As we discussed with the Old World Danube Culture, the term "Empire" here is honored somewhat in the breach. We have so little information on some of the societies we have been discussing that we have no way of knowing if they had any imperial aspirations. I apologize, but to make both posts somewhat complete, there will be some repetition.
The main point of these exercises is to demonstrate how many lost cultures there are out there beyond the usual Rome, Mayan, Easter Island, et cetera that you seem to be endlessly discussed. Just as if you took all people from all time, the typical person is already dead, the same can be said for civilizations. The typical civilization is dead. And not only are they dead, but in some cases we have a hard time even figuring out that they ever existed, in spite of their often large size, and extended period on the earth.
As with the Old World Danube Culture, today's group was around for about 1,500 years, in an area today that would span multiple countries. We have no idea what they called themselves
The Chalcolithic Southern Levant Culture established itself in an area that would roughly include today’s Lebanon, Israel, and possibly parts of Egypt. It spanned the time period from roughly 5,000BCE to 3,500BCE. Note that Chalcolithic here refers to the Chalcolithic Period or Copper Age. And that the time period for this civilization and its abrupt decline very much coincides with the Old World Danube Culture that we have discussed.
They lived in small villages that eventually went to a two-tiered system with larger villages centering smaller outlying villages. They had already started craft specialization, and were involved in a fair amount of trade.
Dr. Russell B. Adams, The Development of Cooper Metallurgy During the Early Bronze Age of the Southern Levant, University of Sheffield, 1998. Eponymous Website
By the end of the ‘Developed Phase’ of the Chalcolithic (4500–3700 BC) these trading networks and production of specialized goods reach a peak, and it has been suggested by Joffe (1993) that the collapse of these trading networks may have been an important factor in the demise of Chalcolithic societies.
This small system was stretched so tightly that any systematic disruption in the areas of resource procurement and subsequent craft specialization, agricultural production, or the political balance of power created shock waves throughout the entire society (Joffe 1993: 36).
On balance it seems unlikely that a single factor caused the decline of Chalcolithic societies, and other suggestions for this collapse have ranged from climatic shift and a drier climate, to increased commercialization replacing the debt-based systems of exchange crucial to Chalcolithic elites’, and even warfare. It is likely that several contributing factors played a role in the sharp decline seen in the ‘Terminal Phase’ (3700–3500 BC) of the Chalcolithic. The shift back to small autonomous villages at the end of the period and during the Early Bronze Age I can be seen as both a temporary decline in the social order, but more importantly as the end of a long period of indigenous development of over three millennia from the Neolithic period. The next phase of development during the Early Bronze Age, and the developing social complexity throughout this period is not due to local indigenous developments, but for the first time the result of external cultural influences, as the southern Levant was affected by the emergence of the Egyptian state.
That the author appears to be unaware of a number of other cultures at more the less the same time is not particularly unusual. People working on ancient cultures seem to stay within their own little specialties and don’t seem to like to muddy the waters too much with outside sources.
As we note earlier with the Old World Danube Culture, based on pollen analysis, a number of cultures throughout the West were undergoing stress, starting around 3800BCE. A theory, with some data to back it up, notes that pollen counts show an increased deforestation of the landscape. With this deforestation, there was likely higher population counts, and decreased soil productivity. Shifts in climate would have had a more devastating impact. Some researchers refer to the 3,800 BCE to 3,200BCE, as the first recorded Dark Ages. A dark age that may have effected as great of an area as the much better known one that started around 1,200 BCE.
Sing C. Chew, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham MD, 2007
From an empirical analysis of the trend lines of arboreal pollen, table .32 presents forty arboreal pollen profiles of deforestation and reforestation starting from as early as 3854 B.C. These profiles cover four geographic regions of the world: western Europe, central and eastern Europe including Russia [our Old World Danube folk] , northern Europe, and the Mediterranean. With the exception of Byelorussia (Dolgoe), Hungary (Lake Balaton), Latvia (Lake Rudushskoe), an Russia (Chabada Lake) pollen profiles, all C calibrated.
If we examine table 3.2, despite the fact that historians and archaeologists specialising in the Ancient World did not identify a Dark Age period in the fourth millennium B.C., it seems that twenty-nine pollen profiles indicate that there was a phase of deforestation during the fourth century millennium B.C. Not only do the pollen profiles exhibit such a period of deforestation, they also reveal the widespread geographic coverage of the degradation of areas in Russia and the Ukraine through to Spain and Syria. It should not be assumed that this was the first phase of deforestation in world history, as the available data are quite limiting. It might perhaps be the first phase of anthropegenically induced deforestation following the Neolithic Revolution.
From the Wikipedia Article about the photo below:
The site shows no sign of deliberate destruction. It appears to have been abandoned and its cultic furniture removed, carried away by the priests. Other Ghassulian sites also display signs of abandonment, and the temple may represent the last phase of the Ghassulian settlements.
|Copper Age (Calcolithic) Temple at Ein Gedi (from Wikipedia)
~ 3500 B.C.