It has long been speculated that a comet could be behind the abrupt drop in temperature in the Northern Hemisphere, known as the Younger Dryas, and thus the mass extinction of the woolly mammoths. Although this speculation was recently dismissed, new archaeological finds have a different story to tell.
Archaeologists have found ancient stone carvings at Gobekli Tepe in Southern Turkey, which try to tell an astronomical story of the event moments before the start of the Younger Dryas.
While these carvings had nothing to say explicitly, the secret behind the mysterious symbols were revealed when experts at the University of Edinburgh tried to compare the carvings to the constellations that were present above Turkey thousands of years ago.
It turned out that these carvings were indeed representations of the night sky from that period and that they told a story of Earth from almost 13,000 years ago. The carvings suggest that Earth was hit by a swarm of comet fragments at the time when the mini ice-age struck.
A computer analysis of the pillar, known as the Vulture Stone, pinpointed the depicted comet strike to 10,950BC, which was the time the Younger Dryas struck, according to ice core data from Greenland.
Gobekli Tepe is thought to be the oldest temple site in the world, preceding Stonehenge by around 6,000 years. The research discovered that Gobekli Tepe had been used as an observatory for meteors and comets and that the people there had been astronomers for a very long time.
Dr. Martin Sweatman, one of the authors of the research paper, points that the research, along with the recent finding of widespread platinum anomaly across the North American continent, virtually seal the case in favor of the theory that a comet strike was the cause of the Younger Dryas.
The event that took place at that time was the spark that triggered the development of the first civilizations. With the sudden drop in temperatures, the people were forced to come together and try to find new ways of growing crops.
Until then, people had a vast supply of wild wheat and barley that had allowed them to establish permanent base camps. But with the sudden climate change, they had to start maintaining and growing the crops with the help of watering and selective breeding.
The rise of agriculture allowed the rise of the first towns and thus the first civilizations.