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The Great Pyramid's Greatest Secret (Hidden in Plain Sight)


Scott Creighton

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Enough with the personal attacks and bickering please.

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On 9/2/2023 at 9:57 AM, Wepwawet said:

It's curious then that Giulio Magli in his work "Architecture, Astronomy and sacred landscape in Ancient Egypt", 2013, makes not the slightest mention that he sees anything that could indicate that the "world turned upside down".

More from Magli:

On the astronomical orientation of the IV dynasty Egyptian pyramids and the dating of the second Giza pyramid.

All in all, since there is no striking evidence for the standard chronology between the two pyramids, the possibility of an inverse chronology [G2 was built before G1] suggested by purely astronomical data cannot be rejected on available purely archeological data.

Akhet Khufu: archaeo-astronomical hints at a common project of the two main pyramids of Giza, Egypt.

Combining already known facts together with new clues, the work strongly supports the idea that the two complexes were conceived as parts of a common project.

See discussion HERE.

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14 hours ago, Piney said:

It is, but it's one of many. We have more advanced climate modeling methods and nobody knows now. It will be warmer here and there will be colder winters in Europe. 

We are at the tipping point though and the current Ice Age has officially ended. 

I’ll have to move my butt into gear and get myself up to date. So at this point in time we aren’t merely in another interglacial period of the most recent Ice Age, we’ve moved beyond it. Interesting.

I believe that there are still areas undergoing isostatic rebound. So amazing to think about how the massive weight of the ice caps effected the topography of the land.

Edited by Antigonos
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19 minutes ago, Thanos5150 said:

More from Magli:

On the astronomical orientation of the IV dynasty Egyptian pyramids and the dating of the second Giza pyramid.

All in all, since there is no striking evidence for the standard chronology between the two pyramids, the possibility of an inverse chronology [G2 was built before G1] suggested by purely astronomical data cannot be rejected on available purely archeological data.

Akhet Khufu: archaeo-astronomical hints at a common project of the two main pyramids of Giza, Egypt.

Combining already known facts together with new clues, the work strongly supports the idea that the two complexes were conceived as parts of a common project.

See discussion HERE.

I believe RCD also showed that parts of G2 were slightly older than G1…?

Edited by Antigonos
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10 minutes ago, Antigonos said:

I’ll have to move my butt into gear and get myself up to date. So at this point in time we aren’t merely in another interglacial period of the most recent Ice Age, we’ve moved beyond it. Interesting.

I believe that there are still areas undergoing isostatic rebound. So amazing to think about how the massive weight of the ice caps effected the topography of the land.

Areas of the Great Lakes region are still in isostatic rebound.

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14 hours ago, Piney said:

We are at the tipping point though and the current Ice Age has officially ended. 

Says who...?  The Quaternary Ice Age, which started c. 2.5mya, is still going on which we are in the current interglacial stage. The last glacial period ended c. 12,000ya. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Antigonos said:

I believe RCD also showed that parts of G2 were slightly older than G1…?

Yeah. On average, a little less than 50yrs. Abu Roash dates even older.  

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18 minutes ago, Thanos5150 said:

Says who...?  The Quaternary Ice Age, which started c. 2.5mya, is still going on which we are in the current interglacial stage. The last glacial period ended c. 12,000ya. 

 

 Research by Jason Box show the Greenland ice sheet tipping point started in 2021 and is now in effect. We have about 4 more to go. 

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 

'Faster than Forecast, Climate Impacts Trigger Tipping Points in the Earth System' David Spratt

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20 minutes ago, Thanos5150 said:

Yeah. On average, a little less than 50yrs. Abu Roash dates even older.  

Thanks for the link. It’s a helpful breakdown. I’ve been trying to familiarize myself with the actual process to better understand the results and their implications.

Abu Roash’s dates continue to intrigue, as does the First Dynasty presence there and Djedefre’s later fascination with the place.

It’s too bad no RCD was done at Zawiyet el-Aryan. The sites are nearly identical, it would be very interesting if similar dates were obtained for ZeA.

Out of all the options it makes the most sense to me personally that G1 and G2 were built concurrently and as national projects.

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1 hour ago, Thanos5150 said:

More from Magli:

On the astronomical orientation of the IV dynasty Egyptian pyramids and the dating of the second Giza pyramid.

All in all, since there is no striking evidence for the standard chronology between the two pyramids, the possibility of an inverse chronology [G2 was built before G1] suggested by purely astronomical data cannot be rejected on available purely archeological data.

Akhet Khufu: archaeo-astronomical hints at a common project of the two main pyramids of Giza, Egypt.

Combining already known facts together with new clues, the work strongly supports the idea that the two complexes were conceived as parts of a common project.

See discussion HERE.

I would concur that it is highly likely that Giza, and beyond, was planned. Magli makes an interesting observation about how Giza would have looked from Heliopolis, as just one large pyramid, and I guess Cairo will obscure the view today.

That any pyramid is aligned with Heliopolis is not a mystery, but three stacked up one behind the other so that only G1 is visible from Heliopolis, and conversely G2 and G3, while aligned on one corner with Heliopolis, do not have a direct sight line to Heliopolis, is a mystery.

This is nothing more than thinking out loud, but having this progression from large to small reminds of the layout of temples which get smaller as you progress through them, though this is not applicable to extant temples, or the foundations of, of OK temples, but the principle of diminishing in size to a "hidden" area in religious monuments, or even within their minds, may be long standing. It's just an idea that presents itself.

This quote from Magli is pertinent here for the OP

"Unfortunately, thus, a noisy background
of non-scientific theories tends to interfere with any serious approach to the structural, technical and
anthropological problems posed by such wonderful monuments. In particular, it is easy to find
books (or websites) plenty of strange triangulations, criss-crossing lines or even complex curves
traced on maps of the Plateau, which should allegedly represent the hidden legacy of the pyramid
builders."

 

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1 hour ago, Piney said:

 Research by Jason Box show the Greenland ice sheet tipping point started in 2021 and is now in effect. We have about 4 more to go. 

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 

'Faster than Forecast, Climate Impacts Trigger Tipping Points in the Earth System' David Spratt

The "tipping point" doesn't mean this though: "...the current Ice Age has officially ended." 

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19 minutes ago, Wepwawet said:

This is nothing more than thinking out loud, but having this progression from large to small reminds of the layout of temples which get smaller as you progress through them, though this is not applicable to extant temples, or the foundations of, of OK temples, but the principle of diminishing in size to a "hidden" area in religious monuments, or even within their minds, may be long standing. It's just an idea that presents itself.

G2 would not be diminished to the observer. Because of its elevation on the plateau it actually appears taller/larger than G1. 

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15 minutes ago, Thanos5150 said:

The "tipping point" doesn't mean this though: "...the current Ice Age has officially ended." 

Nah that's my personal sarcastic observation watching trees dying off, ecosystems moving North and glaciers disappearing while protestors do nothing but act like asses and attack renewable energy that could work for now. 

 

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1 hour ago, Thanos5150 said:

G2 would not be diminished to the observer. Because of its elevation on the plateau it actually appears taller/larger than G1. 

It would need to be seen what the view at ground level from Heliopolis was. A decent physical copy of a topographical map of Cairo would help in determining this, or finding work done by a surveyor previously, that's if anybody has ever thought of this before, probably not as the line from Giza to Heliopolis is the one that interests people, not what can be seen in the reverse direction.

Edit: The height of the Giza plataeu above sea level at the NE corner of G1 is 185 ft. The mean height above sea level of Cairo is 75 ft, and Heliopolis is not on a hill in Cairo so will be around that height. I would think that from Heliopolis on the direct line of sight running through G1 and G2, G2 will be obscured, but this would need a proper survey to be sure.

Edited by Wepwawet
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16 hours ago, Thanos5150 said:

More from Magli:

On the astronomical orientation of the IV dynasty Egyptian pyramids and the dating of the second Giza pyramid.

All in all, since there is no striking evidence for the standard chronology between the two pyramids, the possibility of an inverse chronology [G2 was built before G1] suggested by purely astronomical data cannot be rejected on available purely archeological data.

I don't see how that's plausible.  If Khafre built first, then he also spent 20 years building a cenotaph and both a valley temple and a funerary temple and boat pits for his father?  Or are you suggesting that Khufu built the smaller pyramid first and then decided that he wasn't particularly fond of it so he built a second and larger one?

The logbooks of Merer (Diary of Merer - Wikipedia) indicate he's bringing stone for the Akhet of Khufu and supports the traditional idea of building G1 and then G2 and G3.

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1 hour ago, Kenemet said:

The logbooks of Merer (Diary of Merer - Wikipedia) indicate he's bringing stone for the Akhet of Khufu and supports the traditional idea of building G1 and then G2 and G3.

This is simply not true.  There is nothing in this to indicate that G2 was or was not in existence at this time.  

Indeed, even that he was hauling stone to Giza is not well supported by the log.  we know he delivered at least a single stone to Giza but it looks as though he was using a sort of tug boat to load barges rather than hauling stone.  Nothing in the log book supports any Egyptological theory other than that stones were hauled from Turah to Giza long after Egyptology believed Khufu had died.  People are imagining things in this log that simply do not exist.  Nothing in the log book even supports the Egyptological theory that any pyramid was a tomb.  There is no support for the assumption that cladding stones were hauled at the end of the project and not at the beginning.  There is almost no support anywhere for the great pyramids being tombs.  This is an assumption. No direct historical, cultural, or physical evidence supports the concept.  

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On 9/4/2023 at 2:00 PM, Wepwawet said:

It would need to be seen what the view at ground level from Heliopolis was. A decent physical copy of a topographical map of Cairo would help in determining this, or finding work done by a surveyor previously, that's if anybody has ever thought of this before, probably not as the line from Giza to Heliopolis is the one that interests people, not what can be seen in the reverse direction.

Edit: The height of the Giza plataeu above sea level at the NE corner of G1 is 185 ft. The mean height above sea level of Cairo is 75 ft, and Heliopolis is not on a hill in Cairo so will be around that height. I would think that from Heliopolis on the direct line of sight running through G1 and G2, G2 will be obscured, but this would need a proper survey to be sure.

The region of modern Cairo where Heliopolis was once located is the districts of Masr El Gedida and El Nozha.  These places have many tall(ish) buildings densely packed together.  I doubt any view of the pyramids from there is possible anymore, nor have I found an image from there that shows any long view.  I remember from one of my stays that the pyramids could be seen from Maadi district, but it is elevated topographically and too southern to be useful.  However, from there I remember that G2 seemed taller, fwiw.

Edited by Wistman
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1 hour ago, Wistman said:

The region of modern Cairo where Heliopolis was once located is the districts of Masr El Gedida and El Nozha.  These places have many tall(ish) buildings densely packed together.  I doubt any view of the pyramids from there is possible anymore, nor have I found an image from there that shows any long view.  I remember from one of my stays that the pyramids could be seen from Maadi district, but it is elevated topographically and too southern to be useful.  However, from there I remember that G2 seemed taller, fwiw.

Yes, there are hills running along the eastern and southern edge of Cairo and there are a number of images of Giza from the hills, and G2 does look higher from this angle, because of course it is. I think the only way that G2 would be visible on a direct line of site from Heliopolis is if the "raised platform" which the temple/s sat on was of considerable height, or you sat on top of an obelisk. But, no obelisks in the Fourth Dynasty, and the remnants of the raised area are dated to no earlier than the Twelth Dynasty. It seems from the recent German led excavations that there had always been a naturally occuring sandy mound at Heliopolis, but not a hill by any means.

A further point to my original post is that G2 and G3 could have been built with a direct sight line to Heliopolis, that there is an alignment running from the SW to the NE on the SE corner of each pyramid is not, in my opinion, a real sight line, for instance if you stand anywhere along the east face of G2 and G3 you will not see Heliopolis, and Heliopolis will not see you, perhaps the important factor. So why then obscure G2 and G3 behind G1, I don't know, but they are. My suggestion that they show the AE desire in temple architecture, though not in the OK, to start with a big front and get smaller and smaller  to the "holy of holies" is I'll admit just flying a kite, but, there is something from later pyramids which could be a thing, though only tentatively. The Fifth Dynasty pyramids are not all on a sight line to Heliopolis due to topographical reasons, so as this site line was important to them, they built the sun temples with a sightline to Heliopolis and to the pyramid, a sort of "relay station", and I hesitate to use this phrase as it can imply all manner of things that get us into murky water. So, perhaps at Giza it did not actually matter that G2 and G3 do not have a sightline to Heliopolis as G1 does, and they are stacked up behind it. Reasons, I just don't know.

Edited by Wepwawet
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4 hours ago, Kenemet said:

I don't see how that's plausible.  If Khafre built first, then he also spent 20 years building a cenotaph and both a valley temple and a funerary temple and boat pits for his father? 

I don't think you are getting how this would/could work.  

Quote

Or are you suggesting that Khufu built the smaller pyramid first and then decided that he wasn't particularly fond of it so he built a second and larger one?

What is your malfunction with this "...or are you suggesting..." nonsense of yours? What did I just say HERE. You are just making something up based on your own bias and limited understanding of the facts and then imposing an absurd position on me accordingly that only exists because of what you made up in the first place. Please stop. This is Magli's opinion which the point of citing it for one is that @Wepwawet mentioned Magli who in fact believes not only might there be issues with this chronology, but also that there was some form of planning that included more than one pyramid which is context for what we are discussing.

The flaw in this for me is assuming Khafre started let alone was even alive when the G2 project began. Like I said before, Kawab was next in line for the throne but died prematurely which we are left to wonder how much of the project was completed before his death. As noted HERE Lehner says of G2's exterior:

"Apart from the bottom course of outer casing in granite, the pyramid was cloaked in Turah limestone. Only the upper quarter of the casing remains-apparently a reflection of the robbers' practice of stripping first the corners and base then working upwards [which we can see is not actually the case and is reffering to the BP]. Just beneath the lowest surviving course of casing stones, a band of regular stepped core stone is visible. The rest of the surface down the face-the greater part of the pyramid-consists of very rough, irregular loose stones.

What is this lose lower band? Is it packing between core and casing, exposed when the casing was torn away? That seems likely until, climbing the corners of the pyramid, one sees that this irregular masonry seems to continue for some depth into the pyramid body. The discontinuity might indicate different building styles, perhaps even a hiatus and then resumption of building. Alternatively the core masonry may have been laid in a more regular fashion towards the top in order to allow the builders greater control."

If one reads that post in in it's entirety there is definitely something amiss with G2: The Khafre Enigma which for several reasons does not make much sense Khafre was the one who at the very least began G2. 

Quote

The logbooks of Merer (Diary of Merer - Wikipedia) indicate he's bringing stone for the Akhet of Khufu and supports the traditional idea of building G1 and then G2 and G3.

It most certainly does not. As has been beaten to death here and elsewhere, he is bringing stone to Akhet Khufu, the necropolis, not the "Akhet of Khufu".  I cite here for convenience: G1 and the Merer Diary-Separating Fact from Fiction.

Previous conversations, at the very least, have definitively answered the question of whether it is a "fact" Merer brought the stone to be used on G1 as a decisive no. Yet despite this some posters still persist on repeating this misrepresentation as if this were not the case.

Once again, we do not need to wonder about these things as we can read the Merer Diary for ourselves HERE. Again, nowhere does the Merer Diary, or the other related papyri found at the Wadi al-Jarf site, state or imply this stone is to be used as casing stones in the construction of G1 with this idea being nothing more than the initial opinion of one of the principle discoverers, Pierre Tallet, repeated so often to some it has become "fact".

As I have said many times, there are numerous other structures at Akhet Khufu, which again in context refers to the necropolis of G1 and not necessarily G1 itself, that required Tura limestone namely the surrounding mastabas, satellite pyramids, temples and the G1 causeway (which we can add the cover blocks of the boat pits to the list) which given the date of the Merer Diary to the 27th and probably last year of Khufu's reign makes these other structures almost certainly the most likely destinations of the stone.

While these same posters ballyhooed the recent book by Pierre Tallet and Mark Lehner, The Red Sea Scrolls, unfortunately they apparently did not bother to actually read it despite being hailed as "Required reading for all interested in the ancient world."

Quote

The year of Merer and the Stones he brought

Merer and his men delivered the fine Tura limestone to the Great Pyramid in the penultimate year (26-27) of Khufu's reign. It is therefore unlikely that any of this stone was raised onto the pyramid itself for the casing. Although the pyramid builders set in place the casing stone from the bottom up as the pyramid rose, they trimmed it from the top down, as they removed ramps and embankments that may have cloaked the face of the pyramid. Judging from the elements Khafre and Menkuare left incomplete in their pyramid complexes, the valley temple and lower causeway were among the last major part of the pyrmaid complex to be built. Entrance to the pyramid itself was only accessed through the valley temple and up the long causeway. Finishing work could very well have been in progress on these lower features of Khufu's pyramid complex at the time Merer was eyewitness to its construction.

Tallet and Lehner continue pondering other possibilities where the limestone was used since "It is therefore unlikely that any of this stone was raised onto the pyramid itself for the casing." including asking the question "Could some of the Tura limestone Merer delivered have been used for the mastabas?" Or perhaps they were used for the "massive beams for roofing and sealing the rectangular pits on the south side of his pyramid for the cedar barques that would be used for Khufu's funeral"....

In conclusion, even Tallet and Lehner do not think Merer was transporting limestone from Tura for casing and instead have acquiesced to what I have been saying all along that the context and logistics more than likely instead support the stone being used for ancillary structures after G1 was already completed. If you see these posters stating as fact again that Merer transported the stone from Tura to be used as casing stones, just refer back here and call them out for what in no uncertain terms they would be- liars.

By the by for those who do not know "Merrell" is our very own Windowpane. For those interested I recommend reading through the entire post of our exchanges. 

Regardless, there is literally nothing in the Merer Diary that "...supports the traditional idea of building G1 and then G2 and G3.". 

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On 9/5/2023 at 5:15 PM, Thanos5150 said:

I don't think you are getting how this would/could work.  

Correct.  I have yet to see a coherent timeline presentation on this.  Oh, I've seen scolding remarks, lectures, etc, etc... but to date there hasn't been a simple sit down and presentation of a timeline.  Scenarios seem vague and full of hand-wavium.

Quote

The flaw in this for me is assuming Khafre started let alone was even alive when the G2 project began. Like I said before, Kawab was next in line for the throne but died prematurely which we are left to wonder how much of the project was completed before his death.  

All of it, plus the causeway and the temples.  They didn't spend many years building a monument after the death of an individual.  Work on tombs was stopped when the owner died - which is why Djedefre's pyramid is unfinished.  The temples in particular were important since this is where the pharaoh's body was received and where final ceremonies and preparations took place.

As to the mastabas, the ones I'm referencing are in GIS Cemetery GIS - Wikipedia and are attributed to the reign of Menkaure.  I don't think it makes sense to spend however much time it took to construct three pyramids to "point" to something and then set down a bunch of tombs (and enclosure walls) that block the line of sight.

The king controlled who was buried where on the plateau.  So that means that either the "master plan" included line of sight blocking mastabas and wall enclosures... or there was no "master plan" for the whole area that existed at the time the first pyramid was erected -- OR that the "master plan" isn't pointing where you think it points.

 

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4 hours ago, Kenemet said:

All of it, plus the causeway and the temples.  They didn't spend many years building a monument after the death of an individual.  Work on tombs was stopped when the owner died - which is why Djedefre's pyramid is unfinished.  The temples in particular were important since this is where the pharaoh's body was received and where final ceremonies and preparations took place.

This is illogical if the great pyramids really took as long to build as is believed.  The older someone gets the greater his chance of dying.  If pyramids require a significant fraction of a lifetime to build then logically some would be incomplete.  Djedefre's Pyramid does not count in this equation since it would have been a tiny little pipsqueak pyramid iff it was even going to be a pyramid at all.  

Perhaps great pyramids aren't named after the "builder" at all but rather named after the individual who "ascended" on them as the Pyramid Texts suggests.  This would explain why all the great pyramids are complete despite taking decades to build.  

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26 minutes ago, cladking said:

 

Perhaps great pyramids aren't named after the "builder" at all but rather named after the individual who "ascended" on them as the Pyramid Texts suggests.  This would explain why all the great pyramids are complete despite taking decades to build.  

Cue hypothesis on the possibility that G2 was not completed as originally planned. It involves the ground plan and the lower entrance being below ground, and subsequently blocked by the builders, plus what seems to be a burial chamber, or was intended to be a burial chamber if Khafre died by that point in construction. It may all be wrong, but it has merit. And, I defy you or anybody to not wince at his pronunciation of "chamber"

 

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7 hours ago, cladking said:

This is illogical if the great pyramids really took as long to build as is believed.  The older someone gets the greater his chance of dying. 

And most pharaohs lived very long lives.  20 years for a project was very doable... and of course the smaller pyramids took less time.

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Further to my two previous posts which presented archaeological and climatological evidence of an Earth cataclysm between 2500-2300 BCE, here now is some geological evidence from the 3rd and final paper by M. M. Mandelkehr that adds to the sizeable body of evidence of this cataclysmic event in remote antiquity.

An Integrated Model for an Earthwide Event at 2300 BC - PART III: THE GEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE

Crustal Movements

The most significant aspect of the geological evidence is the crustal movements that apparently began at about the same time around 2300 BC at many regions on the Earth. These movements may have been detected by sea level changes along the boundaries of land areas, or by inland hydrological changes resulting in the shifting of natural water channels. The global nature of the reported crustal changes is shown in Figure 1 (below), where shaded areas indicate regions of change. In almost all cases, the notion of crustal tilting or deformation is that determined and expressed by the investigators, rather than being interpreted or surmised by myself.

image.png.11b09547e8e9f25a1921f3f046153621.png 

Several teams of geologists have independently concluded that the Atlantic coast of the United States encountered differential warping starting some time around 2300 BC. . . Before 2300 BC, the sea level rise was about the same for three regions (Cape Cod, Virginia and E. Massachusetts). At 2300 BC, there was an apparent localised coastal uplift in the central eastern region followed at later times by localised uplifts in the other regions to the north and south of the central region. Each uplift is not a sudden change in vertical position, but a change in upward rate of movement. . . - W. S. Newman, G. A. Rusnak: Holocene Submergence of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Science 148 (1965), pp. 1464, 1465; see also D. W. Scholl, M. Stuvier: Recent Submergence of Southern Florida: A Comparison with Adjacent Coasts and other Eustatic Data, Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 78 (1967), pp. 447-450; A. C. Redfield: Postglacial Change in Sea Level in the Western North Atlantic Ocean, Science 157 (1957), pp. 687-692; and M. Stuvier, J. J. Daddario: Submergence of the New Jersey Coast, Science 142 (1963), p. 951

 One thing is certain. The three regional discontinuities, separated in time from each other by several hundred years, are not explicable in terms of global sea level change. Furthermore, the rate of relative sea level change after the uplift was not the same for the three regions. - Redfield: Postglacial Change in Sea Level in the Western North Atlantic Ocean', Science 157 (1957), pp. 690, 691; see also Newman, Rusnak: Holocene Submergence of the Eastern Shore of Virginia', Science 148 (1965), p. 1466

 This culture has been determined to have occupied the island from about 4000 BC. The entire Palo Hueco Phase was found to be sealed throughout its extent by a culturally sterile sand cap after 2400 BC, apparently corresponding to a major inundation shortly after that time. The cultural remains above the sand cap are dated at about 1700 BC, indicating the length of time before being occupied by a new culture [4]. The conclusion reached by the investigator was that the Mexican coast experienced a long term subsidence at the same time that the Florida region apparently underwent uplift. - M. D. Coe, D. Grove: The Olmec and Their Neighbors (Dunbarton Oaks, 1981), pp. 181-183.

Fronting the ancient shoreline at Pampa las Salinas, on the north-central Peruvian coast, is a series of nine beach ridges extending 5 kilometres to the west. These ridges originate at the mouth of the Santa River and consist of longshore current deposits of marine sand and river cobbles. It has been suggested that these beach ridges represent lateral accretion associated with major El Nino events, possibly accompanied by episodic tectonic uplift and/or sea level lowering. The El Nino phenomenon has been described in the climatology article as a catastrophic configuration of atmospheric and ocean current flow. A radiocarbon assay on a mollusc specimen, corrected for known lower radiocarbon levels along the coast, provides a data of around 2300 BC for the oldest ridge west of the shoreline, possibly representing the initial El Nino event. - H. B. Rollins, J. B. Richardson III, D. H. Sandweiss: The Birth of El Nino: Geoarchaeological Evidence and Implications, Geoarchaeology 1 (1986), p. 9; see also D. H. Sandweiss: The Beach Ridges at Santa, Peru: El Nino, Uplift and Prehistory, Geoarchaeology 1 (1986), p. 22.

There is also evidence of crustal warping along the Nigerian coast around the time period of interest. Dead coral thickets on the Nigerian continental shelf testify to the growth of coral up to about 2400 BC. The coral grew at a depth of about 40 metres in a horizontal layer where the sea temperature was suitable for its growth: this coral growth apparently occurred during a period of stable sea levels which lasted until about 2400 BC. At that time, downwarping of the region plunged the coral into lower, colder water in which the coral could not survive. Evidence indicates that the coral level dropped 15 metres, an unusually large drop in geological terms, in the first 1000 years after 2400 BC. Furthermore, a differential subsidence of the order of 15 metres along the coast has also been determined. The tilting or warping of the coast allowed some of the coral to live after other thickets further along the coast died from lower temperatures at lower depths. - R. L. Allen, J. W. Wells: Holocene Coral Banks and Subsidence in the Niger Delta, Journal of Geology 70 (1962), pp. 381-397.

 A comparative study was conducted on sea level changes at three locations along 170 kilometres of southwestern Australian coast. As shown in Figure 4, the sea levels at each of the sites are markedly different, leading to the conclusion that local tectonic processes occurred. Of the greatest interest is the abrupt sea level drop at 2300 BC at Leschenault. - V. Semeniuk, D. J. Searle: Variability of Holocene Sealevel History Along the Southwestern Coast of Australia - Evidence for the Effect of Significant Local Tectonism, Marine Geology 72 (1986), pp. 47-57.

 image.png.ca4dd86a5714e1e6b138cb251e9637bb.png

 

The West Caroline Islands, just north of New Guinea, exist on a tectonically unstable ridge. Two of the islands in the group, Koror Island and Babelthuap Island, are separated from each other by the very narrow Toegel Channel. A somewhat unusual pattern of tectonic behaviour is reported for these two islands. Koror apparently experienced crustal subsidence at an increasing rate from about 4300 BC, reaching a rate of about 6 metres per thousand years at about 2000 BC. On the other hand, Babelthuap seems to have been fairly stable from 6000 BC. Starting at about 2000 BC, both islands have been determined to have undergone uplift, with a total 2 metre cumulative to present. The authors comment that sedi-mentation might have been a contributor to the measurement, but that they favour tectonic processes as the causal factor. - W. H. Easton, T. Ku: Holocene Sea-Level Changes in Palau, West Caroline Islands, Quaternary Research 14 (1980), pp. 199-208.

Mohenjodaro, a major Harappan city, was found to have seven occupation levels, separated by unusually thick layers of fine silt. In one case, the silt layer thickness between occupation levels was two metres. The earliest occupation level was found 30 metres below present surface level. There is evidence that the Harappans struggled against the encroaching mud, at one point constructing huge mud-brick platforms. - R. L. Raikes: The End of the Ancient Cities of the Indus, American Anthropologist 66 (1964); see also R. L. Raikes: The Mohenjo-Daro Floods, Antiquity 39 (1965), pp. 196, 197.

All indications are that the Harappan civilisation was ultimately wiped out because of silt gradually covering their settlements. The current position on the subject is that it is highly likely there was an uplift or series of uplifts around 2300 BC that interfered with the flow of one of the branches of the Indus and caused annual shallow flooding over a fairly wide area. This shallow flooding caused deposition of silt that would normally be carried to the sea. - Raikes: The Mohenjo-Daro Floods: The Debate Continues, South Asian Archaeology 1 (1977), pp. 561-566.

 The hypothesis of an uplift in the Indus Valley is strengthened by a similar event in a marshy salt plain called the Little Rann of Kutch, located about 250 kilo- metres southeast of Mohenjo-daro. The sedimentation in this area is characterised by a sandy layer extending from about 7000 to 2200 BC, overlain by a silty clay layer dating from 2200 BC to 500 AD. - S. K. Gupta: Silting of the Rann of Kutch During Holocene, Indian Journal of Earth Sciences 2 (1975), pp. 163, 188; see also S. K. Gupta: Holocene Silting in the Little Rann of Kutch, contained in D. P. Agarawal, B. M. Pande (eds): Ecology and Archaeology of Western Europe (Concept, 1976), pp. 201-205.

An associated report is that the Saurashtra coast, just south of the Rann of Kutch underwent uplift some time around 2500 BC. The investigator based his finding on radiocarbon dating of coral reefs and fossil beach deposits along the coast. The sedimentation stratigraphy is very likely a result of the uplift. The sedimentation dating provides a more precise date for the Saurashtra uplift, and correlates well with the Indus Valley uplift. - Gupta: Silting of the Rann of Kutch During Holocene, Indian Journal of Earth Sciences 2 (1975), pp. 181, 190.

There is a serious speculation that, at the same time as the uplift at 2300 BC, the sea may have extended into a region in the southern Indus Valley. This speculation is based on the absence of Harappan sites in that region despite a very extensive search; and the strange distribution of other Harappan sites not located near the coast or near rivers. These sites appear to be located around the periphery of an area that might have been flooded at that time. - Raikes: The End of the Ancient Cities of the Indus, American Anthropologist 66 (1964), pp. 291-293.

Lothal, a Harappan southern coastal city, was found to experience a first major flood about 2350 BC. Despite rebuilding of dockyard and other structures, repeated flooding apparently occurred until 1900 BC when all buildings were destroyed, and there was a virtual end to site occupation. - S. K. Seth: The Desiccation of the Thar Desert and its Environs During the Protohistorical and Historical Periods, contained in W. C. Brice (ed):

The Environmental History of the Middle East Since the Last Ice Age (Academic Press, 1978), p. 298; see also S. R. Rao: Lothal and the Indus Civilization (Asia, 1972), pp. 52-59, 180.

About 500 kilometres to the northwest of the Indus Valley is the Sistan region, located approximately on the border between Iran and Afghanistan. It was in this region that the Hilmand culture expanded and flourished until its decline at about 2200 BC. Two sources speculate that the depopulation at about 2200 BC was caused by a crustal movement that shifted the location of rivers in the region. The combination of worsened hydrological conditions and the drier climate at that time turned the region into desert. - M. Alessio et alios: University of Rome Carbon-14 Dates XVI, Radiocarbon 20 (1978), p. 94; see also L. Constantini, M. Tosi: The Environment of Southern Sistan in the Third Millennium BC, and its Exploitation by the Proto-Urban Hilmand Civilization, contained in Brice: The Environmental History of the Middle East Since the Last Ice Age (Academic Press, 1978), pp. 175, 176.

The possibility of tectonic movements is further strengthened by reports of similar hydrological changes in the Tezden delta, located in Turkestan, just across the northeastern Iran boundary, about 700 kilometres almost due north of the Sistan delta. Some time around 2300 BC, the Tezden delta started silting up, and established water channels apparently changed their courses. The river delta shifted considerably to the south. The investigator came to the conclusion that ‘undoubtedly, the river suffered a great hydrological pressure under neotectonic phenomena in the Turasian plain.’ The region was completely deserted at this time, with the population moving to new sites. This movement co-incides with the designated cultural change from Namazga III to Namazga IV. - S. P. Gupta: Archaeology of Soviet Central Asia, and the Indian Borderlands, vol.2 (B.R. Pub., 1979), pp. 109, 137-144.

 Another region is the Uzboi valley, supported by the Amu Daryu river, about 500 kilometres to the east of the Tezden delta. This valley was also reported to have been affected by hydrological changes before 2000 BC, and was also deserted. There were apparently no new settlements in this region for 2000 years. - S. P. Gupta: Archaeology of Soviet Central Asia, and the Indian Borderlands, vol.2 (B.R. Pub., 1979), pp. 15.

 Possible crustal movements reported in the Mediterranean area are summarised in Figure 6. A significant crustal deformation may have occurred around 2300 BC along the eastern region of the Mediterranean Sea where a major portion of the Israeli coast was found to have been downwarped and submerged. This tectonic movement is considered to be part of a more regional process in which the coastal plain, shelf and slope of Israel were arched. About 1500 years later, a portion of the coast underwent uplift above sea level. The older marine shells collected at that time from areas that were previously submerged have been dated by calibrated radiocarbon measurements to about 2300 BC. This would indicate the most probable date for the initial crustal deformation and submergence, since the dating of the marine organisms represents the earliest time that the land was under water. - D. Neev, N. Bakler, S. Moshkovitz, A. Kaufman, M. Magaritz, R. Gofna: Recent Faulting Along the Mediterranean Coast of Israel, Nature 245 (1973), pp. 254-256.

 

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 A relatively high general sea level starting about 2200 BC has been reported for the Mediterranean Sea. - H. H. Lamb: Climate, Vegetation and Forest Limits in Early Civilized Times, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. A 276 (1974), p. 209.

This is counter to what would be expected from the onset of more arid conditions described in my previous article, and might be due to regional subsidence. The subsidence appears to be linked to the fairly sudden soil salinisation determined to have occurred in Mesopotamia shortly after 2400 BC. The salinisation is thought to be the product of a rising water table relative to subsiding land. - T. Jacobsen, R. M. Adams: Salt and Silt in Ancient Mesopotamian Agriculture, Science 128 (1958), p. 1252; see also T. Jacobsen: Salinity and Irrigation Agriculture in Antiquity, Bibliotheca Mesopotamia 14 (1982).

The earliest mention of salinisation affecting agriculture occurs in the documents of Girsu, about 2400 BC. By 2100 BC, sporadic salinisation appears to be present throughout the region from the Euphrates in the west to the Tigris in the east. The situation can be dramatised by presenting records of that time of the proportion of wheat to the more salt-resistant barley. The percentage of wheat in the overall crops was 16.3 percent in 2400 BC, where salinisation was gradually increasing. It dropped sharply to 3.0 percent in 2300 BC, and then decreased to 1.9 percent in 2100 BC. - T. Jacobsen, R. M. Adams: Salt and Silt in Ancient Mesopotamian Agriculture, Science 128 (1958), pp. 13, 16, 39, 53.

Radiocarbon dating of shell materials from beach deposits on the Persian Gulf coast shows a recent uplift on the western coast of Saudi Arabia, 15 kilometres north of Al Jubail. The time of the uplift is set at about 2300 BC by the dated material. - A. P. Ridley, M. W. Seeley: Evidence for Recent Coastal Uplift Near Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia, Tectonophysics 52 (1979), pp. 319, 324, 326.

The last item is the crustal warping of Anatolia (Turkey) as indicated by three measured curves of relative sea level rise rates at various points on the Black Sea coast. The curves. . . show dissimilar sea level rise rates starting some time around 2300 BC, indicating possible crustal warping. - E. N. Nevessky: Holocene History of the Coastal Shelf Zone of the USSR in Relation with Processes of Sedimentation and Condition of Concentration of Useful Minerals, Quaternaria 12 (1970), p. 81.

 

Sea Level Changes and Glacier Activity

The Earth ended a major ice age about 10,000 years ago, with the last of the glacier melting about 6000 years ago. The sea level rise after 6000 BC is considered to be the result of isostatic rebound of the ocean floors after responding earlier to loading due to the post-glaciation melting. The general sea level rise between 7000 BC and 2500/2000 BC is about 35 to 40 metres. . . at about 2500/2000 BC there is a relatively sudden decrease in the rate of rise of sea level. - H. H. Lamb: Climate, Vegetation and Forest Limits in Early Civilized Times, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. A 276 (1974), p. 207.

In addition. . . investigations in other geographical locations also report similar local sea level discontinuities between 2500 and 2000 BC:

United States Northern Pacific Coast - C. J. Heusser: Some Comparisons Between Climatic Changes in Northwestern North America and Patagonia, contained in F. N. Furness (ed): Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 95 (1961), p. 655.

Isthmus of Panama - A. S. Bartlett, E. S. Barghoorn: Phytogeographic History of the Isthmus of Panama During the Past 12,000 Years, contained in A. Graham (ed): Vegetation and Vegetational History of Northern Latin America (Elsevier Scientific, 1973), p. 292.

France - G. Delibrias, M. Guillier, J. Labeyrie: Gif Natural Radiocarbon Measurements IX, Radiocarbon 24 (1982), p. 294; see also D. Prigent, L. Visset, M. T. Morzadec-Kerfourn, J. P. Sautrido: Human Occupation of the Submerged Coast of the Massif Armoricain and Postglacial Sea Level Changes, contained in P. M. Masters, N. C. Fleming (eds): Quaternary Coastlines and Marine Archaeology (Academic Press, 1983), pp. 314, 321.

Netherlands - J. A. Catt: Soils and Quaternary Geology (Clarendon, 1986), p. 147.

Southwest England - H. Barker, C. J. Mackey: British Museum Natural Radiocarbon Measurements I, Radiocarbon 1 (1959), pp. 85, 86; see also E. H. Willis: Marine Transgression Sequences in the English Fenlands, contained in R. W. Fairbridge (ed): Solar Variations, Climatic Change, and Related Geophysical Problems, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 95 (1961), pp. 368-375; and J. T. Greensmith, E. V. Tucker: Holocene Transgressions and Regressions on the Essex Coast Outer Thames Boundary, Geologie en Mijnbouw 52 (1973), pp. 195, 197, 201.

West coast of Africa - G. Einsele, D. Herm, H. U. Schwarz: Sea Level Fluctuation During the Past 6000 Years at the Coast of Mauritania, Quaternary Research 4 (1974), p.285; see also N. Petit-Maire: Aspects of Human Activity in the Coastal Occidental Sahara in the Last 10,000 Years, contained in J. A. Allan (ed): The Sahara: Ecological Change and Early Economic History (1981), pp. 81, 83.

Trucial coast of Arabia - C. E. Larsen: The Mesopotamian Delta Region: A Reconsideration of Lees and Falcon, Journal of the American Oriental Society 95 (1975), pp.47, 55.

Japan - S. Horie: Late-Pleistocene Climatic Changes Inferred from the Stratigraphic Sequences of Japanese Lake Sediments, contained in R. B. Morrison, H. E. Wright Jr. (eds): Means of Correlation of Quaternary Successions (University of Utah Press, 1965), p. 317. 

Oahu, Hawaii - W. H. Easton: Submarine Bench at 5 M, Oahu, Hawaii, Bulletin of the Geologic Society of America 84 (1973), pp. 2275, 2278.

French Polynesia - J. Trichet, P. Repellin, P. Oustriere: Stratigraphy and Subsidence of the Muroroa Atoll (French Polynesia), Marine Geology 56 (1984), pp. 241, 250.

Australia - Heusser: Some Comparisons Between Climatic Changes in Northwestern North America and Patagonia, contained in F. N. Furness (ed): Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 95 (1961), p. 653.

New Zealand - Ward: Postglacial Changes in Level of Land and Sea, Geologie en Mijnbouw 50 (1971), p. 706.

 

Summarising, the sea level data presents a unique pattern. An explanation of the pattern has not been developed by the investigators in this field.

 

Earthquakes

The crustal deformations taking place about 2300 BC in the regions of site destruction provide strong support for earthquakes over a wide area occurring over an extended time period. Further confirmation is based on the proximity of the destroyed and abandoned sites to regions of recognised high seismicity. According to currently accepted theory, the Earth's crust is made up of a number of tectonic plates: major earthquake action usually occurs on or near the boundaries of these plates. All of the site destructions reported on in the first article lie along the Alpide zone, starting at the Mediterranean Sea and extending through Asia.

 The high incidence of reported crustal movements in India, the Mediterranean and surrounding areas is largely due to the small size of the tectonic plates in the general Alpide region, and their consequent vulnerability to pressure from the larger surrounding plates. The tectonic configuration in this geographical region is shown in Figure 9 where the tectonic plates are superimposed on the destroyed and abandoned sites delineated in the first article. Further confirmation of the high seismic activity coinciding with the boundaries and site locations is provided by a number of sources based on relatively recent earthquake statistics.

  1.  There is an earthquake region running through Baluchistan (Pakistan) coinciding with the site destructions and the tectonic plate boundary in that region.
  2. There is a dense earthquake region to the southeast and southwest of the Mediterranean coinciding with the site destructions in Syria and Palestine, and the tectonic plate boundary extending through that region.
  3. There is heavy earthquake activity reported in most of Anatolia and Iran, complementing the site destructions in that region.
  4. There is also heavy earthquake activity in Greece, with greater density in the south, corresponding to the comparatively greater site destruction reported in the southern region.   - N. N. Ambraseys: Studies in Historical Seismicity and Tectonics, contained in Brice: The Environmental History of the Middle East Since the Last Ice Age (Academic Press, 1978), p. 191; see also N. N. Ambraseys: Value of Historical Records of Earthquakes, Nature 232 (1971), p. 376; N. Calder: The Restless Earth (Viking, 1972), pp. 18, 31; and F. Press, R. Siever: Earth (Freeman, 1974), p. 102.

The correlation between crustal plate boundaries, reported seismic activity and reported site destruction could be a fairly powerful indicator for earthquakes as a major cause of site destruction. It must be tempered to some extent by the fact that the majority of settlements around 2300 BC appear to be situated about the tectonic plate boundaries because of favourable geographic conditions. However, the pattern of tectonic boundaries and destroyed sites is still impressive.

 

Volcanic Eruptions

There appears to be some indication of greater volcanic activity around 2300 BC based on a recent study [47] involving the compilation of all known dated eruptions in the past. - R. A. Bryson, B. M. Goodman: Volcanic Activity and Climatic Change, Science 207 (1980), pp. 1041-1044. 

From 2470 BC up to (but not including) 2340 BC there are a known total of eight volcanic eruptions, approximately one eruption every 16 years. There is a cluster of eruptions dated at 2340 BC with a gap of 145 years between 2340 and 2195 BC when no eruptions at all occurred. The eruptions start again at that time at about the same rate: from 2195 BC to 2080 BC there are nine eruptions, or one every 12 years.

The pattern might be interpreted as follows. If the geological transient occurred around 2340 BC, it could have been sufficiently large to trigger a number of volcanos that were in the final stage of magma transfer and would normally have erupted during the following 145 years. This would explain the number of eruptions at 2340 BC as well as the absence of eruptions in the following period.

 

Geomagnetic Variation

My investigations have yielded two types of data with no clear relationship between them. Cumulatively they provide an indication that something may have happened to the geomagnetic field some time between 2500 and 2000 BC.

The first set of data consists of three historical curves shown in Figures 12, 13 and 14. The geomagnetic intensity measurements were obtained at specific geographical locations from thermoremanent magnetism measurements on clay objects or lava in:

Czechoslovakia -. V. Bucha: Archaeomagnetic and Palaeomagnetic Study of the Magnetic Field of the Earth in the Past 600,000 years, Nature 213 (1967), p. 1005.

Australia - C. G. Constable: Eastern Australian Geomagnetic Field Intensity Over the past 14,000 Years, Geophysical Journal 81 (1985), p. 129.

Japan - H. Sakai, K. Hirooka: Archaeointensity Determinations from Western Japan, Journal of Geomagnetism and Geoelectrics 38 (1986), p. 1328.

 

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The measurements are plotted with respect to time along a general curve reflecting long-term dipole field variation. Time determination of the points is based on a combination of cultural synchronisation and radiocarbon dating. The three curves have something fairly unusual in common - they show an indication of a possible momentary transient in the Earth's geomagnetic field around 2300 BC.

The time curve shown in Figure 14 is similar to the previous three curves. However, rather than consisting of measurements made at only one geographical location, the time curve was derived from a cumulative statistical treatment of measurements from a large number of locations on the Earth. Again, a distinctive transient shows up at 2300 BC. - V. A. Dergachev, G. E. Kocharov: 'Natural Processes and Time Fluctuations in the Radiocarbon Concentration of the Atmosphere', Radiocarbon 22 (1980), p. 241

The second type of data is derived from thermoremanence measurements of kiln sites and fireplaces in Iran. From the measured values of inclination and declination, the drift in the virtual geomagnetic pole relative to the rotational axis was determined to follow the path shown in Figure 15. In the figure, the drift in the virtual pole exhibits a sudden change in direction at 2300 BC. - R. Burleigh, A. Hewson: 'Evidence for Short Term Atmospheric Carbon14 Variations About 4,000 Years BP', Nature 262 (1976), pp.128-130.

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Starting around 2300 BC, there are a sizeable number of reports of differential coastal sea level changes and hydrological shifts in many regions of the Earth. The crustal changes in essentially all cases are only in the order of metres. However, the changes are definitely noticeable, and were responsible for major cultural changes. A large number of these geological events occur in the cultural regions of previously reported site destruction and abandonment. The crustal movements in some cases were probably a major causal agent for earthquake and site destruction. In other cases, the resultant hydrological changes made it impossible for the people to stay in the region. The geological evidence then establishes an associative link to the archaeological evidence as did the climatological evidence in the previous article.

It must be stressed that a great number of separate crustal movements occurred over a short time around 2300 BC. The relatively small magnitudes of the movements should definitely not be considered to be negligible: the number and global distribution of the crustal movements is unique in recent geological history, and forms a central body of evidence for something unusual happening at that time.

The pattern of changes in sea levels is not as explicit as the crustal movements in providing evidence of unusual geological disturbances. However, the sea level pattern is also unique in terms of the large number and global extent of the discontinuities. The sea level changes have not been able to be explained in terms of either general global sea level variations or glacial advances. Viewing these discontinuities against the background of geographical areas in which a discontinuity did not occur, the alternative explanation would be local tectonic processes. Since the tectonic processes produced discontinuities in the rate of rise in sea level which are negative in almost all cases, the discontinuity pattern may be a critical indicator of what may have happened to the Earth at 2300 BC.

The peak in volcanic activity at about 2300 BC is modest but significant. The absence of volcanic activity for 150 years following 2300 BC may actually be more important than the activity peak, in that it verifies the triggering of ready volcanos at that time. The 150-year pattern represents a personal speculation, and is not endorsed by a specialist in the field. As such, the viability of the pattern should be further assessed.

There are three manifestations of a possible transient in the geomagnetic field at about 2300 BC. They consist of sharp transients in local non-dipole fields, a noticeable transient in the cumulative geomagnetic field, and a discontinuity in the angular movement of the geomagnetic dipole. The negative transient in the atmospheric radiocarbon level also points to a positive geomagnetic transient. Together, they provide further support for a geological disturbance.

Summarising, there is a sizeable body of geological data that could support the 2300 BC event model, with crustal movements being the most important aspect, both in terms of the volume of existing evidence and potential correlation with archaeological events.

M. M. Mandelkehr, 1987

 

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