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The Impact of the 4.2 ka BP event in Western Anatolia: an evaluation through palaeoenvironmental and archaeological data

Bal, Çağlayan
Palaeoenvironmental and archaeological research in the eastern Mediterranean and adjacent regions asserts a correlation between the 4.2 ka BP event, an abrupt climatic change (ca. 2200-1900 BC), and societal changes at the end of the 3rd millennium BC. It has been hypothesized that the drought as a result of the event led to social disturbance, conflicts, migrations and in some cases, societal collapses following a breakdown in agriculture and animal husbandry. Similarly, palaeoenvironmental studies provide evidence for the 4.2 ka BP event and its impacts in Anatolia including western Anatolia. From ca. 2500 BC onwards, the Anatolian peninsula witnessed the appearance of regional centres with monumental buildings and strong fortifications, the rise of elites and increasing social complexity, the development of a long-distance exchange network and an advanced metallurgical industry. Towards the end of the 3rd millennium BC, however, the societies lost their sophisticated characteristics and experienced a crisis period that is testified by the large number of settlements that were destroyed by fire events and were abandoned, in particular in western Anatolia. This thesis aims at understanding if there is a causal relationship between the 4.2 ka BP event and major changes in social, economic and political structure of western Anatolian societies at the end of the 3rd millennium BC through a synthetic analysis of palaeoenvironmental, bioarchaeological and archaeological data. It provides a multifaceted perspective on the suggested relationship by focusing on changes in agricultural and animal husbandry practices and changes in regional settlement patterns.