A Middle Eastern Perspective

A great drying

bactriaaWhen attempting to piece together the fragments of history, historians we need to take into account the ice ages and climatic changes. So what has been going on?

It is said that the drying out of the Sahara desert began some 20 or 30,000 years ago. In fact much of the region was an inland sea which over time dried out giving way to vast freshwater lakes and rivers. It seems probable that much of the region spreading from North Africa to central and southern Asia was well watered during the ice age and it seems likely that there were many great tracts of forest and wetlands across the region.

It is generally thought that about 5000 BC the Sahara was really becoming a desert and the population drifted east into the Nile Valley or onto the Mediterranean coast. It seems probable that there was accommodation of wet and dry seasons with an annual monsoon as effects many other tropical regions today.

When we think about this, travellers would have been much more able to find food and water across the entirety of the region then today. There are a great many articles about the biblical Moses and how he trudged through the desert of Saudi Arabia, but in that time Saudi Arabia was nowhere near as dry. We know this in part because this is a region where the Romans hunted extensively for food and sport.

Tell es-Sultan is thought to be the legendary town of Jericho. Archaeological excavations have shown that the area was permanently inhabited first in 9000 and by the 7000s, Jericho was a large fortified town on an artificial mound. The settlement was surrounded by a stone wall which supported a round tower. It may not be the oldest town in the world, but Tell es-Sultan claims the oldest known fortifications indicating it was a region of conflict in contrast to Indian cities of the period without walls.

In the early Greek history the forests of Lebanon was seen as one of the great wonders of the world but today only remnants remain. Therefore if Moses was an actual person and there are some truth to that story, then wandering through the wilderness would not have been an unpleasant experience. Likely they would have moved camp from time to time, the people would have found a variety of edible plants and there would have been plenty of game. No doubt they would have had to move frequently, but the official historical narrative seems to be lacking on this point.

Tajikistan By Rafis Abazov

Tajikistan By Rafis Abazov

It seems probable that the entire region stretching across Persia into central Asia would have been much wetter and we know that because at the time of Alexander, it was possible to sail from the Mediterranean via the Aral Sea into what is now the north of Afghanistan.

This region is continuing to dry out, not only is the Sahara desert growing, the Gar desert in India and the Gobi desert in Mongolia/China is also growing as global rainfall patterns continue to change.

In bacteria and probably some other regions, the process of desertification was accelerated because they were cutting the forests for fuel as well is to expand agriculture to feed growing populations. But in Bactria they were firing bricks with which to build their irrigation schemes. That is they were producing millions of fire bricks and the reason for this is because the soil is only sediment without much available rock. Water channels dug in dirt soon wash away and need complete reconstruction whereas when they are lined with fire bricks, they will endure for many years.

It is said that the Indus Valley civilisation failed due to drought and one can see that drought has shaped the nature of humanity across the region.

An overview of Bactria