OMAN, March 18, 2014 (Times Of Oman): The world's first great civilizations appear to have collapsed because of an ancient episode of climate change - according to new research carried out jointly by scientists and archaeologists of a British and an Indian university. Their investigation demonstrates that the Bronze Age "megacities" of the Indus Valley region of Pakistan and north-west India declined during the 21st and 20th centuries BC and never recovered - because of a dramatic increase in drought conditions.
The research, carried out by the University of Cambridge and India's Banaras Hindu University, reveals that a series of droughts lasting some 200 years hit the Indus Valley zone -- and was probably responsible for the rapid decline of the great Bronze Age urban civilization of that region. "Our evidence suggests that it was the most intense period of drought - probably due to frequent monsoon failure - in the 5,000 year-long period we have examined," said University of Cambridge Palaeoclimate scientist Professor David Hodell.
The scientists studying the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilisation obtained their new evidence from a dried-up lake bed near India's capital city of New Delhi which is just 40 miles east of the eastern edge of the Indus Valley Civilization. They detected the climatic conditions by examining isotopic evidence from the shells of snails that had lived between 6,500 years ago and 1,500 years ago.