Approximately 13,000 years ago, a community of prehistoric nomads in what we call today Syria, took their chances in trying something different. They left their hunt and gathering days and chose agriculture. They’re now recognized as pioneers of a novel milestone in human civilization. How did those ancient foragers of Abu Hureyra start farming? It might always be a mystery. But, not for the archaeologists from the site of Abu Hureyra who caught a glimpse from the past.
Now, the archaeological site of Abu Hureyra is flooded. Lake Assad covered the region since the 1970s. But before such a thing occurred, archaeologists succeeded in excavating ancient fragments. For years, researchers examined different bones, flint tools, and hut-like formations. They found strange spherical beads of glass dubbed melt glass spherules. Due to their way of creation, in hot, high-energy events, researchers associated them with a comet impact.
Ancient Glass Discovery Hints to a Comet Impact
A theory suggests that the ancient community of nomads was part of the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis. An allegedly disintegrating asteroid or comet crashed Earth almost 12,800 years ago. The damages were so intense that it brought a mini ice age dubbed the Younger Dryas. Consequently, the prehistoric nomads had to make the transition from hunting to cultivation. But, such a theory is not accepted by some scientists.
Recent studies, however, have taken a closer look at what temperature would have been required to create the types of melt glass. The results indicate that the temperature was far beyond any prehistoric village could have endured. The melted frains of chromferide, quartz, and magnetite in the glass would have needed exposure to a temperature of 1,720 degrees Celsius.
In comparison, other materials in the glass were exposed at over 2,600 degrees Celsius, and accordingly, it could be caused by a comet impact. “You have this catastrophe hit the settlement, but people came back, regrouped, and carried on. Just this time, they added farming to the economy,” explained Andrew Moore, an archaeologist from the Rochester Institute of Technology.