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Ancient tsunami wiped out prehistoric communities in Northern England

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A study by the University of York has revealed that a tsunami wiped out prehistoric communities living in Northumberland, England, causing wide-scale depopulation across the region.

According to the study, published in the Journal of Quarternary Science, a huge tsunami with 20 metre tall waves hit Britain’s coastline and parts of Europe during the Mesolithic period around 8,000-years-ago.

The tsunami was likely caused by a large submarine landslide known as the Storegga slide, displacing 2400–3200 km3 of sediment off the coast of Western Norway. Traces of sediment deposits attributed to the event have been found in Northern England, Western Scotland, Shetland, Denmark, and as far as Eastern Greenland.

Dr Jon Hill, an environmental scientist at the University of York, said: “A giant tsunami of this size would have devastated Stone Age coastal communities as it occurred in the autumn when they would have been gathering resources for the winter. The scale of the waves coming in would have been completely different to anything experienced by the people living there – a truly terrifying experience.”

Archaeological evidence indicates a drop in settlement density across NW Europe during this period, which the study suggests was the result of the tsunami and not the previously held narrative of a rapid temperature drop across the continent.

Dr Hill added: “Some past fishing societies in tsunami-prone regions such as the northern Pacific have shown some resilience to tsunamis and knew about moving to higher ground. But, the tsunami event in northern Britain was more of a freak event, with Stone Age people here having no living memory or ancestral knowledge about how to make themselves safe.”

Computer simulations of the tsunami event were also created to determine whether the high waves could have contributed to population declines. Based on the simulation, researchers suspect there could have been significant mortality due to the tsunami as well as indirect impacts caused by damage to key resources that the ancient people needed to survive.

Dr Hill said: “Alongside the direct mortality from the waves, this tsunami created longer-term impacts on resources for Stone Age people. It would have decimated food supplies so there’s a strong possibility this contributed to the sharp population decline we saw in northern Britain at this time, although this period also saw a rapid sea-level rise and a sharp drop in global temperatures.”

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This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Archaeologists may have discovered the lost city of Tu’am

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Excavations in the Umm Al Quwain area of the UAE have revealed 6th century ruins that could be the lost city of Tu’am.

The ruins are situated on Al Sinniyah Island, part of a collection of small islands on the western part of the Khor Al Bidiyah peninsula.

Previous studies on the island have revealed a pearling village and monastery, which has been the focus of the latest season of excavations.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of a larger settlement, with the earliest signs of occupation dating back to the 4th century AD and peaking in the 5th or 6th century.

The team uncovered traces of large semi-urbanised tenement buildings measuring 30 square metres, which are tightly packed around narrow walkways. According to the researchers, the settlement could be the lost city of Tu’am as described in Ancient Arab texts.

Tu’am was a regional capital on the Gulf coast that was famed for its pearl fishing industry and trade in precious gems.

The population went into decline following a plague and regional tensions, and subsequently was abandoned. Mass graves in the vicinity support the historical account of plague, as the skeletal remains show no evidence of trauma or a violent death.

“Our archaeological work has discovered the largest settlement by far ever found on the Gulf coast of the Emirates,” said Prof Tim Power of UAE University.

“And it’s exactly the right period for the city described in the early Islamic geographical sources. It’s clearly a really important place. No one has ever found it.”

Professor Power explained that while they have not found irrefutable evidence (such as an inscription bearing the town’s name), no other major settlements from this period have been discovered on the coast, strengthening the argument that the settlement is Tu’am. “It’s a process of elimination,” he explained.

Header Image Credit : Umm Al Quwain Department of Tourism and Archaeology

Sources : NUAE

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

New findings in North America’s first city

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Cahokia was the largest urban settlement of the Mississippian culture, a mound-building pre-Columbian civilisation that emerged in the Midwestern, Eastern, and South-eastern United States.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the city was founded around AD 1050 along the banks of the Mississippi River, located near present-day St. Louis, Missouri.

The city covered an area between six to nine square miles (notably larger than many contemporary European cities such as London) and was home to up to 20,000 inhabitants at its peak.

Following the tradition of the Mississippian culture, the people of Cahokia constructed large earthen mounds – ranging from raised platforms, conical, and ridge-top designs – involving the movement of 55 million cubic feet of earth over a period that lasted several decades.

The largest mound is known as “Monks Mound,” named after a group of Trappist monks, which rises to a height of 290 metres and was once the tallest building construction in North America.

Image Credit : MattGush – iStock

Archaeologists and students from Saint Louis University (SLU) have recently conducted a series of excavations on the western periphery of the Cahokia Mounds.

The team unearthed 900-year-old ceramics, microdrills, structures, and wall trenches dating from around AD 1100 to 1200, during the Sterling Phase of the Mississippian Period. According to the archaeologists, the finds offer new insights into a crucial period in the chiefdom’s development, coinciding with Cahokia’s rapid population growth.

The excavations follow an aerial survey by SLU and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to conduct Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to determine whether further mounds or archaeological features lie within the acres of thick forests and swampy land near the site’s main complex.

Header Image Credit : Alamy

Sources : KSDK

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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