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What happened to the ancient cultures of the Sahara?

25 Jun

SaharaSahara– the biggest and hottest desert in the world. It is almost completely devoid of life. However, only a few thousand years ago there flourished early human civilization. Only in the last decade, we have learned what became of them.

Rock Paintings of the Sahara

For a long time the main source of our information, there were examples of Paleolithic rock art, which reflects, apparently, all aspects of life in ancient Saharans. A common feature of paintings – round head, which suggests a similar cultural origins of all these nations. Over time, the walls of caves and rock shelters appear imaging tools Bronze Age, the riders on horses, clay pots.
During the last decades, archaeologists have found in the dry valleys of the shells and skeletons of fish, the remains of trees and traces of pollen. It became clear that the climate-SaharanAfricahas undergone significant changes – on the site of the Martian landscape stretched once fertile land with rivers and lakes.

In 2006, German scientist Stefan Kraepelin and his colleagues mapped the settlement of the sahara. Red dots – this is the area of ?Long-term habitat, and white marked temporary settlements.

Isohyet, built by a group of German scientist Stephen Kraepelin on the basis of geological, Archaeozoological and arheobotanicheskih data allowed distinguishing four periods in the history of the Sahara last millennia. During the Last Glacial Maximum and Late Pleistocene (20000-8500 years. BC. e.) in the deserts of the Sahara did not have any kind of human settlement was outside the Nile Valley, and their southern border stretched for 400 km to the south of today. Around 8500 BC. e. suddenly came to the Sahara heavy monsoons, desert turned into a grassy savanna. The primitive inhabitants of the Nile valley began to move westward after the plants and animals. Then, during the early Holocene optimum moist, south-Saharan Africa and the Nile Valley, apparently, was too rainy and dangerous to the active human development. After 7000 BC. e. human settlements are widely spread throughout the eastern Sahara, which stimulated the rapid development of cattle breeding. Monsoons have become softer, and people also went to the south. Around 5300 BC. e. monsoons began to recede, and the drought has returned. Ancient people were forced back into the valley of the Nile and other environmental refuges like the Sudanese Sahara, where rainfall and surface water was still enough. The final return of the original desert to the middle of IV millennium BC. e. coincides with the initial stage of the history of ancient Egypt. question is, how fast did this transformation? Some scholars have argued that the climate was changing very rapidly – say, grass-covered hills and valleys become naked sand dunes of the Sahara today in a century. But in 2008, Mr. Kraepelin and his colleagues showed that it took at least five centuries. They are based on the hypothesis – analysis of core samples extracted from the ancient Lake Chad. According to them, there was vegetation in the Sahara for thousands of years and was dying slowly, so that no sudden change was not. And that’s why local residents have enough time to relocate back to the shores of the Nile, where, gathered together, they gave rise to a powerful state and great culture. Most likely, they did not come empty-handed, and it raises important questions about how advanced and sophisticated societies were Sahara and the civilization of the Nile must strangers. And how much climate change has affected almost simultaneous formation of other civilizations in the valleys of the great rivers: the Tigris,Euphrates,Indus? Mysteries of ancient times are still waiting to be explored.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2013 in Historical, Nature

 

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