About 12,800 years ago, the global climate suddenly cooled. Here in the Levant, the change also resulted in dry conditions that lasted for about 1,300 years.
I was reminded of this by two headlines today in one of the Levant’s leading newspapers: Israel Faces 350 Million Cubic Meter Shortage In Water Supply; The World Food Price Crisis Comes to Israel: Prices Rose 9% In The Past Year (that one’s only in the Hebrew edition, for some reason).
The cold, dry spell of the twelfth and thirteenth millennia BCE is called the Younger Dryas. Because the first evidence of human farming appears in the archaeological record at the same time (see my earlier post, Childe’s Play: Neolithic Revolution or Evolution), some scholars have hypothesized that, because of the drought of the Younger Dryas, the people living in the area stretching from present-day Israel up through southern Turkey could no longer obtain sufficient food by hunting and gathering and, as a result, had to turn to farming, and then to the establishment of settled, larger communities in order to ensure a more stable and abundant food supply.