This project examines the link between explosive volcanic eruptions and the annual Nile river summer flooding in antiquity. Large volcanic eruptions can reduce average global temperatures and suppress average global precipitation. This is known to have had dramatic effects on annual rainfall on the Nile watershed in historic times. The human response to this annual flooding, and to its variability over the years, was the major driver of Egyptian history up to the completion of the high dam at Aswan in 1970.
A collaboration among historians, scientists, hydrologists, and statisticians, this project seeks to understand the coupling between the hydrological cycle and human society in Egypt during the Hellenistic era (305 BCE - 30 BCE), a well-documented period of economic, technological and social change with often violent rivalries between major regional powers. The results will also inform our understanding of best-practice responses to the changing climate in the modern world. The project will inform the broad public about human and natural systems and the complex interactions between them at diverse scales, through a traveling exhibition program developed at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.
Joe Manning (Yale University)
Francis Ludlow (Trinity College, Dublin)
Jennifer Marlon (Yale University)
Allegra Legrande (NASA-GISS)
Kostas Tsigaridis (Columbia University, NASA-GISS)
Zan Stine (San Francisco State University)
Nadia Grisaru (Yale University)
An article by Bess Connolly about the learning opportunities this project has created for students at the Yale University. You can view it here on the Yale News website: “Yale historian’s research, teaching gives students new window to an ancient world”.
Check out this Science Friday article by Johanna Mayer and Lauren J. Young, “The Art And History Shaped by Volcanic Winters”, featuring an interview with Dr. Jennifer Marlon.
Past: “Volcanoes and the Nile: New Insights into Climate Change and History” Georgetown University, February 26, 2019
“Was climate a trigger for Eastern Mediterranean social changes 3200 years ago?” Yale Nile Initiative Lecture Series, March 8, 2019
“Rebellion in the Ancient World”“, University of Pennsylvania, January 25, 2019
“Climate Science and Ancient History: Decoding ‘Natural’ and ‘Human’ Archives” University of Basel, November 27-28, 2018
“Climate Change and the End of the Bronze Age in the Mediterranean” David Kaniewski, Linsly Chittenden Hall Room 317, March 8, 2019
“The Pharaonic State, Nubia & the Nile” Neal Spencer, Kline Geology Lab Auditorium, October 8, 2018
“Ancient History in Greenland Ice” Joe McConnell, Kline Geology Lab Auditorium, September 24, 2018
Phelps Hall 311, Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut