Tree rings unlock mystery of Hittite Empire’s fall in 12th century BCE

Source: The post is based on the article “Tree rings unlock mystery of Hittite Empire’s fall in 12th century BCE” published in The Print on 9th February 2023

What is the News?

Researchers have found that a three-year drought may have led to the fall of the Hittite empire in the Middle East 3000 years ago.

What is the Hittite Empire?

The Hittites were an ancient Anatolian (modern-day Turkey) people who formed an empire between 1600-1180 BCE.

The Hittites manufactured advanced iron goods, ruled over their kingdom through government officials with independent authority over various branches of government and worshipped storm gods.

They became the main geopolitical rivals of ancient Egypt during its glittering New Kingdom period.

The empire had long proved itself to be resilient against regular sociopolitical, economic and even environmental challenges such as the threat of drought. However, around or shortly after 1200 BCE, the empire collapsed.

Why did the empire collapse?

Researchers examined long-lived juniper trees that grew in the region at the time.

They found that a series of droughts around 1198 and 1196 BCE may have brought down the empire. 

This research shows how extreme climate change can push populations beyond their adaptation limits and centuries-old resilience practices.

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