In 1974 the historian Andrew Watson published an influential article in which he coined the phrase: The Arab Agricultural Revolution. How has this thesis fared? What do we know today about gardening in Early Medieval Iberia?
The climatic disruption in the 6thcentury was forced by a series of massive volcanic eruptions. Recently the Ilopango volcano was identified as responsible for the events AD 539-40.
Radiocarbon and geologic evidence reveal Ilopango volcano as source of the colossal ‘mystery’ eruption of 539/40 CE
Robert A.Dull, John R. Southon, Steffen Kutterolf, Kevin J.Anchukaitis, Armin Freundt. David B. Wahl. Payson Sheets, Paul Amaroli, Walter Hernandez, Michael C. Wiemann, and Clive Oppenheimer
In: Quaternary Science Reviews (2019) 06.08.2019
Today, the Ilopango volcano in El Salvador towers over a beautiful and serene lake offering countless adventures to nature lovers and cultural tourists aiming to experience the Maya Classic Period (AD 250 – 900).
Sometime in the middle of the first millennium the volcano erupted violently spreading its devastation over a densely populated and intensively cultivated region in the southern Maya realm, causing regional abandonment of an area covering more than 20,000 km2, and destroying countless villages and settlements. One of these is the Joya de Ceren, called The Pompeii of the New World and declared UNESCO World Heritage.
Although long suspicioned as the cause of the events in AD 539-40, neither the regional nor global impacts of the Tierra Blanca Joven (TBJ) eruption in Mesoamerica have been well appraised. Until now scientists have been met with limitations in available volcanological, chronological, and archaeological.
In this article, the authors present new evidence of the age, magnitude and sulfur release of the TBJ eruption, establishing it as one of the two hitherto unidentified volcanic triggers, which loaded the atmosphere with a serious injection of stratospheric aerosol.
This injection profoundly impacted the climate across the Northern Hemisphere between circa 536 and 550 CE. The new chronology is derived from 100 new radiocarbon measurements performed on three subfossil tree trunks enveloped in proximal TBJ pyroclastic deposits.
The authors have also reassessed the eruption magnitude using terrestrial (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras) and near-shore marine TBJ tephra deposit thickness measurements. Together, our new constraints on the age, eruption size and sulfur yield along with Ilopango’s latitude (13.7° N), squarely frame the TBJ as the major climate-forcing eruption of AD 539 or 540, which has been identified in bipolar ice cores and sourced to the tropics. The eruption merit a rating of 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, and posits it as larger than the 1816 eruption of Tambora, which caused the “year without a summer.”
In addition to deepening appreciation of the TBJ eruption’s impacts in Mesoamerica, the research links this volcanic eruption to the major Northern Hemisphere climatic downturn of the mid-6th century CE, and offers another piece in the puzzle of understanding Eurasian history of the period.
Suddenly, in the 1340s young Italian men began to wear cropped tunics, drooping hoods, and large purses hanging from elaborate metallic belts. This new silhouette was both mysterious and daring.
The Missal of Roselli – Messale Roselli – was produced for Cardinal Nicolas Rosell in Avignon c. 1350. Now, in Torino, it represents one of the beautiful illuminated missals from the 14th century.
Londinium, Lundenwic, Lundenburh, London. Different names for the same place. At least, such was the belief until the late 20the century, when archaeologists could report that the history of the settlement was more complex.
Endless seals imprinted on wax! Countless pieces of parchment, neatly stacked. We tend to value these leftovers from the Middle Ages for their content. Matthew Collins sees aDNA.
The story of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is incresingly considered as a reflection of 4thcentury widespread draughts on the Eurasian Steppes, the wanderings of the Huns, and the forced migration of the Germans.
In the 11thand 12thcenturies small “husun”, tiny castles and enclosures with towers, came to dominate the border region between western and eastern Andalusia. Since 2003, a project has worked to study and preserve these towers.
Since the Ice receded for more than 10.000 years, the landscape north of Halmsad in Sweden has changed from a cold Steppe to an ancient forest. New research traces the different phases and explains how the forest at Almeberget looks much like it did at the beginning of the vendel period, c. 500
Ribe was the earliest emporium in Early Medieval Denmark. At the cusp of the Viking Age, the town played a significant role. But when was it founded? By whom? And for what reason? Renewed excavations this summer brought us closer to an answer.
Stevns is a peninsula in South Eastern Zeeland in Denmark. Flat, although it raises towards the east, where it breaks into the sea in the form of high cliffs, it has recently been suggested as the location for Heorot, the hall of Hrodgar, and the home of Grendel. What did it look like in the 6th to 10th century?
In 1962 an Alemannic graveyard in Niederstotzingen in Southern Germany was discovered and excavated. The graves of thirteen individuals – ten male adults and three infants - were buried with an array of inscribed horse gear, jewellery, arms and swords. In the graveyard, the archaeologists also found three horses buried.
Scone is best known for the Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny or the Stone of Coronation. Less well known is that Scone was the primary ceremonial and legislative gathering place in Scotland. Recently, the results from extensive archaeological excavations were published.
Recently the human remains from 41 graves from six early medieval cemeteries in Southern Bavaria yielded genomic data showing that while men generally had ancestry resembling northern or central Europeans, the women exhibited a very high genetic heterogeneity.
For some time an international and interdisciplinary group of archaeologists, scientists, and historians have worked to uncover the minutiae of the Longobard invasion of Italy in AD 568. Genetic explorations are shedding extremely important new light on the linkage between genetics and cultural profiles.
Is a shift in “culture” the result of local evolutions or the meeting up of people? And how does such “meetings” play out culturally? Since the “invention” of new archaeology, this question has caused multiple controversies among archaeologists as well as historians. New aDNA studies lead the way to document the actual character of migratory movements.