What was happening in the years leading up to 1300AD?

7 July 2014
Archaeology

At http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/ancient-baby-boom-h… … the lesson the co-authors have in mind is that over population is supposed to be a problem and the modern world is seriously over populated – in their opinion. They go further as they claim they have found an ancient record of over population that ended in tragedy after a bout of drought – but they are lean on the extent and magnitude of the drought or the possibility of migration by those affected by drought. It is assumed drought will be a consequence of modern global warming and we will all suffer the same fate – but what exactly was going on in the period around 1300AD.

In addition, it is unclear why this article is highlighted on a blog with archaeology as the main point of interest. The co-authors are anthropologists. They deal with theories rather than facts. They can write reams of words on the discovery of a few teeth in an obscure context. They are primarily driven by assumptions based on theories that have become accepted – simply because the theories have been repeated often enough. Presumably this is why they are able to assume global warming will cause droughts and our over populated world will suffer – a typical Malthusian dream come true.

Why were settlements in the American SW abandoned around 1300AD? Do we know? Why didn't they just up sticks and move somewhere else?

The 13th century in Britain had some funny goings on according to the chronicles of Matthew Parrish – as mentioned in an earlier post. In the early 14th century persistent rain was a major problem and in some years crops rotted in the fields and this led to a series of famines that led to the deaths of a lot of lower class people – under the umbrella term the poor. They could not afford the high prices that inflation due to shortages brought about. In the second half of the 14th century the Black Death visited Europe and lots of people from all walks of life, the upper as well as the lower classes, brought low. In fact, the Black Death epidemic decimated the empire of the Mongols, depopulated China, and laid low the Islamic world at large. It seems the co-authors are a bit muddle headed by assuming drought and regional warming was all  there was to blame for the drop in human numbers in the American SW.

David Archibald reports on a book by Reid Bryson and Thomas Murray in 1977, 'Climate of Hunger' – see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/07/a-colder-climate-is-a-drier-climate/ … and specifically homes in on the Great Plains from Iowa to Colorado which also mysteriously experienced depopulation in the 13th and 14th centuries. When European farmers arrived there in the 19th century there were no Native American farmers – only mobile societies living off the buffalo herds. The farmers had disappeared 500 years previously and had never been replaced – but why is the big question. It is the same question that should have been asked in the first link – but wasn't. Instead, doom mongering was the indulgency of the day. The  villages themselves are still out there on the plains, turned up by modern farmers under layers of debris.

 

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