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Megadrought and CollapseFrom Early Agriculture to Angkor$
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Harvey Weiss

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199329199

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199329199.001.0001

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6600–6000 cal BC Abrupt Climate Change and Neolithic Dispersal from West Asia

6600–6000 cal BC Abrupt Climate Change and Neolithic Dispersal from West Asia

(p.69) Chapter 2 6600–6000 cal BC Abrupt Climate Change and Neolithic Dispersal from West Asia
Megadrought and Collapse

Bernhard Weninger

Lee Clare

Oxford University Press

Recent advances in palaeoclimatological and meteorological research, combined with new radiocarbon data from western Anatolia and southeast Europe, lead us to formulate a new hypothesis for the temporal and spatial dispersal of Neolithic lifeways from their core areas of genesis. The new hypothesis, which we term the Abrupt Climate Change (ACC) Neolithization Model, incorporates a number of insights from modern vulnerability theory. We focus here on the Late Neolithic (Anatolian terminology), which is followed in the Balkans by the Early Neolithic (European terminology). From high-resolution 14C-case studies, we infer an initial (very rapid) west-directed movement of early farming communities out of the Central Anatolian Plateau towards the Turkish Aegean littoral. This move is exactly in phase (decadal scale) with the onset of ACC conditions (~6600 cal BC). Upon reaching the Aegean coastline, Neolithic dispersal comes to a halt. It is not until some 500 years later—that is, at the close of cumulative ACC and 8.2 ka cal BP Hudson Bay cold conditions—that there occurs a second abrupt movement of farming communities into Southeast Europe, as far as the Pannonian Basin. The spread of early farming from Anatolia into eastern Central Europe is best explained as Neolithic communities’ mitigation of biophysical and social vulnerability to natural (climate-induced) hazards.

Keywords:   8.2 ka cal BP climate event, West Asian archaeology, Anatolian Plateau, Aegean littoral, Çatalhöyük, neolithization, radiocarbon chronology, rapid climate change

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