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Evidence of resilience to past climate change in Southwest Asia: early farming communities and the 9.2 and 8.2 ka events

Flohr, P., Fleitmann, D., Matthews, R. ORCID:, Matthews, W. ORCID: and Black, S. ORCID: (2016) Evidence of resilience to past climate change in Southwest Asia: early farming communities and the 9.2 and 8.2 ka events. Quaternary Science Reviews, 136. pp. 23-39. ISSN 0277-3791

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.06.022


Climate change is often cited as a major factor in social change. The so-called 8.2 ka event was one of the most pronounced and abrupt Holocene cold and arid events. The 9.2 ka event was similar, albeit of a smaller magnitude. Both events affected the Northern Hemisphere climate and caused cooling and aridification in Southwest Asia. Yet, the impacts of the 8.2 and 9.2 ka events on early farming communities in this region are not well understood. Current hypotheses for an effect of the 8.2 ka event vary from large-scale site abandonment and migration (including the Neolithisation of Europe) to continuation of occupation and local adaptation, while impacts of the 9.2 ka have not previously been systematically studied. In this paper, we present a thorough assessment of available, quality-checked radiocarbon (14C) dates for sites from Southwest Asia covering the time interval between 9500 and 7500 cal BP, which we interpret in combination with archaeological evidence. In this way, the synchronicity between changes observed in the archaeological record and the rapid climate events is tested. It is shown that there is no evidence for a simultaneous and widespread collapse, large-scale site abandonment, or migration at the time of the events. However, there are indications for local adaptation. We conclude that early farming communities were resilient to the abrupt, severe climate changes at 9250 and 8200 cal BP.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Scientific Archaeology
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Past Climate Change
ID Code:40539
Uncontrolled Keywords:climate and society; Southwest Asia; Near East; Neolithic; 8.2 ka event; 9.2 ka event; resilience
Additional Information:Special Issue: Mediterranean Holocene Climate, Environment and Human Societies


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