It was not a state like the one the world knew. In the land of two rivers of Euphrates and Tigris, the Empire of Akkad extended prior to about 4300 years ago, from the South of present-day Iraq through Syria to southeastern Turkey. It was founded by Sargon of Akkad who United a number of city-States under his rule. (Here you can learn more about the ruler).

But in front of about 4200 years, cities and settlements were abandoned in the North of the Empire suddenly. This, archaeologists conclude that there during excavations no pottery and other objects were found from a later period. For some time researchers discuss whether there is a connection between the demise of the state and simultaneous climate changes.

support for this – not uncontroversial – Thesis is the study of a team now delivers to Stacy Carolin from the University of Oxford. In the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” the scientists report that, at the end of the Empire of Akkad, a great drought prevailed.

Magnesium Signal in the drip stone

evaluated The researchers had examined a stalactite from the cave of Gol-e-Zard in the North of Iran, around 50 kilometres North-East of the capital Tehran. Previous studies have shown that Iran is a country, where the cave of the wind direction, the dust storms from the Northern Mesopotamia, in the main. The researchers studied sections of the floor are stalagmites, the time will cover before the 5200 until 3700 years ago.

In the Phase of 4260 to 3970 years, they found signs of a long drought: one of the stalagmite grew at a much slower pace – an indication of less rainfall in the Region. The magnesium content was in this Phase are significantly higher. The soils in the North of Iraq and in Syria, contain more Magnesium than the soil of the Iranian highlands. The researchers conclude that in the case of drip stone formation of dust from the dry growing increasingly ends North of the Empire of Akkad was dissolved in the water. Also other measured values, such as the ratio of different oxygen isotopes, for a dry phase.

notes in the sediments from the sea

“It seems that the Empire was increasingly by the productivity of the Northern territories dependent, and the grain from this Region is used to feed the army and to distribute the food stocks of the most important supporters,” said Co-author Vasile Ersek from the UK’s Northumbria University in Newcastle. As crop yields declined because of the drought, there had been mass migration and conflict. This has apparently contributed to the downfall of the Empire.

The researchers write that sea sediments in the Red sea and the Gulf of Oman from the same period of time clear indications of the Onset of a drought period in Northern Mesopotamia. In stalactites and stalagmites from other caves in the Eastern Mediterranean there is also a corresponding guidance.

Stefan Parsch, dpa/chs