Marmara Sea, Bosporus Strait, and the Black Sea
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By DAVID BROWN
Out of all the flood events in history, only one can be called "the Flood." AAPG member Walter C. Pitman III thinks he knows which one.
Pitman and co-researcher William B.F. Ryan have written a book to document their theory, Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event That Changed History, published recently by Simon & Schuster. This 352-page work describes a scientific investigation that mixes geology with oceanography, anthropology, linguistics and legend.
In short, it defines an event that may have been a turning point for civilization. "We think it had a great effect on human history, because it widely dispersed people who had a different method of farming and had different languages," Pitman said.
Now retired as a senior research scientist for the Lamont-Doherty Earth Laboratory and adjunct professor of geology at Columbia University in New York, Pitman retains the title "special lecturer" and works at his profession five days a week.
His studies in marine magnetics, plate tectonics and eustacy are widely recognized. In 1998, the National Academy of Sciences awarded Pitman the Alexander Agassiz Medal, a prize given every three years for original contributions in oceanography.
He was cited for "his fundamental contribution to the plate tectonic revolution through insightful analysis of marine magnetic anomalies and for his studies of the causes and effects of sea level changes."
Pitman described himself as "one of many researchers" who used marine magnetics to prove and measure seafloor spreading.
"Later on, I myself used spreading-rate data to show there could have been very large changes in sea level due to changes in the mid-ocean rifts," he said.
During his career, Pitman -- a past AAPG Distinguished Lecturer -- has presented several papers at meetings sponsored by AAPG and other petroleum-related organizations, furthering the industry's understanding of eustacy, plate motion, subsidence, thermo-mechanics and the effect of sea-level changes on sequence stratigraphy.
Pitman's search for the Great Flood began more than 25 years ago. He and Ryan were working on a project with Oxford University geologist John F. Dewey, using plate tectonics to explain the deformation that had occurred in the Alpine Deformation Belt.
"Ryan was somewhat distracted, because he and Ken Shu and Maria Cita, along with other colleagues, had discovered that the Mediterranean had once dried out catastrophically," Pitman said -- and then refilled over the course of 100 years.
"Dewey jokingly said, ‘Maybe that was the source of the flood myths 5.5 million years ago.' And we all laughed," he recalled, "because there were no people around at that time."
But the comment sent Pitman and Ryan into off hand speculation: Was a similar flood event, much later in history, the inspiration for stories of a Great Flood?
The Razor's Edge
In the Gilgamesh epic from Babylon, the great hero Gilgamesh seeks out the survivor of a world flood to learn the secret of eternal youth.
The Semitic tale of Noah is recounted in the book of Genesis in the Bible. God tells Noah to build an ark and fill it with two of every living creature. Then a great flood covers both hills and mountains after 40 days and 40 nights of rainfall.
Pursuing their question, Pitman and Ryan studied the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea as candidates for a catastrophic flood. But in each case, "the geology just didn't work out," Pitman said.
The Black Sea, also a possibility, was both remote and restricted. Ryan and Pitman got their first lead by studying sediment cores from the region.
"Some Woods Hole Oceanographic people had been in the Black Sea earlier and had done research work in deep water," Pitman said. "This was at a time when the Cold War was at its most chilling. The Black Sea, being owned by the Turks and the Russians, was almost off limits to expeditions."
The two quickly noticed evidence in the cores of a sudden shift from a fresh-water environment to a marine depositional environment.
"There was almost a razor-sharp edge," Pitman said.
The Woods Hole researchers theorized that the Black Sea had once been a flow-through basin -- essentially a conduit carrying fresh water into the Mediterranean Sea. A gradual mixing back of saltwater had produced the shift in environments, they thought.
"Bill Ryan and I were very skeptical," Pitman continued. "We reasoned that if an exchange had taken place, the effect on the sediments would have been very gradual. You wouldn't see this sudden change. The very precipitous change in sediments argues for a precipitous change in the Black Sea."
Seeing Is Believing
With the political situation a barrier, Pitman could do little to obtain additional information.
"Over the years, dribs and drabs of data came in," he said, "mostly from the Russian side." Russian drilling for a proposed Istanbul subway had cut through the Bosphorous, the very narrow strait connecting the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara to the southwest.
Surprisingly, the Russians discovered very young sediments down to bedrock at a depth of 330-490 feet, or 100-130 meters, according to Pitman. These sediments appeared to be little more than 7,000 years old.
"This told us that the Bosphorous had, at some time, been cut to a depth of 100 meters or more and covered with young sediments," he said.
"It argued strongly against the idea that the Black Sea had been slowly kissed by the ocean."
In another project, drilling for a bridge at the Kerch Strait between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, found a fresh-water river channel.
"They were able to show that there was a channel of the Don River that went right through the strait," he said. "They traced that channel down to a depth of 80 meters."
Then Russian scientists published studies of sediment cores taken during a research survey of an area near the Crimea. The studies found evidence of fine, deep-water sediments with overlapping.
Moreover, the Russians determined that much of the submerged area had been exposed at one time.
"It showed that the level of the waters had inundated this area very rapidly, that it had gone from being exposed to deep-water deposition almost instantaneously -- again, with none of the sediments that you see during a transgression," Pitman noted.
Finally, in early 1993, Pitman and Ryan were offered a chance to take part in a Russian-sponsored Black Sea expedition.
"Ryan jumped at it. I was a little hesitant, but eventually I jumped at it, too," Pitman said. "And it turned out to be a smashing success."
While the Russians looked for radio nucleides resulting from the Chernobyl reactor disaster, Ryan and Pitman searched for remnants of the Great Flood.
They surveyed east of the Crimea from off the shelf edge to on shelf, finding "up to four-meter layers of sediment that covered everything like dust," he said. "It went right down valleys and up the other side, the same sloppy, highly saturated sediments the Russians had described earlier."
A shell hash overlay hard, very compact deltaic-type sediments with mud cracks.
"These deltaic strata were truncated, so that erosion had taken place during the last glacial contact," he continued. "During the dry period the level of the Black Sea dropped, eroding the delta when wave action would have pulled up the fine sediments."
Right on top of the shell hash was evidence of the first Mediterranean invader, the mollusk Cardia Medulla, according to Pitman.
Carbon dating of the transition break placed its age at 7,550 years. Before that time, Ryan and Pitman say, the Black Sea was a fresh-water lake draining into the Mediterranean.
When the sea level rose, pressure built up on the natural dam of the Bosphorous. Eventually, water began to pour into the Black Sea basin with enough force to scour out the Bosphorous channel to a depth of almost 500 feet.
Water rushed in at a rate of 50 cubic kilometers a day -- about 200 times the rate of flow of Niagara Falls, Pitman said.
"It would have been a very exciting thing to see," he marveled, "from a distance." Spreading the Word
The relentless onrush submerged an additional 140,000 square kilometers -- an area the size of Florida.
"Our guess was that it took place within a year," he said. "That was the Flood. The question is, 'Was anybody there?' And that's a difficult question because what was flooded is still flooded."
With no help from archeology available, Pitman and Ryan turned to anthropology -- specifically, the sudden appearance and spread of advanced farming methods across Europe and western Asia just after 5,500 BC.
Were the refugees in the Black Sea diaspora the ancestors of the linear band ceramic, or Linear Pottery culture, that pushed agriculture across a fertile band of Europe as far as northern France? Were they forerunners of the Dinilo Hvar farmers in the Adriatic and the Turdas- Vinca people ? Pitman and Ryan felt certain they were.
"Just before the flood there was an arid spell that lasted from about 6,200 to 5,800 BC. A number of places in Anatolia were deserted. These deserted places were immediately reoccupied after the flood," Pitman said.
"There were people who appeared along the Nile delta, using new technology and with domesticated animals. Farmers appeared in the Caucasus who practiced a special type of irrigation."
Then there were the flood legends. Could they have begun with the flooding of the Black Sea and been passed down orally for 2,500 years, before being captured in writing?
Skeptics of the Great Flood theory believe such stories might have arisen from river floods in long-populated areas to the south of the Black Sea.
Pitman disagrees."First, there was a warning, and you don't get any warning with a river flood," he noted. "Second, the people who packed up the ark (of Noah) packed up as if they were going away forever and weren't coming back."
More evidence could emerge next summer. Pitman said U.S. archeologists plan to conduct a dive in search of cultures whose lands were submerged in the Black Sea inundation -- which may have been the greatest flood ever witnessed by human beings.
(21 october 1948, Dănceni, - 2 iunie 2009, Chişinău, Moldavia)
Text at: http://www.iatp.md/dava/Vartic/Vartic-eng/vartic-eng.html
October 10, 2000 - Robert Ballard, known to all world for wreck of the Titanic, has discovered in the Black Sea, near the Turkish city Sinope, on depth about 90 meters, rests of human habitation which was dated by archeologists approximately 5.500 year BC. The discovery has given an occasion to Ballard's team to put forward the sensational hypothesis that the Bible Flood (in the Bible it is 5.508 BC) took place in the Black Sea (when after catastrophic rains, the Mediterranean Sea has joined "instantly" the large sweet lake of the Black Sea and has lifted its level up to 90 ¥).
Fig. 1. The Black Sea before the "Ballard flood". The archaeologists can sea suppositional good sites near Romanian city of Constanta. The place of the Ballard investigations is marked with the flag.
At the same time, even a small topographical research shows that this "flood" was really a terrible and tragic disaster for all alive on western and, especially, on northern coast of the Black Sea where were flooded large territories in the mouths of the rivers Danube, Dniester (Nistru), Dnieper, Don. From the archaeological point of view this is the time of the divide of the Starcevo-Cris cultural complex (and this is, as perfectly has proved by the American archaeologist M. Gimbutas, houses and temples in the Balkans and on the coasts of Danube, pottery and little clay statues, perfect painting of this pottery and statues, agriculture, tame animals, processing with the fire of the natural (native) cooper approximately at the same time as in the Anatolia and Near East) in
a) Vinca-Turdas on Balkan-Carpath-Danube region and
b) Linear ceramics in North-East of the region (basin of the rivers Siret, Prut, Nistru).
Approximately then (that is the times of the Ballard's flood) in Danceni, near Kishinev, in Basarabia, the people has drawn on a little piece of clay a small sacred tree and then has "roasted" it on a strong fire.
Fig. 2. The sacred tree from Danceni, Basarabia from the Museum of the archaeological institute of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova
These most extended Ballard's territories were perhaps a Paradise for birds and animals, for fishes and for the people, and the author of this article invites without ironic smile (people of those times lived in small peaceful empires and they didn't know the terrible religious, political, national wars, which history really began in Sumer) the submarines of this strong world to look (with a benefit for their modern power torpedoed by small Serbo-Albanian or Palestine-Jewish wars) what was hidden under water by the Ballard's flood from Bosfor up to the Azov Sea, that is on western and northern coast of the Black Sea. In the mouth of Danube, or on the opposite side of Constanta, the Romanian "submarines" will have to do a serious work if the Romanians want to return to all modern people a brilliant piece of the valid history of paleolithic paradise (about which, by the way, is telling the well known Romanian ancient song "Miorita").
And not only it. There are enough strange things from Upper Paleolithic and all Neolithic (made until the arrival of the Indo-European tribes in Balkan, in the Carpatho-Danube region and in northern side on Black Sea) which are changing our representations about the beginning of the history and about the place of the man living in Southeast Europe in this far times. It is, at first, the "mathematical" little medallion from Mitoc-Dealul Galben, near Botosani, NE of Romania (26.000 years BC); these are, at second, the excellent (drawn with meanders and angles) Mezin birdies from Pripiaty river, in Ukraine (18.000 years B.C.); it's the drawn rhombus, the meanders and encyclopaedia from Cuina Turcului, on Danube, near Caras-Severin, W Romania (11.000 years BC); these are drawn "by a geometrical writing" madonnas from Vinca, Rast and Turdas (5.000 years BC) and, way not, the perfect rhombus-triangle connections from Carbuna, Basarabia (Cucuteni civilization, 3.600 years BC).
Fig. 3. The figurine from Carbuna wirh parallel and perpndicular lines, trilines and enigmatical rhombus-triangle connections.
We consider what these "production", the primordial logical, geometrical, mathematical buildings put Homo Sapiens, which lived in Middle and Upper Paleolithic in the Southeast of Europe, in the beginning of the history of the modern man. This history, as prove the archaeological findings, began not in Sumer, but in Mitoc, where the Romanian archaeologist Vasile Chirica has found an amulet from far Middle Paleolithic.
Fig. 4. The amulet from Mitoc, near Botosani, NE Romania. Faces A and B.
Picture and text at: http://knol.google.com/k/lev-regelson/noahs-flood-on-black-sea/1i7aar4mqflvt/12
The famous researcher of sea depths the American Robert Ballard, who had discovered in 1985 the sunk "Titanic", suggested his own point of view about riddle of Noah's Ark.
According to his theory, 10 thousands years ago the Black Sea was a freshwater lake in the center of large lowland. This fertile region with luxuriant pastures gave the fine possibility for neolithic residents to prosper and go over to more effective kind of the living – to the agriculture. But there happened a catastrophe.
About 5500 years ago the last ice age had finished, the world climate became warmer, and the seas level began to increase. The narrow strip of land because of earth-quake had been burst by waters of the Aegean Sea, and the huge mass of water had gushed forth into present Black Sea's basin with the power of two hundreds Niagara Falls.
Reverberations of this event were responded in all religions and myths of world, so it was remain in the descendants memory, including the authors of Bible, as the Great ("world-wide") Flood. At the Ballard's thought, this grandiose flood covered temporarily all shore hills, to one of which Noah's Arc was came to rest.
The researcher set himself the task to prove, that namely in the coastal regions of present Black Sea it is possible to find out the tracks of ancient settlers and the remains of Noah's Arc.
For fairness sake we ought to say, that not all geologists and archeologists share the Ballard's point of view. Their main argument – not high rating of Ballard as scientist. However Ballard is glorified with remarkable findings, including the sunk ancient ships, belonging to Romans and Phoenicians. Moreover, how it was remarked, he had found "Titanic" and also the torpedo-boat "PT-109", on which John Fizjerald Kennedy was fighting in the time of Second World war.
At the same time there are serious scientific groups (particularly in USA and Bulgaria) which stand up for the idea of Black Sea's flood.
AFTER THE DISINTEGRATION OF SOVIET UNION
In 1991 the Black Sea became accessible for sea archeologists of foreign States. Among them was also Robert Ballard.
The scientists were attracted by the remote past of Black Sea, when it was the animate place of intersection of navigators ways from Mesopotamia, Scythia, Phoenicia and others States. The cases of ships wrecks were not rare in that times, and the poor with oxygen Black Sea's water facilitated their well preservation. Ballard speaks:
"In the Black Sea are preserved the relics of such great value which surpass all the treasures of world's museums ".
At first time Robert Ballard had appeared on the Black Sea in 1997 and found here the new arguments to affirm his point of view on the Great Flood and on the destiny of Noah's Arc. For instance a lot of Caucasians and Armenians also in present time believe that they are the descendants of Noah, and on the ancient painting canvases the mountain Ararat with Noah's Arc on top was often represented. This myth troubles Ballard not at all, for it was always usual for the man to adjust the historic facts to his own imagination.
Ballard found on shoal-water the remains of fresh-water molluscs, which had extincted 7000 years ago. Also the signs of erstwhile human in habitation at these places were discovered. To them are related ceramic crocks, stone tools and photos made by underwater camera, on which are visible wooden joists and rectangular stone of size 10 on 12 meters, laying on the bottom.
The sea biologists Wolter Pitman and William Raien, who share the Ballard's views on ancient history of the Black Sea, had determined that ancient sea shore line which can keep the tracks of erstwhile human habitation, is on the depth of 150 meters. Such a depth was not in the power of divers, therefore the researchers were able to hope only on their distantly managed underwater apparatuses.
"THE HERCULES" COMES AT HELP TO SCIENTISTS
Robert Ballard and his "Hercules"
Robert Ballard is not only skilled underwater researcher with much years service, but also the gifted designer of underwater apparatuses. Also now he had brought at the Black Sea his new unpiloted apparatus with distant managing, which had promising name "Hercules".
The sonar's imitate the echo radar of dolphin, who is able to find easy the way in turbid water. But on the big depth in the Black Sea, how it is known, the zero visibility has place. "Hercules" was supplied with two "two-finger's hands". The left "hand" was powerful, adjusted to lifting of the heavy objects and the right “hand” – is more tactful, having so called feedback.
Abundant wooden beams and branches were located in the vicinity of the archaeological site. This beam shows signs of being worked by implements or tools.
THE NOAH'S FLOOD WAS ON THE BLACK SEA
Robert Ballard had produced to the world still more sensational discovery. With the help of his underwater robots he located the tracks of human settlement in about twenty kilometers of Turkey shore. It was the first evidence of giant inundation, which had happened on the Black Sea near seven thousands years ago. This event, how the scientists considered, was described in Bible in the myth of Noah's Flood.
The antediluvian Black Sea was a large freshwater lake without any connection with other seas. Then in the finish of ice-age, the Europe glaciers began to melt very quickly, the level of the World Ocean was increased and one day a great mass of water had poured in this lake. These streams washed away all the living, including tens thousands of people dwelling there.
Making up the map of ancient town
The Mediterranean salt water had ruined a huge mass of freshwater plankton, which rotting resulted in poisoning of the Black Sea by hydrogen sulfide. According to scientists calculations, a half thousand years was needed for the nature to regenerate anew the life in the upper layers of the Black Sea. And it is just not a hypothesis. Namely Ballard had discovered last year at the Black Sea bottom the freshwater shells, which age was seven thousand years, covered with the layer of saltwater mollusks which is dated on six hundred years later. The water without oxygen covers the Black Sea bottom also today – it is a reason why the building discovered by Ballard has preserved so well. It is the destroyed rectangular construction of size 11,7x3,9 m, made of clay and wooden beams – the typical for stone age edifice.
After detecting the ancient building by special "scanning" sonars, lowering the "robot" and fixing it on video camera, Ballard had left his discovery in peace. Now he intends to search other signsof civilization.
His sonars found out along the supposed line of ancient shore hundreds of suspicious places which still ought to be
Only after this, Ballard intends to begin the withdrawal of specimens for determination the exact time of Flood. What was it like, we wonder, we who are now reassured about the effects of “global warming” by George Bush: a little pain here, a little gain there?
I’ve encountered but one attempt to give some scientifically based but palpable, layperson’s account of the effects of a meltdown (a comparable, and more germane, sudden-freeze narrative has eluded me). It deals on the small scale of a post-Pleistocene regional flood that in 5,600 BCE transformed the freshwater Black Sea into the Mediterranean-fed saltwater sea it is today.
“.... as the rains and warmth returned...the ocean...stood poised to invade the Bosphorus valley and plunge to the Black Sea lake five hundred feet below....[at first a rivulet, then a gentle brook] the water, now several tens of feet deep, was a thundering flume twisting and churning with rubble as it clawed at the soft rock walls that now and then collapsed....The deeper it cut, the faster it flowed, and faster it flowed, the deeper it cut until it had gauged a flume at least 280 feet and up to 475 feet deep. Ten cubic miles of water poured through each day, two hundred times what flows over Niagara Falls, enough to cover Manhattan Island each day to a depth of over half a mile...
“The salt water roared through the strait at speeds greater than fifty miles an hour, crashing through unabated, radiating a thunderous din and vibration that could probably have been heard and felt around the entire rim of the Black Sea.
“The level of the lake began to rise six inches a day...moving upstream as much as a mile each day, without a pause hour after hour, day after day, drowning the less agile, forcing all else upriver or up onto the desertlike plateau through which the valley had been cut... For twelve months the tumultuous rush of water continued undiminished until the level of the lake had risen 180 feet...[And] during the next twelve months it would rise another hundred feet. It crested the old shelf edge and began its race toward the present shoreline, pushing all life before it...
“Everywhere the encroachment of the floodwaters was so rapid that whole regions that had been dry were covered by ten or more feet of water within days.
“The Bosporus flume roared and surged at full spate for at least three hundred days....Anyone who saw it must have carried away frightening images of the fury and power of the sinuous jet of salt water...[that] may have seemed like a huge, endless serpent writhing through the narrow defile, continuously roaring, sending up billows of mist like smoke from its fiery mouth, destroying all in its path....” (Ryan & Pitman).
Remember, this is a scientifically based description of a smallish Holocene flood, not on the scale of the great floods that punctuated and finally terminated the Pleistocene, about which we have not learned in the kind of meticulously documented detail assembled by those two marine-geological sleuths. What, for instance, about the mighty source of the Black Sea inundation, that great roaring serpent, the Mediterranean itself? Five million years ago the Atlantic burst into the Mediterranean basin through the “dam” at Gibraltar, where stood the “Pillars of Hercules,” and inundated with a roar and a quantity of water orders of magnitude greater than the modest episode described above, that is, the pent-up waters of the Atlantic raged through the gap at thousands of times the volumes of Niagara, dumping in a single generation thousands of feet of sea water and creating the Mediterranean as we know it today.
Remember, this is a scientifically based description of a smallish Holocene flood, not on the scale of the great floods that punctuated and finally terminated the Pleistocene... (Aztec Flood Serpent, from the Torano Codex, British Museum)
Was some simian ancestor of australopithicus around for that show?
The Ryan-Pitman description gives us some sense of the scale of events that, in terms of ancient human generations and their oral histories, routinely and unremittingly marked the lives of our ancestors.
I’ve searched my library for exact dates for the comings and goings of the Ice. It seems curiously difficult to secure this data in an unambiguously presented form (without trekking into very specialized literature I don’t have). But it is clear that the onset of major Pleistocene cycles of cooling and warming are breathtakingly rapid. And drastic. Looking back to and from the time of archaic Homo, starting about 400,000 years ago, there have been five very big climate swings, and the ones that catch my attention commence in the heat climaxes of 330,000, 199,000, 123,000 years ago, and, it seems inescapable, looking at one chart by de Saint-Blanquet and Clarys, our present millennium. The 330,000 heat climax seems to correlate with that of 123,000 years ago, while that of 199,000 seems similar to our own still rising heat curve, which our technology is hastening. (A lot of state-sized little doggies are calving off the Antarctic mother cap as I write.)
Heat climaxes seem to invariably precipitate sudden, abrupt onsets of glaciation, or “ice ages.”
The cold climaxes occur 342,000, 270,000 (and after a momentary small heat blip, 261,000), 135,000, and of course, 20,000 years ago. Regarding the specifics of the spasmodic meltdown of the climax ice of 20,000 BP, the pattern seems to have been, following Hancock’s chronology: from 17,000 to 15,000 BP a global melting; from 15,000 to 13,000 BP icing up again; from 13,000 to 10,000 BP a final global melting et voilà, the Holocene interglacial. It is likely that these spasms were the source of many worldwide flood myths.
Remains found at bottom of the Black Sea indicate that Noah's Flood was real
The discovery of a manmade structure at the bottom of the Black Sea off northern Turkey has lent powerful support to a controversial theory suggesting Noah's Flood really happened.
The Black Sea has only a tenuous connection to the rest of the world's seawater. The Bosporus are not only very narrow, but very shallow: at one point in the channel, the water is only 30m deep. At the height of the last ice age 18-20,000 years ago, more water was stored in much larger polar ice caps and global sea-level was about 130 metres lower than at present; this is more than enough to have left the Bosporus high and dry, and the Black Sea completely cut off from the Mediterranean. Past studies of sediments dating from this time confirm that the Black Sea basin was indeed a freshwater lake, filled to about 150 metres below present day sea-level; they also indicate that there was an abrupt switch to marine conditions between 6000 and 7500 BC, when sealevel rose enough to send a torrent of marine water rushing into the Black Sea, flooding tens of thousands of square kilometres of what was, up to that point, dry land.
A catastrophic flood in Asia Minor, back in the mists of human prehistory? Cue endless twittering about certain myths in certain holy books whenever this story comes up in the media. An interesting new paper in Quarternary Science Reviews by Chris Turney and Heidi Brown is no exception. However, although their work suggests that there may be a link between this event and an important transition in European culture, it makes the (in my opinion) already tenuous alleged connection to 'Noah's Flood' (there was no 40 days and 40 nights of rain. There was no rain - just 40 years of inexorably rising water as the Black Sea Basin filled up to sea-level. Even accounting for a few thousand years of distortion and exaggeration, that seems a bit of a stretch) even more difficult to support.
At the heart of this study is the detailed analysis of many, many radiocarbon dates, in the quest for an accurate chronology. If you want to examine the possible effects of a geological event on prehistoric cultural evolution, you need to have accurate dates for both the event - in this case, the Black Sea flood - and the relevant cultural changes - in this case, the spread of Neolithic culture, which represents the transition from a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a more sedentary one based on agriculture and pot-making. Without a robust chronology, you can end up with actual causes appearing to happen after their effects, or occurring hundreds or thousands of years too early, both of which make it very difficult to unravel the true story.
The change to marine conditions in the Black Sea is clearly marked in the sedimentary record: out go the shells of freshwater mollusks, in come the shells of salt-tolerant species. In between is a reworked debris, or 'hash', layer, which probably records the Bosporus breakthrough itself. Radiocarbon ages of the youngest freshwater mollusk provide a maximum age for this debris layer; the oldest marine mollusks provide a minimum age. A best fit model for all the available age data suggests that the sea first forced its way into the Black Sea between 8350 and 8230 years BP (BP= before present, with 'present' defined as 1950), or around 6400 BC. This more precise date suggests an association with a specific geological event: the final collapse of the Laurentide ice sheet which covered North America during the last glacial period (Ole has more on this aspect of the study). More interesting, though, is how this date correlates precisely with a sharp acceleration in the spread of agricultural societies across Western Europe. The figure below, taken from the paper, summarises the Neolithic archaeological record:
After the first Neolithic sites (red dots) sprung up in the Near East between 13 and 11.5 thousand years BP (9-11,500 BC), the initial spread of agricultural practices was apparently pretty slow - almost 5,000 years later, in 8,500 BP (6,500 BC), Neolithic settlements had appeared in Turkey and Greece (yellow dots), but most of Europe was still happily hunting and gathering. In the 1500 years following the breach of the Bosporus, however, the pace of change really picked up, and by 7,000 BP (5,000 BC) Neolithic sites could be found across most of continental Europe. The neat explanation, therefore, is that prior to 8,500 BP there were Neolithic settlements on the ancient shores of the Black Sea; as the basin filled up with increasingly saline water, the original inhabitants of these settlements were forced westward into new pastures, where they set about establishing new agricultural settlements at the expense of the native hunter-gatherers.
It may be a neat picture, but there are still some missing pieces. It is still not proven, despite some suggestive evidence from under the waves, that Neolithic cultures had reached the Black Sea region prior to 8,500 BP. And, as the figure above illustrates, no Neolithic settlements sprung up immediately to the west of the Black Sea at the beginning of the great European expansion, as you might expect if agriculturally-inclined people were moving away from the rising waters.
One thing does seem pretty clear to me, however: even if the inundation of the Black Sea did displace large numbers of people, it seems exceedingly unlikely that the story of this exodus is (rather imperfectly) preserved in the Biblical Flood account. They all moved west, whereas Babylon, from whose mythology the Biblical flood story was borrowed wholesale, is in completely the opposite direction. The story is wrong, and the source culture is wrong, although I somehow doubt that will stop the headline writers.
During the final centuries of the ice age these people lived in a land of rushing torrential rivers and the largest freshwater lakes that have ever been on earth. The lake that covered most of what is now Siberia was at one time over 1500 miles wide. The Volga was a churning vision of hell.
One cannot help but notice Omsk on the maps. Here in the area of Omsk we find both mammoths and ancient man. Close by is the ancient village of Petropavlosk, perhaps the most ancient Kurgan site we know of today. Over 100,000 horse bones have under when the last mammoth was seen in the area of Omsk and Petropavlosk... Of all the animal bones found in the area horse bones constitute ninety percent. So we see from this that the Kurgan people were not nearly as interested in deer or cattle or sheep or goats as they were in horses. Another early Kurgan site is the Samara culture on the Volga river dating to around 5000 BC. Horse figurines, carved of bone and worn as pendants have been found here. And after a person was buried a fire was built atop his mound and a horse was sacrificed and burned there. To the west of the Volga we find great rivers which flow west and northwest out of the Black Sea towards the Baltic, The Danube, Dneister, Dneiper and others; and other great rivers which start in the mountains and flow into the Atlantic or Baltic, the Rhine, Elbe, Oder, and Vistula. In this land of rivers there developed a boat people we now call The Maglemosian Culture. They traveled in dugout canoes. The oldest one, found in the Netherlands carbon-dates to 8000 BC. Another from NW Britain is equally as old. Still another from the Netherlands carbon-dates to 6300 BC. Archeologists have discovered that some of the trade items of these boat people originate from as far away as the Tigris-Eurphrates Valley, which of course is the location where Summer came into existence. The Maglemosian Culture existed from about 8000 BC to 5700 BC. Considering once again that the extent of a language is determined by its range of social contact we may consider that the Proto Uralic language was dominant throughout this entire area.
The mammoths were all gone by the time the Volga had returned to the proportions we know of today and the Kurgans were finally able to cross. One wonders how the first meetings went between the Kurgan people and the people of the Black Sea.
"Hmmmph! Who are YOU??!!" "Where did YOU come from???" "Where did you get such pretty and unusual jewelry???" "Are all your daughters THIS BEAUTIFUL???" "Who is the mightiest warrior between you and me?" "How about a game of chance?" "So you are hungry are you? Well -- I will give you four cattle and one bull for the girl with the red hair." "Go away quickly with your strange language and funny ways! We are tired of you people. You annoy us and make trouble. Go back to your own land before we have a war between us..."
Except they could not speak each others language. Because the uncrossable ice age Volga had separated their language development. The language spoken by the Kurgan peoples was the Proto-PIE language. And the language of the people west of the Volga and the Black Sea was the non-Indo European, Proto Uralic language. The only way the two cultures had of communicating was by drawing pictures in the sand, or in clay. And so, is it possible that this was how and why the first pictographs came into being? Because the earliest symbols scratched on clay pots from archeological digs near the Black Sea have been carbon-dated to between 6 and 7 thousand BC. Which is about when the Kurgans would have finally been able to cross the Volga to enter the lands of the Black Sea people.
But what about Noah's Flood? (Second Flood)
Noah shepherded them through the flood, two by two, and ended up in Turkey.
That's what a group of Chinese and Turkish evangelical explorers is claiming, after having found what it says are pieces of the religious icon's famed boat on Mount Ararat.
"It's not 100% that it is Noah's Ark, but we think it is 99.9% that this is it," Yeung Wing-cheung, a Hong Kong documentary filmmaker, told AFP.
According to the Bible, Noah was tasked by God to build a giant ark after deciding to flood the world because humanity had become too corrupt.
Mount Ararat has long been believed to have been the final resting place of the ark, which according to be Bible, came to rest upon the top of a mountain.
Carbon dating shows that the wood the group recovered was 4,800 years old, which would put it around the time of the ark, the team claimed.
O echipa de cercetatori chinezi si turci sustine ca a gasit bucati mari de lemn care provin din Arca lui Noe,in apropierea Muntelui Ararat, la o altitudine de 4.000 de metri, potrivit dailymail.co.uk.
"Nu e suta la suta Arca lui Noe, insa credem ca este 99.9 la suta. Fiecare scandura avea opt centimetri si se puteau vedea cepurile, dovada ca au fost utilizate cuie metalice", a declarat unul dintre cercetatori.
Grupul de cercetatori a facut teste si au ajuns la concluzia ca ramasitele de lemn au o vechime de peste 4800 de ani, in perioada in care se presupune ca a existat Arca lui Noe.
Vechiul Testament evoca despre Noe care a construit o arca, dupa ca Dumnezeu ar fi declansat potopul pentru a scapa de cei pacatosi. Dupa potop, arca a ramas pe varful Muntelui Ararat. Incepand cu secolul 19 cercetatorii au inceput sa studieze problema unui potop la nivel mondial