations of mankind (in
Egypt, the Levante, the Middle East and India).

The volume presents the findings of more than 40 researchers and
provides a review of relevant and related information on Early
Bronze Age collapses. Most contributors suggest that a major climate
change around 2200 BC caused agricultural disasters and prolonged
droughts which consequently led to a breakdown of social order in
population centres in Asia, North Africa and Eastern Europe. [It is
unfortunate, however, that recent findings about similar ecological
and social upheavals at around the same time in China, the Far East
and the Americas are not included in the volume].

The volume offers well documented and unambiguous evidence for
sudden climate changes at the end of the Early Bronze Age in many
parts of the globe. The exact physical causes, however, for this
ecological catastrophe, which coincided with simultaneous fire,
earthquake and flood disasters in the same geographical areas, are
still unclarified and require further scrutiny. [A conspicuous
anomaly, which also requires particular attention by future
research, is the apparent lack of a significant acidity peak in ice
core records and a missing tree ring signature at ca. 2200 BC].

This book of 728 pages is highly recommendable. Regrettably, it is
hardly affordable even to the most enthusiastic researcher since it
carries the price of 172 pounds Sterling (or 319 US dollars; 1500
French Francs; 398 DM). But I expect this standard work to be
available in university libraries in the next couple of months.

I will forward a list of contents on a separate message of this
network conference.

Benny Peiser


Date sent: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 10:02:04 -0500 (EST)
Priority: NORMAL


from: THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, 23 February 1997


by Paul Sieveking

At 11.03 pm on May 28, 1993, a large area of Western Australia
north-west of Perth was shaken by an earth tremor which registered
3.7 on the Richter scale, the first in the area since records began
in 1900 and 170 times greater than the largest mining explosion ever
recorded in Australia.

At first this was officially recorded as an earthquake, but many
witnesses had described seeing a fireball at the time of the tremor,
which suggested it might have been caused by a meteorite. On the
other hand, the object was slow and there was no sonic boom. It had
no luminous tail, it was accompanied by no unusual pulsing noise and
it was followed by an enormous explosion and a fireball rising
vertically. This suggested a missile.

In March 1995, the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth) cult
carried out the sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway. The sect
had accumulated over half a billion pounds to mount a virtual civil
war and had recruited 50,000 converts in at least six countries.
Circumstantial evidence suggested that it might have been implicated
in the mystery event that had shaken the Australian Outback.

Aum's construction minister, Kiyohide Hayakawa, the alledged
mastermind of the cult's efforts to arm itself, went to Russia 21
times between 1992 and 1995, and his notebooks included prices for
nuclear warheads.

In April 1993, Hayakawa visited Australia and purchased a
500,000-acre sheep farm with a known uranium deposit a few miles
north of the supposed epicentre of the tremor the following month.
Two years later, investigators found mining and laboratory equipment
and a rock-crushing machine at the farm, indicating that the cult
had been extracting uranium.

Seismic records could not pinpoint the epicentre of the tremor with
much accuracy; it could have been anywhere in 485 square miles of
Outback. A seismometer tracing showed that the disturbance had the
force of a small nuclear explosion, but the seismic signature looked
more like an earthquake or meteorite strike, building up to a peak
of vibration, rather than a nuclear explosion which begins with a
distinctive spike before tapering off.

Investigators calculated that a six-foot meteorite could have
created the tremor; but this would have dug out a massive crater. A
geologist, Harry Mason, spent a week flying over the area in 1995
without fining one - or any evidence of a ground blast or fire.

There is a final and intriguing possibility: that the Aum cult
artifically triggered an earthquake. A group of cult members had
visited Belgrade to study the papers of Nikola Tesla kept in the
Tesla Museum.

Besides discovering alternating current, and taking out patents for
all sorts of wonders such as radio transmission and remote
controlled robots, the Serbian genius stumbled upon a seismic
weapon. His biographer, John O'Neill, relates how in 1896 he created
a minor earthquake in New York, collapsing ceilings and bursting

"It was all caused, quite unexpectedly", said Tesla, "by a little
piece of apparatus you could slip in your pocket." This was a
mechanical-eletrical oscillator fixed to a supporting iron pillar in
his laboratory. As police stormed the lab of the mad inventor, they
saw him smash the oscillator with a sledgehammer, bringing an end to
the pandemonium.

However, records of the movement of Aum cult members seem to rule
out their involvement with the tremor. Hayakawa left Western
Australia on April 22, 1993, and there is no record of any sect
member being in the country until the following September. The
mystery remains: none of the suggested explanations seems to cover
the range of evidence and observations.


Date sent: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 09:34:18 -0500 (EST)
Priority: NORMAL


from: THE SUNDAY TIMES, 23 February 1997

"In ancient Chinese folklore, a shower of meteors in the heavens is
taken as an omen that a dynasty is about to fall. Late last Sunday,
while Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader, lay dying in Peking, the
terrified peasants of Heze, in eastern China, watched a hail of
falling stars cascade to earth.

They saw 'eye-stabbing rays of light', they heard a rumble and then,
according to the official Chinese press, the sky turned a vived red.
It was only the fifth recorded meteor shower since the Communist
party seized power in 1949.

To those with an uneasy memory for portents of doom, it recalled a
great rain of meteorites over Manchuria in March 1976, the
cataclysmic year when Chairman Mao went 'to meet Marx' and 342,000
people died in an earthquake that ravaged the city of Tangshan."

CCCMENU CCC for 1997