Friday, February 6, 2009

Noah and the Black Sea Theory

According to researchers from the Universities of Exeter, UK and Wollongong, Australia, the collapse of the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet 8000 years ago resulted in a catastrophic rise in global sea level and caused dramatic social change across Europe. This research takes the view that Noah was affected by flooding in the Black Sea. This is an odd theory since biblical and anthropological data is fairly conclusive that Noah was living in central Africa, but this is still interesting research, from here.

The research team argues that, in the face of rising sea levels driven by contemporary climate change, we can learn important lessons from the past.The collapse of the Laurentide Ice Sheet released a deluge of water that increased global sea levels by up to 1.4 metres and caused the largest North Atlantic freshwater pulse of the last 100,000 years. Before this time, a ridge across the Bosporus Strait dammed the Mediterranean and kept the Black Sea as a freshwater lake. With the rise in sea level, the Bosporus Strait was breached, flooding the Black Sea.This event is now widely believed to be behind the various folk myths that led to the biblical Noah's Ark story. Archaeological records show that around this time there was a sudden expansion of farming and pottery production across Europe, marking the end of the Mesolithic hunter-gatherer era and the start of the Neolithic.

The link between rising sea levels and such social change is still unclear, however there is no doubt that there was a time of flooding about 8000 years ago when Noah walked the Earth.

The researchers created reconstructions of the Mediterranean and Black Sea shoreline before and after the rise in sea levels. They estimated that nearly 73,000 square km of land was lost to the sea over a period of 34 years. (This is the time of the Mega-Chad Sea in central Africa, the region over which Noah ruled.) Based on projections of historical population levels, this may have led to the displacement of 145,000 people.

Archaeological evidence shows that communities in southeast Europe were already practising early farming techniques and pottery production before the Flood. With the catastrophic rise in water levels it appears they moved west, taking their culture into areas inhabitated by other peoples. Likewise, peoples of cenral Africa were displaced during Noah's time due to rising water levels.

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