The largest drought in the past 12,000 years occurred about 2200 B.C., according to an October 18 Science report by Ohio State University geologist Lonnie G. Thompson. The result, part of a study of ice cores drilled in a glacier on Mount Kilimanjaro, made Harvey Weiss ecstatic: the archaeologist from Yale University has been saying for years that a scorching drought around that time was so extreme that it toppled civilizations from Egypt to India. But he couldn't convince fellow ancient historians of his theory. The Kilimanjaro work, along with several other recent studies, supports Weiss's ideas and heats up the debate on climate's role in shaping civilizations.
For decades, the dominant view has been that cultural factors--
This article was originally published with the title Parched Turf Battle.