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PRESS RELEASE

24 October 2013

Dramatic discovery in Sea of Galilee

A study of fossil pollen grains in sediments extracted from the bottom of the Sea of Galilee has revealed evidence of a climate crisis that traumatised the Near East from the middle of the 13th to the late 12th century BCE. The crisis brought about the collapse of the great empires of the Bronze Age. 

"In a short period of time the entire world of the Bronze Age crumbled," explains one of the authors, Prof. Finkelstein. "The Hittite empire, Egypt of the Pharaohs, the Mycenaean culture in Greece, the copper producing kingdom located on the island of Cyprus, the great trade emporium of Ugarit on the Syrian coast and the Canaanite city-states under Egyptian hegemony – all disappeared and only after a while were replaced by the territorial kingdoms of the Iron Age, including Israel and Judah.

The results of this study have just been published by Dr. Dafna Langgut and Prof. Israel Finkelstein of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University and Prof. Thomas Litt of the Institute of Geology, Mineralogy and Paleontology at the University of Bonn, Germany, in Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, a publication of Maney Publishing in the UK, and can be read online for free at Ingentaconnect. Prof. Mordechai Stein of the Hebrew University also participated in the research.

The researchers drilled through 300 meters of water in the heart of the Sea of Galilee to provide the material for the analysis.

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