This website is about the late prehistory of the Middle East and its surroundings. How do I know about that period? As a writer, I invested a couple decades in researching and writing an epic series of six novels set in The Fertile Crescent 5,200 years ago. I’m now finishing a 7th novel set 5,700 years ago, the prequel to the series.
I’m sharing in this website’s blog what I learned in researching those novels about man’s activities since the ice started melting 20,000 years ago, and I’ve dug deeper for the coming novel because of new archaeological discoveries aided by newer scientific methods in recent decades.
Examples of breakthroughs in the past two decades include full excavation and dating of Gobekli Tepe; pushing the domestication of the horse back more than a millennium in Botai, Kazakhstan; incredibly cheap and accurate DNA analysis that led to identification of the real prehistoric invaders of Europe, and much more.
History requires writing and appears around 3,000 BC in the areas in the Middle East where I am focused. Prehistory, there and elsewhere, is evidenced by artifacts discovered and dated by scientific dating techniques or by the object’s immediate proximity to artifacts which are recognized and dated to others found elsewhere. This dating by proximity was pioneered with ceramics by Egyptologists. But in the 21st century, dating by calibrated radiocarbon and other methods has greatly improved accuracy.
You can benefit from this website in several ways:
Starting with the first post in the blog, you’ll gain insight into scientific data regarding real climate change. Global warming and cooling have been cyclical every 100,000 years for at least the last half million years. Scientific data shows the temperature of our current warming cycle peaked 8,000 years ago and has been cooling since. Moreover, this peak is not as warm as it was in 3 of the past 5 cyclical warming peaks between the last five ice ages. And lastly, you’ll understand that temperatures are volatile, with wide swings in the short term (centuries, sometimes even less)—not stable—as is shown in every long-term temperature proxy data set (such as glacial ice cores).
You’ll understand how melting glaciers: created cataclysmic fresh water floods worldwide, raised sea levels 400 feet above coastal lowlands and valleys such as under the Persian Gulf, Black Sea, Bering Sea, and the English Channel, recreated a rain cycle turning former deserts like the Sahara into savannas and arable land in much of what had been and is now again the Sahara Desert, Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter, the Indus Valley, and Mesopotamia.
You’ll see how man took advantage of our current global warming cycle to develop agriculture and produce excess crops, thus freeing up other men for creative activities. This led to a proliferation of labor-saving inventions, freeing up more time and enabling rapid progress in man’s ability to stabilize his living conditions. Capping these improvements was the invention of written language and recorded history.
Finally, you’ll come to understand the formation and interaction of many ancient cultures in Mesopotamia, the Eurasian Steppes, Levant, Egypt, Indus Valley, and the coast-lands of the Arabian and Red Seas.
Explore the site, including the tabs and drop-downs. The easy way to find any keyword is to use the Search bar in the upper right corner of each page. To see a list of post titles #1 through #126, click Posts Index at the top of the page. The easiest way to get to those early posts is to copy its title from the Posts Index and put it in the Search Bar. The easiest way to research your specific interest is also the Search bar. The blog archives are organized by month at the bottom right column on each page.
Please feel free to comment using the boxes on each page. I’ll respond to each comment and steer you to other sources.
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke