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11 October 2014

Current World Archaeology 67 also has an article on the Moche culture of coastal Peru. Interestingly, it mentions a century of climatic and societal turmoil (assumed to involve El Nino swings) between AD550 and 650. This century directly follows on from the low growth tree ring event that Mike Baillie dated to AD536-45. The century also included the beginnings of Islam in Arabia and the swathe of conquests unleashed against the Roman and Persian empires, in crisis. They had been decimated by plague and civil unrest and were in no condition to provide a bulwark against the marauding army, spurred on by a new religion and a regurgitation of old pagan ideas, a heady mixture.

The article also defines two stages in Moche fortunes – one between AD200 and 600 and the other between AD550 and 900 (which, you may note, involves an overlap). The latter date is also interesting as in NW Europe this was at the height of the Viking raids against Christian monasteries and centres of learning, churches and other ecclesiastical foundations. It was as if there was a concerted effort to wipe out Christianity and reinstate the old pagan ideas – including the violence involved in the process as a direct consequence of the climatic blips of the period (on the cusp of the Medieval Warm Period). Does this suggest a similar response to that of Islam after the very cold years of 536-45BC – and did it involve comets and meteors and strange apparitions in the sky (such as heightened auroral activity).

This made me wonder, and it is off topic, if there was a connection between Native American uprisings against European colonials which coincided with climate change – specifically, sharp drops in the temperature. Here, I am thinking in terms of the 1740s and the 1840s, for example, but there were also some very cold years at the beginning of the 19th century and towards the end of the century.

Note … the Chima culture took over from the Moche and had the benefit of the agreeable climate of the Medieval Warm Period – and evidence of stress and human sacrifice appears to have decreased markedly. However, the Chima had a crisis in the 14th century and in the 15th, the rise of the Inca occurred – which lasted until the Spanish conquistadors arrived.

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