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Saturday, 3 September 2016

Early warning signs that foretell imminent societal collapse – new study

A research paper published earlier this summer has scientists around the world in a frenzy, as it claims that archaeological information can be used to determine when a civilization is approaching collapse.

Researchers from the University of Maryland and University College London joined forces to examine 2,378 archaeological sites from nine regions of Neolithic Europe, a period that began approximately 9,000 years ago when the introduction of agricultural technologies spurred rapid population growth. The team collated evidence, backed up by known events in history, that signals when an ecosystem shifted into societal instability. In effect, the researchers believe that, in hindsight, they can spot the markers that signal the turning point for nearly every civilization during that time period.

Through their investigation of thousands of archaeological sites, the research team believes that they have identified consistent early warnings signs (EWSs) that mark the point when an ecosystem begins to experience a decline in resilience, which they refer to as a “regime shift.” From a scientific standpoint, it’s unlikely that any study has accomplished this in the past. “This study is the first to find early warning signals of demographic regime shift among human populations,” the authors wrote in the paper’s abstract. “The results suggest that archaeological information can potentially be used to monitor social and ecological vulnerability in human societies at large spatial and temporal scales.”

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