Date sent:        Mon, 15 Dec 1997 12:55:01 -0500 (EST)
From:             Benny J Peiser <
Priority:         NORMAL

From:  THE SUNDAY TIMES, 14 December 1997


by Rajeev Syal

A CATACLYSMIC shower of giant meteors destroyed the great Bronze
Age civilisations in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece by provoking a
series of natural disasters.

New archeological and astronomical evidence indicates that a huge number of
extraterrestrial bodies caused famine, flooding and bushfires thousands of
miles wide that led to the collapse of the world's first sophisticated

The findings could solve the puzzle of why successful empires from across
the globe all apparently collapsed at roughly the same time in about 2350BC,
despite the fact that they were independent of each other and all
flourishing until their sudden demise.

Dr Benny Peiser, an anthropologist from Liverpool John Moores University,
has analysed 500 excavation reports and climatological studies from the
sites of ancient civilisations and found they all suffered huge changes in
climate at exactly the same time.

Previous explanations for the collapse of the ancient civilisations have
pointed to warfare, volcanoes and earthquakes. But Peiser's findings show
that the worldwide devastation could only have been provoked by an external
cosmic event. "There is very strong evidence to suggest that massive meteor
storms are the real scientific reason why these ancient societies
collapsed," he said last week.

Archeological reports from ancient Egypt's First Kingdom show that a
bustling and luxuriant farming region was suddenly reduced to a
desert following floods and intense heat in about 2350BC. A few
artefacts were spared the devastation, including the Sphinx, which
give a tantalising clue to the great sophistication of the
civilisation before its annihilation.

The abrupt climate change could not be explained by seismic activity and no
evidence of volcanoes has been identified, Peiser said.

The civilisation of Mesopotamia, which produced the Hanging Gardens of
Babylon, was destroyed by what seems to have been a massive
earthquake. There is no evidence from geological studies, however,
of any relevant seismic or volcanic activity.

Peizer has also discovered from a study of ancient river beds that their
levels fell dramatically and then rose again during the middle of the third
millennium BC.

British scientists have also identified at least seven impact craters which
were formed within a century of 2350BC, which they believe may have been
part of a meteor storm.

A new finding by Victor Clube, an astrophysicist at Oxford University,
appears to confirm Peiser's theory that meteorites were
responsible for the Bronze Age catastrophe. Clube claims to have
identified a meteor cluster in an orbit around Jupiter which has
collided with the Earth about every 3,000 years.

He believes it was this shower that caused the Ice Age, and then returned in
a later cycle to prompt the cataclysm of 2350BC. Meteors from the same
stream struck the Earth on a return orbit in AD500, though with less force
than previously, causing flash floods in the Middle East. The next impact is
predicted for 3000.

Meteor showers have immense power and destructive capability. One that
exploded in 1908 over Siberia was 60 metres in diameter and
yielded the energy of 2,000 Hiroshima nuclear bombs.

It is thought that a meteor cluster on the scale Clube has identified would
have dramatic meteorological effects. The temperature of the area of impact
would rise to more than 1,000C and the dust cloud that followed might block
out the sun and cause temperatures to slump. Some believe the dinosaurs
became extinct after a large asteroid collided with the Earth.

Professor Barry Cordon from the University of Ohio, a world
authority on the collapse of ancient civilisations, said: "The
research is fascinating. It shows there is still much to
understand about how our world is so vulnerable to changes in our
solar system."

CCCMENU CCC for 1997